General Drafting Process

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Drafting an essay happens in different ways, depending on the amount of prewriting and planning that you have done. The one way in which drafting should not happen, as noted in the chart on Essay Writing Processes, is the product-based way, in which you sit down expecting to draft the essay in its entirety and create a finished product. No matter what your personal writing process is, when you draft an essay, you should have developed at least a working thesis and categories of support/ideas for topic sentences.

The following steps make up the drafting process. Although you may develop your own process, you should still understand these steps and know that you eventually will need to complete all of them as you draft your essay.

  1. Start with your working thesis. Write it down, and make sure that it has a clearly-discernable topic and an angle that offers your insight or argument or opinion on the topic.
  2. Review your categories of support to make sure that you have ideas that relate to and support the thesis’ angle.
  3. Review your units of support from your reader’s perspective to make sure you have enough support, and that you have support that relates to and validates the angle in that unit’s topic sentence.
  4. Decide how to order your topic sentences and units of support within the essay.
  5. Identify transitions (linking words) that show how the units of support relate to one another.
  6. Write the conclusion.
  7. Write the introduction.
  8. Write the title.

Refer to the sections on Thesis, Topic Sentences, and Developing Support for fuller information related to writing your essay draft. The rest of this section will deal with ordering topic sentences/units of support, identifying transitions, and writing the conclusion, introduction, and title.