THE WRITING STAGE DRAFTING AND REVISING
In the writing stage, you produce drafts. You already have done careful planning and produced an outline, and now you start the actual writing. You try to put on paper the words that explain the ideas in you outline. Theoretically, if you have planned thoroughly, all you need to do is flesh out the outline and describe the visual aids. But most writers don’t accomplish their goals that easily. Writing the document is a difficult, often messy chore, full of false starts. you must select, reject, and reformulate your words and sentences, and find the organization that best conveys your meaning Drafting requires concentration and energy, even if you have done extensive planning.
A Preliminary Word about Drafting
The object of drafting is to produce and to improve writing until it effectively conveys your message to the reader. Drafting has two primary aspects: clarifying and discovering. As you draft, you clarify your ideas for your reader. Like most people, you probably produce writing in bursts, often in prose that makes sense to you as you write, but makes less sense to others as they read. During drafting, you clarify this material, changing your initial, often hard rounder stand rusts into prose that is clear to readers. But writing is also discovery. Often as you write you will suddenly conceive of new ideas or new ways to present your examples. You must evaluate these new ideas, deciding whether to use or reject them. As you write your manual, you might suddenly see that you should delete one visual aid and replace it with a better one; the replacement will lead you to write completely different but clearer instructions for the operation in question. In fact, you may discover an entirely new way to organize and approach the whole topic, one that causes you to discard much of your tentative planning. Good writers give themselves enough time to incorporate the insights that they discover in the drafting sage.
Style, Organization, and Reader Interest
Your planning will give you a good sense of your audience and your content. As a result your words will flow better. But in addition, you must have a sense of what to do as you manipulate words. Three areas which you should consider when drafting are .
- reader interest
Style – What Is a Good Sentence? You should try to write shorter sentences (under twenty-five words),’to use the active voice,’ to use parallelism, and to use words the reader understands. You will not always achieve these in the first draft, but you will be amazed how much’ you can achieve even in a .first draft if you develop an awareness of them.
Organization – What Is Clear Organization? The strategies that make ideas easy to grasp are the “obvious organization” strategies referred to in Chapter 1 and You need to remember to make lists’, repeat key terms, use heads, use definitions and use terms the reader can understand.
Reader Interest – What Makes Writing Interesting? You create interest by using devices that help a “picture” the topic thus imaginatively involving him or her in it. The picturing devices apply to both your writing and your visuals. When writing, include helpful comparisons, common examples; brief scenarios, and narratives Visual devices include any graphic item that helps the reader visualize the topic – from pictures to drawings to tables and graphs (Duin, Slater).
Activities That will Help When You Get Stuck
Brainstorming Brainstorming means listing every single item you can think of about your topic.’ Suppose that to write the Page maker manual you need to describe how to print documents with a laser printer. To write the appropriate section, you have to decide how many steps are involved in actual printing. Because you know how to print, you realize that there are enough steps to confuse an inexperienced user. You might not be. sure how to start describing these steps. Brainstorming will help you. Just start a ‘list. Write down everything, whether or not it seems relevant.
In no time, you will generate enough material to expand into a good section. Not everything you list will be something that you can use, but much of it will be. As you continue to list, you will r’warm up,” and more items will come to mind. Brainstorming can help you generate ideas at any stage of the writing process, but it is especially effective when you are stuck.
Treeing When treeing, the writer indicates relationships by drawing lines between words arranged in descending rows. Each word represents a concept that can be broken down into sub concepts in the next row and the lines indicate the relationship. For instance, the concept direction could.
Revising, basic activity in this stage,list reworking the document, hanging sentence structure, paragraph organization, and overall organization, and evaluating the need for effective examples. As you perform this activity, you evaluate your writing against a standard: the reader must clearly comprehend the subject matter. When you revise, ask yourself: “Will myreader understand this?” You can see this process in action in the following revisions of sentences and of paragraphs.
Changing Sentences You must revise sentences so that a reader can easily grasp their content. First-draft sentences often reflect an author’s thought process. They are a record of the ideas just as they occur. Often these sentences are too long, contain too many passive verbs, or contain strings of ideas short bursts of content whose. relationships are not clear. Consider these sentences from the drafts of the Page maker manual:
Turn on the printer and be sure you turn on the laser writer, You can have a real problem you’ll lose everything if you try to print before the. test page prints, so
wait until it prints.
This sentence contains all the basic ideas but is too long and rambling. The following more concise sentence expresses the idea clearly for a reader. Notice that the dash and the “if so” construction are eliminated. Turn on the Laser writer; do not begin the next step. until it has printed its test page.
Revising Paragraphs Here are two paragraphs – the original and a revision from the Page maker manual. The first, organized solely in terms of the writer’s thought process, presents data in terms clear only to the author The second presents the data that the reader needs in an organization that the reader will understand.
Conclusion Drafting is messy work, requiring a lot of energy. You must engage the reader with the writing. To do so, you must decide, “Is this best for the reader?” If the answer is no, you must revise the writing. Since your first wording often reflects only your initial thoughts, you may reject it. Developing the confidence to change is major goal in a writing course. Of course, if you change, you must select from a range of possible options. Throughout this book, we will explain options in sentences, paragraphs, introductions, organization, and design. Many revision options are explained Below is a checklist you can use to help you with darting.
CHECKLIST FOR DRAFTING