Early Revisions : You Have So Much Room to Grow!

You have a draft! You have, in many ways, done a lot of the hard work: getting ideas down on paper or on the screen.

Here are some strategies for approaching the “shape up” phase of your draft.There is a lot of opportunity here, for you to add, delete, rearrange, expand and realize what you would like to rethink. Re-read your draft and see if you can clearly identify some of the key components of an essay

Early Draft Review Questions

  1. First: Your introductory section.
    1. Does it have some sort of a “hook”?
    2. Does it present Context for the paper topic?
    3. Does it have a draft thesis at the end?
  2. Second: Body
    1. Are paragraphs separated from one another with indentations?
    2. Can you identify a single key idea/topic in each paragraph?
  3. Conclusion
    1. The conclusion may be the last thing that you write. Some writers choose to take sentences that feel out of place or perhaps repetitive and copy and paste them into a draft conclusion paragraph, which can be edited later. If you have a draft conclusion early on, great. If not, don’t worry.


Once you have determined these key elements of essay structure, you can look a little deeper at some areas where you would like to put in more work. These might also be areas that are brought to your attention after a peer or instructor review.

Deeper review of an early draft

  • Intro: Do you want to work on making the introduction paragraph(s) more powerful?
  • Thesis: Do you feel that the thesis should be made clearer, more complex or otherwise more developed for what you want to say in the rest of the paper?
  • Focus: Are there any paragraphs or sections that don’t seem to fit as is?
  • Flow: Do you want to work on making the ideas less “choppy” or less repetitive? Where do you see choppiness or repetitiveness?
  • Topic Sentences: Do you have distinct Topic Sentences at the beginning of paragraphs to indicate what idea that paragraph will develop?
  • Transitional Phrasing: Do you see yourself using transitional language to begin new paragraphs, to move to new ideas, to link ideas together within paragraphs?
  • Source Citation: Have you cited all of the sources that you have integrated?
  • Source Integration: Are you explaining the significance of quotes, paraphrases or summaries that you include?