Writing The First Draft,10 Tips For Writers And Students

When you are writing the first draft, you connect all of your thoughts about your subject.Always try to write as much of your first draft as possible in the first sitting, while all of your gathering is still fresh in your mind. ?.Refer to your plan (if you have one), but keep an open mind. New and improved ideas may pop into your head as you write. Write until you come to a logical stopping point.

Remember that your first draft is your first look at a developing writing idea. (It will almost always go through many changes before it ready to publish.) Author Donald Murray calls this writing a “discovery draft” because there is no way to know for sure how it will ill turn out, even if you have done a lot of planning. The element of surprise inherent in drafting stimulates experienced writers and draws them back to the writing process time and time again. Let it do the same for you.

PURPOSE: Writing a first draft shows you how well you match up with your subject and sets in motion the actual development of your writing (additional drafts and revisions).

Starting Point: You’re ready to write a first draft, once you . . .

  • know enough about your subject,
  • establish a focus for your writing, and
  • organize your supporting ideas.

Some writers pay special attention to the specific wording in their opening paragraph before they launch full throttle into their first draft. Once the beginning part is set, they find it much easier to complete the rest of their writing. Other writers are more interested in getting all of their thoughts on paper right away.

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FORM: First drafts should be freely written, without being too concerned about neatness and correctness (just make sure everything is legible).

Write on every other line, and use only one side of the paper when drafting with pen and paper. Double-space when using a computer. (This will make revising much easier.)

THE BIG PICTURE:

When writing a first draft, give special attention to these traits of good writing: ideas, organization, and voice.Ideas: Connect all of the important ideas that you collected, and include new ideas as they come to mind.

Organization: Use your planning as a guide when you write. Remember to include a beginning, a middle, and an ending in your writing.

Voice: Speak honestly and naturally so the real you comes through in your writing.

If you  are writing a personal narrative, an essay, a report, or a research paper, you need to plan an opening or a lead paragraph. Your opening should introduce your subject, gain your reader’s attention, and identity the specific focus, or thesis, of your writing. There are many different ways to begin an opening paragraph. You might . .

  • share some interesting or important details.
  • ask the readers a question.
  • begin with an informative quotation.
  • Start with some thoughtful dialogue.
  • Simply identify the main points you wish to cover.

By all means try to make your opening interesting and entertaining; but, more importantly, make sure it reflects your true feelings. If you don’t like how your first attempt sounds, try again.

Developing the Middle Part of your Draft

The middle part of your draft should support or explain the focus of your writing. Remember: The focus, or thesis, is the special part of the subject you have decided to write about. Use the planning and organizing you’ve done as a general guide. Here is a list of different ways to support your writing idea:

Explain:  Support your writing focus with facts and examples.

Define:  Tell what the key words or subject means.

Describe:  Share specific, sensory details about the subject.

Argue: Use logic and evidence to prove something is true.

Illustrate : Tell a story or share an experience to clarify an idea.

Reflect:  Think carefully about the importance of something.

Analyze : Examine the parts to better understand the whole.

Compare : Use examples to show how two things are alike.

In most pieces of writing, you will use several of these methods to develop your focus. For example, if you are writing about an important event, you might describe the event, illustrate it with a story, and so on.

A closing paragraph or idea may not be needed if your writing comes to an effective conclusion after the last main point is made. However, when a closing is needed, it should do one or more of these things:

  • Answer any questions left unanswered in the middle paragraphs.
  • Summarize the main points.
  • Emphasize the special importance of one of the main points.
  • Restate the focus or the primary message.
  • Say something that will keep readers thinking about the subject.

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