The Descriptive Outline: Revising for Content and Organization

2019-11-17T00:38:04+00:00Tags: , , , , , , |

Descriptive Outlines & Revising for Content and Organization

Many writers rely on the organizational value of outlines to organize their thoughts in the initial stages of writing. Outlines can also provide a useful framework to help ensure organization during and after writing. This exercise provides a way to check for idea development. Use this […]

Revising for Clarity and Precision: The Paramedic Method

2020-04-28T22:14:10+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Perhaps you’ve been told that your writing is wordy or that your heavy phrasing confuses your reader. Most writers face this problem of “overwriting.”  However, clear sentences are integral to clarity and facilitating your reader’s understanding. To ensure greater readability, try using the Paramedic Method described here.

The “Paramedic Method” is an easy, do-it yourself approach […]

Revising for Coherence

2019-11-17T00:40:21+00:00Tags: , , , , , , |

Readers agree that effective writing proceeds in some sensible order with each sentence following naturally from the one before it. We generally call that “coherence” or the sense that the material is unified. When the material doesn’t feel connected or “whole,” the reader might comment that the organization is “jumpy” or “doesn’t flow […]

Reading Your Reader

2019-11-18T22:22:13+00:00Tags: , , , , , , , , |

“You need a comma here. Also, what does this sentence mean?”

I know unclear comments are just a part of getting feedback, but I still do a double-take when I see them. What were you, my reader, thinking? Did you mean my sentence is unclear, and adding a comma will make it clear? Or did you […]

Formatting Tips for Track Changes

2020-06-04T22:11:10+00:00Tags: , , , , , |

At the Writers’ Exchange, we honor the writer’s authority on the manuscript. As a result, WEX Editors use Tracking Changes for their in-text corrections and comments. If you’re working with a document that has been reviewed by a WEX editor, try opening the “Review Pane” (found when you click on […]

Striving for Imperfection

2019-11-18T22:36:49+00:00Tags: , , , |

When I was a young writer, I saw the written word as carefully crafted and immaculate. Writing was the transfer of knowledge from the expert to me. To be a writer, I believed I had to stand behind the lectern of perfection and enlighten my audience with flawless ideas—but such writing always eluded me. I […]

Trimming the Fat

2019-11-20T04:13:54+00:00Tags: , , , |

The best of my writing is marked by a direct, concise style, and yet I confess that it seldom begins that way. In fact, I tend to “overwrite” as I discover what I want to say.  Early drafts are littered with meandering sentences in which thoughts are linked together with heavy phrasing. And of course, […]

A Tale of Two Sentences

2019-11-20T04:21:20+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Every good thing I have written has two introductions: one for the reader, and one for myself. The former is my objective, but I inevitably begin first drafts with the latter. These rough beginnings clarify my topic and jump-start my thinking. Consider this example from an old first draft:

“Vietnamese politics in the twentieth century were […]