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Acts of Revision

A Guide for Writers

By Wendy Bishop

When it's time to revise, the hard work is over.

Revision means tweaking, perfecting, enjoying.

It's putting the finishing touches on a piece and readying it for independence. Try it—you'll like it.

Revision is a crucial part of the writing process. But many authors resist the act. The contributors to this book know this from experience, whether they've taught freshman comp or other writing courses. They could see the need for a highly practical book—one filled with field-tested exercises to help writers not only revise, but appreciate and enjoy the process. They could see the need for Acts...

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When it's time to revise, the hard work is over.

Revision means tweaking, perfecting, enjoying.

It's putting the finishing touches on a piece and readying it for independence. Try it—you'll like it.

Revision is a crucial part of the writing process. But many authors resist the act. The contributors to this book know this from experience, whether they've taught freshman comp or other writing courses. They could see the need for a highly practical book—one filled with field-tested exercises to help writers not only revise, but appreciate and enjoy the process. They could see the need for Acts of Revision—a book that writing instructors would be eager to adopt and that new and experienced writers could enjoy as a text for any writing course.

Using their own and classroom work as instructional examples, each contributor to Acts of Revision works with either a different genre (poetry, research writing, creative nonfiction, alternate styles, hypertext) or with the sound and effect of text, particularly sentences and punctuation. Exercises within chapters give writers the opportunity to practice revising and hone their skills. To emphasize the point that revision requires a shift from the writer's concerns to readers' concerns, Wendy Bishop and her longtime coauthor Hans Ostrum provide a collaborative revision history at the end of the book. They show how writing and revising together not only improves the product, but also dispels the image, and myth, of the writer-who-writes-alone (which is only true if you expect no readers).

Whether you're a student, a teacher, or an independent writer, take this book as a practical invitation into the acts of revision that these contributors know are productive. Benefit from their experiences, including what doesn't work and why. Then consider your many options. Compare and contrast, control and play, assess and experiment. Ultimately, know that the act of revision is an art well worth your time and attention.

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