Language Arts, Writing

Effective Tips for Editing and Revising

The easiest way to motivate oneself to edit your writing is to consider revision as the opportunity to walk up to what you’ve stated and challenge it before anyone else can.

The process can be daunting, but editing can be as simple as asking yourself the following: Is my writing satisfying, informative, powerful, and interesting? Are there parts that could be better? The chipping away of excess words, the addition of some for more clarity, the exchange of a word for a better one — this is all revision.

Check for Specific Features


Advising students to read over their work to improve it is not helpful. Ask them to be selective and look for specific features at a time such as, precise word choice and grammar or conveyance of mood. Some questions to consider:

  • Does my writing convey a dominant mood?
  • Do the details convey a dominant mood?
  • Do the words convey a dominant mood?
Criteria for Content and Organization My purpose, audience, and focus are clear
My details are adequate and appropriate
My ideas are understandable for my target audience
My introduction creates interest
My content is logically organized
My transitions are effective
My conclusion is clear and effective
Criteria for Voice My writing displays my caring and emotion when emotion fits
My word choice, details, and images are appropriate and original
My writing consistently captures the tone of the characters’ voices and my own (read aloud).
Criteria for Vocabulary and Sentence My word choice is precise, appropriate, and vivid
My sentences are complete
Some of my sentences begin with something other than the subject.
Criteria for Grammar/Usage My spelling is correct
My punctuation and capitalization are correct
I employ conventional grammar/usage unless unconventional usage is appropriate for realism

The preceding was adapted from Seven Steps to Successful Writing by Graham Foster, published by Pembroke Publishers