Category Archives: Students

Posts for those writing academic papers.

How to Write an A Plus Paper

This is the time of year when many students are beginning their final papers. Whether you are writing a master’s thesis, graduate paper, or undergraduate essay, you need to submit a great paper. The reason isa1 simple: you want to get a good grade in your course. In many academic courses, the final paper carries the most weight for your final grade, and this means the final paper needs to be well written.

Based on many years of assisting students with their academic paper (and acquiring multiple advanced degrees myself!), I have five recommendations for writing a great paper. Continue reading

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Tip: Major Writing Process, step 5: Edit

Let me give you three quotes that are particularly appropriate here (one of which you have already seen).

  1. “It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly.” C.J. Cherryh
  2. “Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost. That idea is hard to accept. We all have an emotional equity in our first draft; we can’t believe that it wasn’t born perfect. But the odds are close to 100 percent that it wasn’t.” William Zinsser
  3. “Rewriting is called revision in the literary and publishing trade because it springs from re-viewing, that is to say, looking at your copy again–and again and again.” Jacques Barzun”

After you write, put away your document for some time. The more involved you are in it, the longer you should put it away. Basically, leave it long enough so that you may see it without preconceptions and without remembering what you were thinking at the time. You need to review it fresh.

Then look at it again. Does it satisfy the purpose for which you wrote it? Have you communicated your ideas clearly? Can you make it more concise without losing essential content? Are the ideas logically presented?

Keep criticizing it, refining it, until it is as good as it can be. Then give it to others (perhaps your editor) to evaluate.

Here’s the main point: Your first draft will need editing. The editing process is what will make your document an effective communication tool, regardless of the genre. Make sure you have time for this stage. It is critical.

Here’s the secondary point: If others recommend (or make) changes, don’t be offended. Expect it. First drafts will always need improvements. As will second drafts.

Quick reminder:

  • Tip 58: Major writing process, step 1: Identify your central idea.
  • Tip 68: Major writing process, step 2: Organize ideas prior to writing, part 1.
  • Tip 78: Major writing process, step 2: Organize ideas prior to writing, part 2.
  • Tip 88: Major writing process, step 3: Analyze the audience, part 1.
  • Tip 98: Major writing process, step 3: Analyze the audience part 2
  • Tip 108: Major writing process, step 4: Write in the Appropriate Style and Tone


writingtipslogoThis is writing tip 118 from our Writing Tips for a Year series. Please visit to learn more about Writing Tips for a Year and other writing guides by Precise Edit.

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4 Lessons Learned from Our Readers

I spend a considerable amount of time each week preparing articles on writing for Internet distribution, making posts on various writing blogs, responding to users on our discussion board, and writing new posts for our blog—basically trying to give away as much information about good writing as I can. When I am not working on clients’ documents or promoting our services, I am probably writing about writing.

openbook2From time to time, my Internet marketing specialist and I search the Internet to discover where the articles have been reposted and what feedback they have received. Sometimes this is quick and easy, such as for our article “Creating Sentence Transitions,” which has good content but seemed dull to many readers. Sometimes this takes a long time, such as for our article “10 Overused Words in Writing,” which was reposted several hundred times. Continue reading


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