Photo of author James Michener

Source: James Michener, Robert Wilson, Wikimedia Commons

“I have never thought of myself as a very good writer . . . but I’m one of the world’s great rewriters.”
                           —James Michener, Pulitzer Prize-winning
                           author of Tales of the South Pacific

Many beginning writers—and those who don’t have confidence in their writing ability—think of revision as a chore and even a punishment. The initial act of writing is so difficult for them that they prefer to leave their first words on the page as is. Revising, however, is a crucial part of writing. Fine-tuning your introduction so that it grabs your reader’s attention, revising your thesis so that it makes your central argument clear, and reordering paragraphs for external coherence are the tasks that make your paper worth reading.

Writing isn’t the only discipline that requires revision, of course. Chemists revise their experiments, musicians revise their compositions, and chefs revise their recipes. Even painters—difficult though it may seem to revise a painting—revise their work. Henri Matisse worked on his Bathers by the River for eight years before he decided it was finished! In this lesson, you will learn strategies for strengthening the introduction, thesis, and organization of your paper.