Working with Drafts

How can I develop an effective paper?

Keep in mind the importance of multiple drafts!

It is important to write more than one draft (one version) of your paper. All writers in an academic setting (including your professors!) write their papers/essays several times before submitting them to a professor or to a journal for publication.

Draft 1

Now you are ready to write a first draft of your paper. Include both a discussion of each idea and examples. Explain each example.

Stay on topic; don’t stray! Make sure that all of your points, discussion, and examples relate to the main thesis of your paper.

Draft 2

Now you are ready to write a second draft of your paper/essay. Read below to learn how.

First, Reread your paper. Rereading your paper helps you find ways to improve the essay’s/paper’s content (the information you include or what you have to say) and presentation (organization and sentence structure.) Reread your paper after taking a break. Come back to it after a few hours or even a day or two. Actively look for changes you can make. In other words, expect to make changes. Even the best writing needs revision, so assume that you will need to improve the paper.

Here are some ways to improve your draft:

  • Include additional, more effective information and details. You may add an example or replace one you have given with an even better one!
  • Reorganize the paper by placing some of the details elsewhere in the paper. For example, decide whether an example you placed toward the end of the paper might be more effective at the beginning of the paper (or the other way around).
  • See if a sentence or phrase can be worded more effectively. Selecting a more precise word or phrase can help improve the tone of your paper (how the paper sounds). For example, consider how each of these might sound in a sentence:

    a hard decision

    a difficult decision

    a challenging decision

    (Hint: The word “hard” is overused; try not to use it in your paper.)
  • Be ready to delete information. Remove sentences that are unnecessary or parts that repeat something already said.

Expect to write your paper two or three times (or more, if necessary) to work on the content (what you have to say.) After you have finished revising, edit your paper for grammar and punctuation.

For more suggestions on working with drafts, consult Drafts, Editing, and Revision.

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