The Revision Checklist is a handy tool for making sure your paper has done all the things it should do. Get away from your first draft for an hour or so after you finish it. Then come back to it and ask yourself each of the questions in the checklist. If you answer "no" to any question, this is the time to make changes and correct mistakes. This is also an ideal time to work with the Metropolitan State University Writing Center or your writing group. Good writers repeat the procedure after their second (or third or fourth) drafts.
Check the first and succeeding drafts of any writing assignment on the following points. Expect to revise several times before your draft(s) are ready for editing.
1. Is the purpose of your writing clearly stated in the beginning? Do you immediately let your audience know what you are trying to do and why?
2. Is your draft written with its audience in mind? Do you assume too much knowledge from your audience? Have you given the audience enough background information so they can pick up on the topic where your paper does? Do you avoid giving your audience obvious information or information it already knows?
3. Have you included enough information to make your presentation believable and complete, or do you need more examples, research data, explanations, and so on?
4. Does your draft cover all requirements of the assignment?
Organization and Paragraphs
1. Have you arranged your ideas in the most logical sequence or would a different sequence be more effective? What is your strategy?
2. Does each paragraph have its own reason for being? In other words, does each paragraph develop a single idea? Is that single idea explicitly stated near the beginning (or at the end) of the paragraph?
a. Are your paragraphs too long? Several long paragraphs might indicate that
you are dealing with too many ideas at once.
b. Are your paragraphs too short? Several one and two-sentence paragraphs usually indicate that you have divided ideas which could be united in a single paragraph, or that you have failed to sufficiently develop an idea.
3. Do you show as well as tell your audience what you mean in each paragraph by including examples, definitions, comparisons, quotations, statistics, descriptions, case studies, analogies, references to other writing on the same subject, anecdotes, or restatement of key ideas?
4. Are paragraphs woven together by one of the following techniques?
a. Repetition of key words, concepts, or even sentences? (You confuse your audience if you use several different synonyms for the same concept.)
b. Use of connecting words and phrases such as furthermore, in addition, however, on the other hand, in particular, in conclusion?
c. Numbering the steps of your argument (first, second, third)?
5. Does your draft have an inviting introduction, an informative and insightful body, and a summarizing conclusion?