Much of the previous weeks’ work focused on macro-level edits – introduction, conclusion, literature review, overall paper structure. At the beginning of the Week 10 chapter, Belcher notes that this is the most difficult type of editing and one that many writers avoid. I can sympathize with the feeling. As I noted in my Week 9 post, I had done so much reworking as a result of the Week 8 activities (and the ones before it as well), that I needed two weeks to get my paper in good enough shape that it could be sent for feedback. I stayed on schedule and my partner and I are now ready to proceed to Week 10, which takes us to the micro-level stage of editing – working on individual sentences, word choice, and grammar.

To facilitate this process, Belcher has created what she calls the “Belcher Diagnostic Test,” which she divides into three parts – words that might need to be cut, words that might need to be added, and words that might need to be changed. The aim of this test is to ensure that your paper is as clear and concise as possible. Other types of sentence-level problems – relating to punctuation and quotation marks, italics and bold face, acronyms, proper names, hyphens, spelling, and grammar – fall into a general category for editing not part of the Belcher Test, and, which Belcher notes, aren’t as important for the initial submission of your article.

Week 10 tasks:

  • Day 1: Read through page 253 and start documenting your time.
  • Day 2: Read pages 253 to 258 and run the Belcher Diagnostic Test (you can do this by hand, with a paper copy and colored pencils, or electronically, using the search and text coloring functions on your word processor).
  • Day 3: Read pages 258 to 262 and revise your article based on the Test from Day 2.
  • Day 4: Continue revisions.
  • Day 5: Read pages 262 to 265 and correct other types of problem sentences.

*   *   *

If you like editing, which do you prefer – the macro or the micro?

For all posts related to this project: Week 0 (Introduction), Week 1 (The writing plan), Week 2 (Getting started), Week 3 (Arguments), Week 4 (Choosing a journal), Week 5 (Literature review), Week 6 (Article structure), Week 7 (Evidence), Week 8 (Strengthening the intro and conclusion), Week 9 (Giving and receiving feedback), Week 11 (Finalizing the article), Week 12 (Send!)