WRITE AND REVISE A ROUGH DRAFT
Writing a rough draft is
a late stage in the writing process. Before you get to this stage, be sure
you've done a lot of
preparation: clarified your topic, taken lots of notes, collected as many
in writing as you can.
to do a rough draft and revise it. Promise yourself you won't turn in the
very first ideas you
put on paper.
to finish your rough draft a day or two before your paper is due so you
will have time to revise
it. Ask your teachers
if they will review your draft and give suggestions for improvement.
TO PUT YOUR IDEAS ON PAPER
Once you complete your rough
draft, lay it aside for as long as you can afford so that you can come
Gather about you all the MATERIALS
you will need. Collect all your notes, books and
partial drafts. Set out your word processor,
typewriter, or pens that work and plenty of
paper. Other valuable items: a dictionary
and/or a thesaurus, a style book, a grammar
Set aside a substantial period of TIME
-- 2 or 3 hours -- to get started. Take your phone off
the hook and tell your friends you're out
Develop your THESIS.
Read over your notes, lay them aside, and write one or two paragraphs
in your own words explaining the main point
of your paper, the essential message you've
learned and are trying to communicate. Keep
this before you as you write; revise it as you go
only if necessary. This may become your
introduction or conclusion. Your entire paper should
be constructed to support and develop this
Make an OUTLINE.
Your outline may be a list of topics, of sentences, or of questions you
intend to answer in your paper. Put in a
group similar ideas; consider in what order you want
to present these ideas to your reader. Then
arrange all your notes in order according to this outline.
Pause and relax for a moment. VISUALIZE
YOUR READER in your mind's eye: your teacher,
a fellow classmate, one person to whom you
are addressing your ideas. Imagine his or her sex,
age, culture and life style, vocabulary,
knowledge of your topic. Imagine that he or she is
friendly toward your ideas but does not
want to be bored. As you write, speak to this person.
TELL YOUR STORY QUICKLY.
Don't feel you have to start with your introduction. Pick up
the first one or two note cards, read them,
then begin telling your reader about these ideas.
Speak naturally and honestly in your own
words through your computer or typewriter or pen. Write quickly, using
whatever words come easily to you. Don't worry about grammar or
spelling or finding a "best" word. Don't
try to impress. Don't censor your thoughts. Just
be yourself on paper. If you get stuck,
stop and take a break. Consider talking your ideas
into a tape recorder if that is easier for
you, and then transcribing them. You might ask a
friend to listen to your ideas and write
them down as you talk.
Work for short periods of time. Finish a paragraph
or section, then TAKE A BREAK and
relax for a few minutes. Give yourself credit
for what you're accomplishing.
INCLUDE ALL YOUR IDEAS
and information in this first draft. If some of it is irrelevant,
you can remove it later. You can also change
the organization later, or add new ideas if they
occur to you.
DOUBLE OR TRIPLE SPACE, whether typing or handwriting,
so you'll have room to make
back to it objectively
as if you were reading someone else's paper.
to re-read your paper several times, each time looking for something different.
As you work, be sure to
take regular breaks so you will keep your mind fresh and alert.
Underline or highlight
the TOPIC SENTENCE in each paragraph.
(If you discover you don't
have one, write it!)
reading: paragraphs and sentences
Read through only the topic sentences in your
paper, or block these into a second document on
your word processor. Does each sentence
follow logically the one preceding it? Do they form
a reasonable mini essay in themselves? Do
you like the sequence of ideas? Are similar ideas grouped together? CUT
AND PASTE -- either literally, with scissors and paste, or
electronically, with blocking on your word
processor. Move ideas -- whole paragraphs,
sentences, parts of text -- around like
blocks to improve ORGANIZATION.
To insure overall CONTINUITY
among paragraphs, tell your reader what point you're
discussing, what you'll talk about next,
etc. You may need to write some new sections,
transition sentences or whole paragraphs.
Take one paragraph at
a time and read it out loud. Then ask yourself:
Does each sentence in the paragraph refer to
the central idea stated in the topic sentence?
Throw out IRRELEVANT
SENTENCES or move them to a better location.
LENGTH. If a paragraph is short, see if you've left questions
unanswered; develop your ideas further.
If too long, see if you can break it up into two or
more shorter paragraphs.
Does each sentence follow
the preceding one logically? Do you give your readers clues
(words such as thus,
therefore, first, because, but, etc.) to help them follow your
thoughts? Rearrange sentences
and add TRANSITIONS if necessary.
Do your sentences sound dull because they're
too SHORT? Do they sound complex because
Combine some; break others up into simple sentences.
Do you REPEAT
the same words too often? Do you use words you don't need?
Omit NEEDLESS WORDS
and search the thesaurus for useful synonyms. Be sure words
convey what you mean.
Circle all VERBS.
Change passive to active voice. Search for fresh, powerful verbs.
example, change "Signs were seen by..." to "Witnesses detected...."
Read each sentence in the paragraph aloud to
recognize ERRORS IN GRAMMAR, SPELLING AND PUNCTUATION.
Correct these and typos.
Have a friend, your teacher,
a T.A., or your librarian read your paper and give you feedback.
Then ask yourself:
Do you BELIEVE
what you've written? Do you UNDERSTAND your
own ideas and your
reasons? If necessary, reconsider your thesis
or discuss your ideas with your teacher.
Do you tell your reader in the beginning what
you believe? Does every paragraph, sentence
and word serve to DEVELOP
YOUR THESIS? Speak SIMPLY
and clearly to your reader.
Edit out irrelevancies (parts that are not
really necessary to your topic).
Have you documented with references and footnotes
all your quotations?
Not too many quotes?
Final draft clean and easy to read?
Check your STYLE
BOOK for proper form.
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