Going from first draft to second draft

1. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation errors in your writing until you are sure

you have said what you what to say as clearly as possible. Write first — edit later.

2. When you read over your first draft, make sure that every paragraph is clearly linked to your

thesis statement, or argument. This is known as the coherence of your argument. If this link

is unclear, you should write in the explanation of how it links to the main idea.

3. Make sure that each paragraph deals with only one main idea. The rest of the paragraph

should explain that idea, and bring in evidence to prove that idea. Try not to include

information in the paragraph that destroys its unity or cohesion.

4. When you write, try to imitate the language that you will find in academic essays in journals

and books that you read in your courses. Often the language of a magazine like Time or

Newsweek is too informal in tone and style. Writers for these magazines may use sentence

fragments, colloquialisms and vocabulary that are inappropriate for formal academic writing.

5. Make sure you know what documentation style your professor expects when you are citing

sources in the text of your essay. Some professors recommend a book which outlines the

documentation format that they prefer. Others choose one of the three main style sheets that

are used in the Humanities and Social Sciences: APA (American Psychological Society)

MLA, (Modern Languages Association) or University of Chicago Style Manual (Turabian).

Always Remember:

6. Never write your essay the night before it is due. No matter how good you are at writing, this

will only be a first draft which may contain the gist of what you want to say, but which will

lack the coherence and polish of a second or third draft.

7. Get help! After you have written your first draft, or if you are having problems completing

your first draft, come to

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