Tips for Graduate Students

How To Use Quotations In Dissertations

Using quotations in a Dissertation

Dissertations serve a two-fold purpose.  They are the final projects for doctoral candidates, the last step before degree conferral, in which these individuals may show their knowledge of their specific areas of interest and of their ability to identify and propose solutions to problems within their fields.  Dissertations are simultaneously the transition from students to contributors within their fields by engaging in original research and adding to the body of knowledge.

In writing dissertations, authors must demonstrate their thorough understanding of their particular areas of study.  One way to show that understanding is through the use of quotations garnered from previously written works in their field or in related areas.  However, overuse or inappropriate use of quotations may have the opposite effect, suggesting a lack of understanding.  Therefore, authors must use quotations judiciously.

The number and length of quotations may vary from one academic field to another.  For example, students examining Shakespeare’s use of figurative language in his various plays will need to include specific quotations from the plays for each type of figurative language discussed.  Such quotations may range from one word to several lines.  Students conducting qualitative studies based on extensive interviews of research participants will also need to use numerous quotations from those interviews to support whatever themes they discover through their analysis of those data.  However, inclusion of quotations from other experts in the field of study should be handled differently.

In the proposal, concept paper, and the final dissertation, candidates must demonstrate their familiarity with the research in their field.  This is the primary purpose of chapter 2 in most dissertations.  Some of that background material is also revealed in the first chapter to set up the problem and to show the significance of the study.  Additional background material is revealed in chapter 3 to show an understanding of the chosen research methodology and its appropriateness for the study in question.

In these chapters, authors are not only giving information pertinent to their studies but also showing their ability to grasp ideas, analyze material for its strengths and weaknesses, and synthesize material from various sources to create the foundation for their particular study.  Therefore, quotations should be used only when that is the best and clearest way to provide information to the reader.

Consider the following two examples:

Example 1:  According to John Smith, “The best thing about this concept is that it is easy to understand compared with other concepts in this field.”  He went on to say that “scientists will be able to use this new knowledge to create new technology for this field” and that “people will embrace this technology very quickly.”  Therefore, “companies that wish to increase their profitability” should begin investing in “this new scientific venture” so that they “will not lose out” on this “golden opportunity.”

Example 2:  According to John Smith, this new concept is easier to understand compared to others in the same field.  Because of this, new technology will be forthcoming, which people will be eager to purchase.  Therefore, he advises businesses to invest in this research as soon as possible.  Failure to do so may result in their decreased profitability.

Although not taken directly from actual dissertations, the formats of these two examples shows what edits often find in dissertations.  Both examples deal with the same topic and make the same essential points.  Yet the second one clearly shows the writer understands the material drawn from John Smith’s work; the first does not.  The first one is simply a copy of John Smith’s words interspersed with innocuous connecting phrases.  The writer in the first example has not attempted to analyze, synthesize, or summarize the meaning of Smith’s words.  Instead, the writer has found material that fits the topic being discussed and quotes from that material, expecting the reader to figure out what it all means.  Unfortunately, many candidates use this type of format.  Variations include inserting block quote after block quote, often from the same source, and quoting single words that, in and of themselves, hold no special significance.

Authors who use quotes judiciously reduce verbiage and redundancy, demonstrate their thorough grasp of the material, and often show the connection of their original research to the rest of the field more clearly.  If they include quotations at all, they do so to emphasis a particular point.  Using quotations in this way is ultimately more powerful.

After deciding to include quotations, authors must also handle them correctly.  The following points are not all inclusive but represent some of the more common problems editors find in dissertations.

1.     Introduce most quotations.  Seldom should a paragraph begin with a direct quotation.  Many university style guides require authors to introduce quotations, although there are exceptions.  However, when in doubt, error on the side of introducing the quotation to prevent any misinterpretation of the material.  Use one of the following constructions:

    1. a full sentence with the quotation placed after a colon;
    2. a short introductory phrase such as “according to” followed by the person’s name, a comma, and the quotation (e.g., According to Smith, “Businesses must take advantage of this golden opportunity”);
    3. the person’s name, an appropriate verb such as “stated,” and the quotation (e.g., David stated, “I am hungry”).

