doesn't make writing dull;
it makes it dead.
Roger H. Garrison,
1918 - 1984
How a Writer Works
5. Rough drafts:
A rough draft is "a late stage in the writing process".1
It assumes that you have adequate information and understanding,
or at the end of gathering research, and have
completed an exercise in prewriting.
What you need:
- Adequate time period for focus
- Clear study area
to eliminate distractions, whether other school projects or friends'
in order to concentrate on the task at hand
- Preparation and research
with as much current and historical data and viewpoints as necessary
- Target audience
or a clear idea for whom you are writing:
your professor, an age group, a friend, a profession, etc.
- Prewriting exercises
and notes on ideas from your research
- Review all the above.
Don't "study" it; just refresh yourself on the
main concepts for now
What you will NOT need:
- Title or introduction:
derive these from your prewriting exercise
- Reference works, print-outs, quotes, etc.
Rely on your notes, and don't overwhelm yourself with facts.
Details can be added; you now want to focus on developing your argument
Do not revise as you write, or correct spelling, punctuation, etc.
Just write, write, write.
This is the first draft, so what you put down will be revised and
Take a break after your
- Review the ideas, topics, themes, questions
you have come up with in your prewriting exercise. Try reading
the prewriting text out loud ( a type of self-mediation). Listen for
patterns that seem most interesting and/or important. Summarize
- Evaluate the ideas, topics, themes, questions
whether by scoring, prioritizing, or whatever method seems best.
Keep this list in case your first choice(s) don't work
what you have prioritized as in outlining, above.
Writing your draft (3):
Your first paragraph
- Introduce the topic; entice the reader
- Establish perspective and/or point of
- Focus on three main points to
Establish flow from paragraph
- Topic sentences of each paragraph
define their place in the overall scheme
- Transition sentences, clauses, or
words at the beginning of paragraph
connect one idea to the next
(See the page on transitional words and phrases)
- Avoid one and two sentence
which may reflect lack of development of
- Continually prove your point of view
throughout the essay
- Don't drift or leave the focus of
- Don't lapse into summary in
developing paragraphs--wait until its
time, at the conclusion
- Keep your voice active
- "The Academic Committee
decided..." not "It was decided by..."
- Avoid the verb "to be" for clear,
dynamic, and effective presentation
(Avoid the verb "to be" and your
will be effective, clear, and dynamic)
- Avoiding "to be" will also avoid
the passive voice
- Support interpretations with
quotes, data, etc.
- Properly introduce, explain, and
cite each quote
- Block (indented) quotes should be
they can break up the flow of your
- Read your first paragraph, the
and set it aside
- Summarize, then conclude, your argument
- Refer back (once again) to the
first paragraph(s) as well as the
- do the last paragraphs briefly
restate the main ideas?
- reflect the succession and
importance of the arguments
- logically conclude their
- Edit/rewrite the first paragraph
to better set your development and
Take a day or two off!
Seven stages of writing assignments: