Line-by-Line Revision

I hate revising. I need revision, but I abhor the job. No one ever wrote anything that didn’t need at least a little editing. My process is to read the work first and flag any problems I find while reading. I confess, I don’t actually read the piece myself, I make the computer read the text. This method finds typos that I fix as I go. It also locates places where I made errors in grammar or where I left out words. The first read-through is the first step in revising the work.

That’s where you find the major mistakes. Flag them and rewrite them after the read-through. That isn’t as painful or tedious as line-by-line revision, which is where you go through the piece one sentence at a time and determine whether the sentence works as written or needs to be revised.

The work is boring, but must be done. There are tools you can use to help you along. One of them is Autocrit, an online revision tool. You must pay for the tool, but it is worth the money, in my opinion. Autocrit checks for slow passages. I’m not sure how the software determines what is slow and what isn’t, but when I check the work, it’s most often because I used too many words to say something. There are the built in grammar and spell checks in most word processing software.

They can be quite useful, this is most important if you are not sure about the grammar. Read the work aloud or tell your computer read the text. If something sounds awkward, it is. Fix it. Doing revision one sentence at a time, is a long process but this is the process which will help you find and fix problems. The price of writing well is tedious revision.

If you can’t afford Autocrit, read your piece one sentence at a time. Read your work to yourself, then aloud. Ask yourself if this sentence adds to the work or pads the text. If the sentence pads the piece, cut the sentence. If it adds to the piece do further analysis. Is the meaning conveying what you want? If not rewrite the text. If so, examine your words again. Have you expressed the idea before, even in a different way? If you did, cut the sentence. If you haven’t, check for adverbs those pesky -ly words that should be used as little as possible. I tend to cut them all but I do keep them in dialog. People use -ly words in speech. Do you need every word in the sentence? The words, that and just, are often not necessary. If your sentence means the same without those words, cut them. When you think you have finished with the sentence, move on to the next sentence and do the same process again. This is how good writing is made.


I am not one who is comfortable talking about myself but here goes. I enjoy writing, family history, and reading. I decided to do this blog because I wanted to try something new. I decided to make it a weekly blog because I wasn't sure that I could keep up with a daily one, and monthly seemed like I was writing a magazine. I think I did ok with my choices. You'll notice that there are not a lot of graphics on my site. That's because there are graphics plastered everywhere on the Internet and those sites sometimes take forever to load. This blog is a place where you can kick back, relax and be ready to be amused. At least I hope I willbamuse you. This blog is on a variety of subjects from my ficitional cat agency, the FFL, which is monthly, to instructional blogs to editorials, which are my opinions only. I admit that I don't know everything and could be wrong -- I frequently am. Now, stop reading about me and read what I have to say!

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

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© Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den, 2010-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lisa Hendrickson and Pebblepup's Writing Den with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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