 

2.     Reproduce the quotation accurately.  The quotation should be written the same way it is written in the source from which it is being taken.  However, there are exceptions to this rule, depending on the style guide candidates are required to follow.  For example, writers may correct minor grammatical problems within a quotation as long as those corrections do not change the meaning or are not needed to demonstrate a particular point.  This avoids overuse of [sic] to show that the author knows the errors are there and makes it easier for the reader to follow.  It also acknowledges that the errors may or may not have been in the original quotation but are the result of transcription by a third party.

 

3.     Alter the capitalization of the first word of the quotation to fit the syntax of the sentence in which it is placed.  Generally, if the quotation follows direct attribution, the first word is capitalized (e.g., David said, “He goes to my school”).  However, if the word that is included, the first word is not capitalized unless it is a proper noun (e.g., David said that he goes to my school).  If the quotation is a block quotation and comes after a colon, capitalize the first word (see Example 1).  If it is a block quotation used as a continuation of the sentence, do not capitalize the first word unless it is a proper noun (see Example 2).

Example 1.

He recited the Gettysburg Address:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

 

Example 2. 

The new law states that

any person entering another individual’s domicile without the express permission of that individual is trespassing and is subject to the fines and levies as defined in Section 3 subsection 1 paragraph 1.

 

4.     Use appropriate punctuation.  Be sure to punctuation the quotation correctly as it is used within the dissertation.

  1. All run-in quotations must begin and end with quotation marks.  Block quotations are not placed within quotation marks.
  2. Periods and commas always go inside the closing quotation marks (e.g., Patty bought “The Isle of Man,” the bestselling mystery novel).
  3. Other forms of punctuation go outside the closing quotation marks unless they are part of the actual quotation (e.g., Did he just say, “I’m going home”?  I asked, “What do you have for lunch?”)
  4. If a quotation contains a quotation, be sure to enclose the secondary quotation in single quotation marks (e.g., He stated, “I have just read the story, ‘The Scarlet Ibis,’ for the tenth time”).  Note that in block quotations, secondary quotations are punctuated with double quotation marks, not single, because the doubles are not used to define the beginning and ending of the major quotation.

 

5.     Use ellipses correctly.  Ellipses (. . .) are used to show the omission of wording from a quotation.  However, ellipses are not needed if an author chooses to delete the first portion of a sentence being quoted or the last part of a sentence being quoted.  Only material deleted from the middle of a quotation is noted by an ellipsis.

  1. Correct: He began reciting the Gettysburg address:  “Four score and seven years ago . . . perish from the earth.”
  2. Incorrect: He began reciting: “. . . and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal . . . .”

 

6.     Use attributions correctly. Here, attributions refer to the verbs used to indicate how the speaker is speaking (e.g., said, stated, noted, etc.).  Be sure the verb used is possible.  For example, a person can shout words but cannot grimace words.  In dissertations, stick with simple verbs that allow the reader to move into the quotation as quickly as possible without having to consider if the verb makes sense.

 

7.     Cite, cite, cite. Citations are attributions of a different kind.  Be sure that each quotation is cited accurately.  Citations should include the author of the source, the year of publication, and the page number in the source on which the wording may be found.  Although it is possible that a quotation may split between two contiguous pages (e.g., pp. 9–10), seldom will a quotation span more than two pages unless it is an extremely long block quotation.  (If it is, see the previous discussion about appropriate use of quotations.)

 

8.     Avoid single word quotations.  Generally, these are terms and should be italicized in their first use in text and not punctuated at all in subsequent use in the paper.  If a word was coined by the author of the source being quoted, incorporate a phrase or a sentence in which the word appears as a quote rather than using the single word.  This assists in eliminating the tendency to place the term in quotation marks every time it is used in the paper.

 

Finally, remember that overuse of almost anything minimizes its effectiveness.  This is as true with quotations as with any other writing technique.  Use quotations sparingly.  Be sure that the information cannot be conveyed as effectively or as accurately through paraphrasing, summarizing, or synthesizing it with other material.  Be accurate, use appropriate punctuation, and cite the source properly. If you’re in need of assistance, consider hiring an excellent dissertation editing service, such as Edit911, to check everything for you.

 

6 Tips for Using an Academic Editing Style Guide

In performing any academic editing, such as dissertation editing or thesis editing, you will usually need to use two style guides.  The first is provided by your university and may or may not be combined with the policies and procedures for dissertations and degree conferral.  The second is a professional style manual.

