Revising--Yuck, Or Helpful?
DEEP CATACOMBS - While you're nervously tapping your fingers, waiting to see whether
your article made it to The Neopian Times or not, you could be doing something
useful--revising. After you send your article or story to the Neopian times, go
back to it, just in case it doesn't get put into Neopian Times, and revise. Then,
if and when your work doesn't get put into The Neopian Times, since you've already
done the revising, you're ready to send it again, without taking extra time to
revise it. I know this may seem like a waste of time, but it's not. First of all,
it improves your writing skills, and second, you won't have to dread the revising
part later, after you are already very disappointed that whatever you wrote didn't
What is revising?
Everybody knows what revising is, right? Well, unfortunately, not everybody
does. Er, actually, they probably DO, but they don't see the need or importance
for it. Some people rely only on 'inspiration' to carry them through the article.
Now that's good, but writing something without revising at all would take a
genius. And yes, there is such a thing as a genius, but unfortunately, I'm not
one of them, so I see the need to revise.
Now, when revising, many people just jot down their ideas, and when they're
done with the paper, they revise it thoroughly. That is a very good thing, but
I prefer to write a small section, revise it, then write the next section, revise
it, and so on. Then, when I'm finally done with the whatever I'm writing, I
reread the whole thing several times, and revise the it, but it doesn't take
as long as it would've if I'd waited till the end to do the whole thing.
Before you submit anything to The Neopian Times, or anywhere, read through
it once, fix any mistakes, and then repeat that process several times until
you're sure it's ready to go--it is possible that when you revised the first
time, you made something worse instead of better.
Don't expect to just scratch up an article in ten minutes or less, or even
an hour or less, (unless you really ARE a genius, and even then don't expect
that) because it will not happen in most cases. In other words, don't type up
your story or article right onto the e-mail. Start it on a word document so
you can spell check and save regularly. Most computers come with a program like
that, and word document programs have spell check, but one thing to remember
is homonyms--unfortunately, computers aren't smart enough to make sure you have
the right spelling of the word.
Example: My friend went two the store. (wrong)
Example: My friend went to the store. (right)
I know these two examples are quite obvious, even for a beginner, but same
goes for bigger words. Many people get words like except, and accept wrong,
because they sound a lot alike. Of course, I absolutely never do anything wrong
when I write;)
Oops, I just forgot something I have to fix in my article! *blushes* Okay,
okay. I'll admit it. Even I make mistakes like that, but I edit them out, so
it SEEMS like I never make mistakes. That's what all writers should do; in fact,
many writers spend more time revising their work than actually writing it. That
may sound weird, but it's true.
Sentence variety and structure
When looking for mistakes, be sure and look closely at your sentence structure.
Do you have lots of sentence fragments? How about run-ons?
Here's an example of a fragment:
Example: The Aisha who stood by her car. (Wrong)
Now, look at that sentence closely; it's a sentence fragment. Do you know
how to fix it? Easy! All you have to do is omit the word 'who', and the sentence
is whole again! Or, you could add an extra part to the end. Here's the results
of those two things:
Example: The Aisha stood by her car.(Right)
Example: The Aisha, who stood by her car, was very angry. (Right)
See how simple it is to fix fragments? Okay, a bit about run-ons now. Here
is an example of a run-on sentence:
Example: The weather has been great, it's been sunny all week. (Wrong)
See what's wrong with that sentence? It has a coma where it should have a semicolon.
Here's two options of how it should be.
Example: The weather has been great; it's been sunny all week. (Right)
Example: The weather has been great, and it's been sunny all week. (Right)
Also, you'll want to add a bit more style to your sentences. Here's a plain
old sentence below.
Example: The Tonu charged the Gelert.
Pretty boring, huh? Now, let's see what happens when we add a little something.
Example: Because the Gelert yelled, the Tonu charged him.
Example: Even though the Tonu was exhausted, he charged the Gelert.
Hmm, those sound a bit more interesting than the original sentence, don't they?
But sometimes, you'll want simple sentences because they can prove a point.
Example: He was a strong Lupe. He had a good heart.
Those sentences are strong alone, and very forceful. Here are those same sentences
Example: He was a strong Lupe with a good heart.
The sentences combined aren't as forceful as they were alone, are they? So,
if you're looking to make your sentences prove a point, go for shorter, more
forceful ones. Remember though, if you make too many short sentences, your paragraph
will become weak, and sound bad and poorly written. So, before you just make
all of your sentences long, or all of them short, think about the effect you
want them to have.
See what a few little things can do to make your sentences just right? Pretty
Finding the right word
This can sometimes be frustrating. If you need to find just the right word
for your piece, never fear, the thesaurus is here! If you've been thinking and
thinking for a long time to come up with the right word, and you don't have
a thesaurus, don't worry. Go off and do something else, and it'll just come
to you eventually. If you can't think of the right word, stick with the one
you have. That's what revising in the end is for, right? Okay, on to the next
Making your article interesting--add a bit of you to the article. Lastly,
you need to make your article interesting, so people read it. Think of something
that will make people laugh, unless of course, you are writing a very serious
article. In that case, don't add something that will make your audience stray
from the point.
In my first article about Neofriends, I decided to add a bit of dung humor
to my article, and many people liked it. As a joke, some of them even gave me
dung. I enjoyed every bit of it, and some of the dung is sitting in my shop
on display, as a souvenir from my first article.
Well, that wraps up my article for today. I'm off to go revise my article
now! Please Neomail me and tell me what you think.
Authors note: I know there are many articles that cover how to get your
article into The Neopian Times, but I've noticed that there aren't many good
articles about revising--the most important part in writing. So, I wrote this,
hoping to help many people start off on the road to writing. If I've helped
you in any way, write me and tell me; it encourages me a lot to know that I've
Also, it's very hard, almost impossible, to cover all points in revising,
but I did the basics. I may write another revising article in the future, if
this one gets published, and is popular with the audience.