Owing to my overloaded schedule, I had to write a 4-page analytical literature paper in a matter of hours on Friday (it was due by midnight). Normally for final papers like this one, I like to spend about a week on them, pondering, pre-writing, roughing, and editing/revising/rewriting (whichever is necessary). So I was pretty depressed Friday morning, to say the least. It was even more depressing because my sister and her fiancee were coming into town that day, and my little brother had his black-belt confirmation for karate (which I went to, it was just stressful to go away for even a little bit).
Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that my sister is a genius. I wrote the rough draft of the paper, feeling okay about it, and printed out a rough and gave it to my sister. She read it thoroughly, and then said something very close to this: "Yes, it all made sense, generally. But I really don't think your conclusion is right. I would take these two paragraphs [the last two], put them at the beginning after your intro, then take these paragraphs [random ones in the middle] and put them at the end, and oh, rewrite this part to make it make sense."
I did what she suggested and VOILA the paper made sense in my brain and on paper. XD It was pretty much the most awesome and hilarious experience ever. I always have issues with conclusions, but this paper in particular was in completely the wrong order. The paper went from being "Meh-licious" to being one that I'm pretty proud of; there were minor errors in the rough too, of course, but the basic structural madness was what really made it so much better.
So, shout-out to awesome beta-readers who manage to find exactly what's wrong and tell you! :D
Coming soon: Fiction-Class Critiques (i.e. How To Take Criticism)