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
- First: Your introductory section.
- Does it have some sort of a “hook”?
- Does it present Context for the paper topic?
- Does it have a draft thesis at the end?
- Second: Body
- Are paragraphs separated from one another with indentations?
- Can you identify a single key idea/topic in each paragraph?
- 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?