One Style Does Not Fit All

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Some schools use one professional style manual for all departments; others allow each department to choose its own manual. The most common of these are the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), and the MLA Handbook (MLA).  Some departments use A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Turabian).  Other manuals are used less commonly in the writing of dissertations and theses.

Go Right to the Source and Ask the Horse

You can determine which style manual you are required to use by checking the university style and formatting guide or asking your advisor.  Ideally, the professors for your courses leading up to the dissertation process will expect you to use the required professional manual for their assignments.  In that way, you will begin to build the skills needed in the dissertation or thesis process.

Learn & Apply Its Rules

Professional style manuals include information related to the technical aspects of writing your dissertation, including the requirements of formal language, and to the publication of articles and books.  Some manuals are narrow in focus; others try to anticipate as many situations as possible that writers may confront.  Most typically include information related to the following:

  • Grammar
  • Punctuation (including use of italics)
  • Capitalization
  • Preferred spelling (including hyphenation)
  • Use of numbers
  • Use of abbreviations
  • Use of scientific terminology
  • Formats for tables, charts, and other graphics
  • Reference list or bibliography entry requirements by type of source
  • Internal citation formats
  • Footnote and end note formats
  • Levels and formats for headings and subheadings
  • Elimination of bias in writing (including gender bias and preferred terminology for racial and ethnic groups)

Pay Attention to the Edition

When you locate the specific professional style manual for your department, be sure to note which edition the university requires.  These manuals undergo continual revision, with new editions being published as often as every three years.  Typically, universities will update their requirements to include the most recent manual editions.  However, students who begin the dissertation process under one manual edition are not usually required to change as long as they complete their dissertations in a timely manner.

Be Wary of the Guides’ Limitations and Contradictions!

You should also be aware of the limitations of these professional guides.  For example, APA and MLA are geared specifically to the sciences and language and literature, respectively.  CMS is much broader in scope and is generally used in the social sciences.  When APA and MLA do not contain specific information, editors often rely on CMS to determine correct form and required information.  They then adjust the formatting to meet APA or MLA requirements.

You may also find that information in the professional guides contradicts information in your university dissertation style and format guide.  Remember, the university guide always trumps the professional guide.

Consider Using an Editing Service

If you’re stumped or just want to be sure, you may want to hire an editing service to check everything for you. Be sure to tell your academic editor not only the specific style manual required but also the specific edition.  Editors often have multiple editions of these manuals to use as resources.  Knowing which one you must follow is imperative to ensuring an accurate edit of your paper.

 

 

15 Tips on How to Survive an Online Class

Students occasionally have difficulty adjusting to online formats, especially if they are accustomed to being in a classroom with ‘real’ people and a ‘real’ instructor. When instructors design online classes, we work under mandates to align them as closely as possible to their on-ground counterparts as far as material covered. Although this is true, the dissonance arises because students may feel alone, hanging on the periphery of the educational arena, attached only by a rectangular screen.

It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Online is not an abyss; it is merely a new way of communicating. The majority of online courses provides a venue for discussion and encourages interaction with your instructor and your classmates, ‘bonding’ if you will. In the best online classes, students ‘get it’ and sustain productive dialogue. Thus, the primary difference between online and on-ground courses lies with you and has to do with self-motivation, self-discipline, time management, and sticktuitiveness, all qualities that will put you ahead, not only in academia but also in the world of work.

Whether you are a first timer or a seasoned pro in the virtual world, there follows a list of suggestions that can aid your online success.

  1. Download and read the syllabus. Be aware of when modules or discussion boards will change or close.
  2. Transfer all due dates to a planner or calendar. Monthly ones work best because they allow you to see ‘what’s ahead.’
  3. Avoid procrastination! Just because there are ending due dates does not mean you should put off the assignment. In an on ground class, there are constant reminders; in an online class, these may not be as evident.
  4. Check email at least daily. Most online instructors use this form of communication and many will send periodic reminders of due dates along with other information. [Email will go to your university address].
  5. Frequently, check the course home page for announcements.
  6. Check the To Do or Assignment List in each module. They will clearly spell out the expectations for the week or partial week of the course.
  7. Do NOT be afraid to contact your instructor. If you have a question, chances are good others do as well.
  8. Note the instructor’s posted response time on the syllabus. If you do not receive an answer within that specified period, send another email. Technology is miraculous but, occasionally, things do fall into a virtual black hole.
  9. On the point above … your classmates may be clever and bright and terribly together but asking them questions about assignments is often less informative than asking the instructor.
  10. A little known fact … your instructor can monitor your time on the computer. If an accrediting board or board of regents mandates x number of contact hours per course [in Tennessee, it is 45 for a three hour credit class] and your report shows that you have been online for four hours, your grade may reflect that deficit even if you have submitted all the academic work. Even downloading or printing the modules takes a certain amount of time, which will show in your report.
  11. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that you enrolled in the class. That may sound odd but it happens … if you have been absent in an on-ground class, your instructor may say ‘welcome back’ or ask where you’ve been or remind you that attendance is important. In an online class, the instructor may send an inquiry by email but, without a response, we may assume you have dropped or are merely disinterested.
  12. Please adhere to correct formatting on your papers … instructors appreciate a readable 12-pt font and double spacing. Put your name on everything and use it in your document tags [e.g., Save As … Paper 2 Your Name]
  13. Please adhere to the rules of grammar and spelling [even in your discussion board postings and responses].
  14. Learn and use APA documentation … if you have doubts, purchase the book, access http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/, or ask your instructor. [Important: If you cannot write a paragraph explaining the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing, please contact your instructor before submitting work].
  15. Save your documents in an accessible format, preferably .doc or .docx … do not submit papers marked “Read Only,” which prohibits corrections.

To review: show up, communicate, discuss, dissect, and analyze. Don’t procrastinate.

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Starting Your Dissertation Editing Right: The Importance of Your University Style and Formatting Guide

Writing a dissertation or thesis can be traumatic enough without making it more difficult than it needs to be.  The first two documents you should find, read, and follow are (a) the university’s dissertation policies and procedures handbook and (b) the university’s style and formatting guide.  The policies and procedures handbook contains the details of the dissertation editing process from writing your preliminary proposal to having your final paper professionally bound and microfilmed and everything in between.  The style and formatting guide contains all the nitty gritty details for ensuring your dissertation meets the publication requirements your university.  Often the two items are combined into one document, but do not assume this is so.  Check all the resources available to you through your university to be sure you have the information contained in these two documents.

 

When it comes to writing the final paper, the style and formatting guide will be your best friend.  Find it, read it, and follow it.  Doing so will minimize the myriad potential problems when you assume that writing this paper is just a longer version of any basic research paper.  Should you choose to hire an editor, this is also the first document he/she will request to ensure the editing is done properly.

What does the style and formatting guide contain? A brief glance at this list will show you how important it is:

  • Organizational structure of the final dissertation
  • Margin requirements
  • Footers and headers
  • Font style and size
  • Line spacing
  • Paragraphing
  • Required preliminary pages
  • Headings and subheadings
  • Acceptability of widows and orphans
  • Quotations (block and run in)
  • In text citations
  • Footnotes and end notes
  • Tables and figures
  • Pagination
  • Reference list or bibliography
  • Appendices
  • Biographical sketch or vita
  • Templates and examples (sometimes templates are in a separate document)

 

As you can see, the physical appearance of your dissertation is dependent on the information contained in the style and formatting guide.  You will do yourself a favor, save your editor much time, and possibly save yourself some money by setting up your dissertation files according to the requirements in the style and formatting guide before you begin to write anything.  In fact, to avoid the mysterious emergence of font styles and colors you didn’t intend to use that sometimes occurs when numerous changes are made to a document, set the defaults in your word processing program to the requirements for your dissertation.  That way, anytime you add to your dissertation, you won’t have to worry about resetting margins, spacing, and font style and size.  You will already have it done.

By becoming thoroughly acquainted with your school’s style and formatting guide early in your doctoral program and setting the defaults to those requirements before you begin writing your dissertation, you will make the whole process much easier.  Use the school guide in conjunction with the professional style manuals required for your department (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) to set up your paper correctly from the outset.  You will then be able to concentrate on communicating your content.

And remember: If you do choose to hire a professional dissertation editor to proof your dissertation, be sure to include a copy of the style and formatting guide or a link to the page within the school’s Web site where the editor may access it.  Having access to this document allows your editor to ensure a finished document that meets all the publication requirements of your university.

A Process of Writing that Works

When you begin to write, whether a dissertation or a novel, you must fight the urge to edit your work too soon.  Your first responsibility must be to get your ideas down on paper or in a computer file.  Only then should you make a concerted effort to edit your work.

Ideas generally do not flow smoothly or sequentially.  They often come in spurts that allow you to write several paragraphs to several pages without stopping to think about what should come next.  One idea may also trigger related ideas, like shoots on a tree limb that will either grow into separate branches or be pruned to keep the tree shaped and healthy.

Don’t stop the creative process. When you stop the flow of ideas prematurely to wordsmith a sentence, second guess the name of a character, or determine the appropriateness of the content you are writing, you may be terminating your creative thinking process prematurely.  You can become so fixated on ensuring you have the perfect word or the most appropriate name that the plot line of your novel or the next connecting idea in your chapter is removed from your short-term memory bank, possibly never to resurface (at least in that particular form).  What is left is a well-crafted sentence that goes nowhere, often accompanied by deep frustration at again not knowing how to continue because you have also lost your momentum.

Instead, keep writing.  Don’t worry if you are suddenly developing a different but related idea.  Don’t worry about word choice.  If another word pops in mind as you are writing, note it in the margin (if you are a pen-and-paper writer) or in parentheses at the end of the sentence or in a comment using the track changes feature of your word processing program.

Reread & Evaluate. When you have completed your writing for the day or whatever time period you have set aside for writing, reread your material.  As you reread, begin identifying what works and what doesn’t.  Substitute the words, names, or other things you noted to see what works best.  Note anything else you need to think about more before changing or developing more fully.  Work on those areas later.

If you have changed subjects and begun developing a different idea, move that material to a later point in your writing.  Either physically cut and paste it into the appropriate section or, if you haven’t begun to section yet, move it to the end of your writing to be used later (or not).

Resist the urge to edit intensely until you have your first draft complete.  This draft may be the entire chapter of a dissertation or thesis, one section of a paper, a chapter in a book, or an entire article or essay.

Then do a preliminary edit.  This edit is strictly for content and organization.  A well punctuated sentence with appropriate word choice that does not contribute to the main idea of your paragraph is still a poor sentence, so concentrate on content.  Look at the flow of ideas.  Look at the relationships between ideas.  Identify what has to be developed more fully.  Identify anything that is off topic.  Look at word choice and clarity of meaning.  Based on what you find, return to research and writing mode to fill in missing information to ensure the content moves smoothly from one idea to the next.

Note:  This is still not the time to work intensely on nitty-gritty details such as punctuation and capitalization.  Correct or change items that you see immediately as you read, but do not get bogged down in the details.  Once you have your content under control, then you can begin editing in earnest.

Editing Dissertations, Theses, and Works of Nonfiction

In your second edit, look primarily for clarity and tone.  Do your sentences make sense?  Have you used the most appropriate word choice?  Have you used appropriate transitions to get from one idea to the next?  Are your sentences so long that they become difficult to follow? Have you used the correct verb tense?  Have you used active voice?  Have you eliminated all contractions?  Have you used abbreviations and acronyms appropriately?  If you are writing a dissertation, be sure you have organized each chapter according to university requirements.  Be sure each section contains the required information.

Also check to see you have eliminated possible plagiarism.  Make sure all quotations are clearly punctuated (often people forget to put the ending quotation marks in) and that the citation for each quotation includes not only the author and publication date but also the page number on which the quotation appears.  Make sure any ideas that are not completely your own (e.g., conclusions based on your findings or personal interpretations) are credited appropriately.  Better to cite something than to overlook citing something!  Then be sure you have all the sources you cite listed in your reference list or bibliography.

What’s next? After this second edit, you may be ready for the final edit or you may need to return to research/writing mode.  Your decision depends on whether you have areas that still need to be finessed in terms of style, beefed up in terms of specific content, or moved or removed because the material does not work in its current location.

The 3rd Edit—That’s right, 3rd. Once you are sure your content is as near perfect as you can get it, you are ready for the third edit.  This edit should focus on nitty-gritty details.  You may consider this proofreading; and, if you have been successful in your previous edits, this may be the case.  However, if you had to redo content, you may be combining proofreading with the areas outlined in the second edit.  In this third edit, focus on grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, paragraphing, usage, sentence structure, and any of the stylistic requirements your publisher (or university) expects.

Finally, ensure that your reference list and your citations match.  Generally, any work cited must be placed in your reference list and any source given in the reference list must be cited within the main text at least once.  Bibliographies may include works not cited; however, check your university dissertation formatting and style guide to be sure this is allowed.

Works of Fiction

Writing fiction is a bit different from nonfiction, but the basic premises are similar.  You should have some kind of plot outline to guide your story development just as doctoral candidates have the specific chapter outlines to ensure all the content in included in the final paper.  However, you have more freedom to play with your material and let your story spin itself than writers of nonfiction.

Write first; edit later. Just as with nonfiction, you want to get your ideas down before wordsmithing and reorganizing your material.  Unlike nonfiction, you have a myriad of details that you must keep straight as you move through your storyline, from the color of the hero’s eyes to the car used in the bank heist get away.

However, your first priority should be in getting the story roughed out in as much precision as possible.  If you get to the end of a scene and aren’t sure where to go from there but know that later a particular event must occur, jump to that portion of the book and develop it.  If you want to frame your story using a flashback technique but have difficulty creating the transition, consider writing the whole story in chronological order first and then playing with framing to create the tension and tone you desire to keep your reader reading.

Let your characters write their story. You often hear published authors talk about their characters taking on lives of their own.  Even though these authors begin with plot outlines, their characters dictate the action, often changing the original storyline completely.  So think like your characters when you get to a point where your story is not moving forward.  What would John do here?  How would Mary react?  What would happen if Tim and Stephanie divorced?  Moved to another city?  Adopted a child?  Were involved in an accident?

Reread & Evaluate. After you have completed your story, begin rereading to see how the story flows.  Identify what needs to be developed and what needs to be removed.  Examine not only the progression of your story but also the consistency of content and characterization details.

Profile your characters. In terms of characterization, keep a file for each character as you write.  Note the person’s physical and personality characteristics and background information.  If you change someone’s characterization as the story develops, be sure there is a reason for the change (e.g., the outgoing little boy becomes withdrawn because of his father’s disappearance, a divorced woman lies about her age and former experience because she is desperate for a job; the accountant changes his physical appearance to escape the mob).  Otherwise, rewrite to eliminate the inconsistencies.

You will need to keep locations and timelines consistent.  For example, the physical layout of the main character’s apartment must remain the same throughout a story unless part of the storyline is changing its arrangement.  Note in your file, even if you never mention it in the actual story, its complete layout.  Draw it, including doors and windows, furniture placement, colors and décor, east-west orientation.  Then, if you have to have a character exit the apartment because of a fire, you aren’t having him crawl out on to a balcony that did not exist earlier in the book.  Similarly, you won’t have a character seeing the sun rising over the skyline from his bedroom at the beginning of the chapter and then seeing the sun setting in the horizon from the same bedroom later in the book.

Timelines must be realistic.  Draw one for your story, and possibly for each main character, to make sure their comings and goings are doable.  It’s hard for someone to live fulltime in New York in 1963 and fulltime in Florida in 1965 when the character moved to New York in 1963 and lived there for five years.  Either the dates have to change or you have to create a scenario in which this is possible.  Even in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, consistency is important to create and maintain the suspension of belief necessary for readers to stay engaged in these storylines.

Now edit and proofread. Once you complete your story, including elimination of any inconsistencies, you are ready to proofread and edit your work for the technical aspects of writing.  Even during this time, you should be attuned to the flow of the story, especially dialogue.  You should also look carefully at the way you have divided the story into parts, sections, or chapters.  These should reflect not only the appropriate structure for your story (location, time, character) but also the creation of anticipation for the next page in the story:  Do you maintain the momentum of the story?  Does the chapter end with a mini cliff hanger so that the reader wants to know what happens next?  Is the character sufficiently charismatic that the reader will keep reading to see what he or she will do next?  Is the situation plausible enough that the reader will want to continue reading the story? Does the story flow, especially if you use flashbacks or other time devices that disrupt the chronological order of the events in the plot?

If need be, employ an editing service. It’s no secret we often can’t see our own writing’s flaws. Most of the world’s best writers have an editor. At Edit911, our dissertation editing service and book editing service has helped over 23,000 people improve and maximize their writing.

Summary

Writing is a process, one that is slightly different for every person.  However, editing your writing too soon may result in abandoning your story or dissertation out of a sense of frustration rather than in completing the finely crafted work you want to create.  Concentrate first on the creative part of the writing process.  Get your ideas down.  Then work on flow, framing, and organization.  Look at the nitty-gritty details of the conventions of writing last.  Doing so will help you fulfill your writing goals.