School essay prompts: cutting unnecessary information

Editing is an Essential Part of Writing

Most college students know how to prewrite, brainstorm, outline, and write a rough draft. Furthermore, the average student knows how to engage in some basic proofreading and editing, to prepare a rough draft for submission. However, very few young writers are experts at deeper, more involved editing that goes beyond checking for spelling or grammatical mistakes.

While many college undergraduates are unaware of how to thoroughly edit, editing remains an essential stage in the writing process. No first draft is perfect, and in fact most initial drafts are missing a great deal of work, structurally. Needless information is included, sentences are choppy or meandering, and the flow of ideas is not coherent. This is true of nearly every rough draft. However, with some extensive editing and cutting, any poorly written rough draft can be elevated to the highest caliber.

Cutting is Part of Editing

What many people fail to realize is that editing does not simply entail rereading a paper and checking it for glaring mistakes. Editing also involves restructuring the paper, moving paragraphs or whole sentences, and even removing information that is not essential. The ideal essay flows very smoothly, with no hiccups and no irrelevant data that will confuse the reader. Part of the editing process involves sculpting the raw material in the rough draft into something more smooth and easy for a reader to follow.

How to Decide What You Should Cut?

Read your essay over and over, looking for transitions that are not smooth. Ask a fellow student to read your paper and indicate to you whether it makes sense and is organized in a coherent way. If you can, have a reader mark on your essay the places where they became confused or were surprised by the direction the paper took. This is often a sign that there is some unnecessary information or some sentences that could be cut.

Remove all redundancies in your paper. It may be tempting to state your point over and over again in your text, to ensure the reader understands your meaning and sees the implications of the information you have cited. However, you should trust your readers to understand your logic and comprehend the facts and arguments you’ve written. If you find that you state some points multiple times in your text, pick a few of these instances and remove them. You should also rid your paper of sentences that just restate your thesis or central conclusion after it’s already been stated.

Posted by November 23rd, 2016