Writing Mini-Lessons: Polishing Poems and Prose

After revising repeatedly, but before copy-editing, the writer must embark on a crucial task:  polishing.  Polishing is the act of taking the deliberate stance toward making your final product flow and satisfy as literature does.

Drafting and revising are the writing steps where the writer puts ideas and thoughts on paper to clarify them, and then works to make the writing complete, logical, convincing, and interesting, using effective literary devices and the writer’s own creative process and voice.

Polishing is a critical step that follows drafting and revising.  The writer approaches the piece as a reader of literature and asks, “Is it smooth?  Does it flow?  Is it beautiful?  Is it clear and strong?  Does it sound like language from a good book?”  Polishing enables a gem of writing to have increased brilliance, luster, and fire.

Below are two lists: polishing poems and polishing prose.  Add your own polishing techniques to these lists and remember to refer back to the lists when it is time to polish your written pieces.

Polishing Poems
Either picture a reader or pretend you are the reader, read your writing, and ask the following:

Polishing Prose
Either picture a reader or pretend you are the reader, read your writing, and ask the following: