Publish & Flourish: Revising around key sentences

At the 2018 Textbook & Academic Authoring Conference in Santa Fe, NM, Dr. Tara Gray presented on her twelve-step program, “Publish & Flourish: Become a Prolific Scholar”. Steps 7 & 8 of the program focus on the revision process by identifying and using key sentences in each paragraph as follows:

Step 7: Revise paragraphs around key sentences

Step 8: Use key sentences as an after-the-fact or reverse outline

In order to complete step 7 and revise paragraphs around key sentences, it’s important to first identify the key sentence in each paragraph. So, what is a key sentence?

Be strict about the type of editing that is suitable for each stage of the revision process

Advice about academic writing often stresses the iterative nature of the writing process; the creation of an effective final draft generally requires multiple drafts and extensive revision. A crucial corollary to a commitment to extensive revision is an acceptance that revision mustn’t be allowed to go on indefinitely. Otherwise, a certain mania can set in: any draft can always be other than it is. After a certain point, we have to ask ourselves about diminishing returns and about the very real possibility of messing up what is already working.