Reduced to the basics, draft preparation involves the following logical sequence: words, sentences, paragraphs.
In order to meaningfully implement this sequence, first, you have to know what words to use.
Next, you must know how to put the words together in a sentence.
Last, you must be able to structure a smooth and cohesive paragraph using the sentences.
It’s easy to summarize the sequence. Putting it all together to produce clear writing is vastly more difficult. Clear writing requires the use of everyday words, short sentences, active voice, regular print, and personal pronouns that speak directly to the reader. More will be said about these techniques, and others, in coming blogs.
Follow These Steps In Writing A Draft.
Step 1. Write the draft to follow your previously prepared outline (see 2/24/12 and 2/27/12 posts), but don’t allow it to hinder the free flow of your thoughts. Add whatever language is necessary to fully express your thinking using the draft to guide the appropriate placement of any additional thoughts. The unobstructed expression of your mind should be given full vent. This step is somewhat akin to allowing a stream of water to flow freely as long as it follows the channel you have built for it. In other words, the free flow of your mind should be allowed to supplement the outline as you proceed.
Step 2, When you are finished drafting, read the draft through completely without making notes or comments. Be attentive to the question of whether the reader will understand what you have written. As you read ask yourself, is this as clear as I can make it? Pay close attention to the information flow. A smooth and logical flow of information from beginning to end is necessary to achieve optimum clarity.
Step 3. Next, read the draft a second time, making notes on what you have written and any questions you have.
Finally, read the draft and the outline together, carefully comparing the draft with the outline, to be satisfied the draft is complete. Revise the draft as necessary to insure completeness.
Don’t Rely On Your First draft.
Your writing typically should go through more than one draft before you can be satisfied as to completeness and clarity. This is the polishing process. Here, you are seeking to correct not only grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors, but to make whatever changes are necessary to insure the document reads smoothly and looks and feels professional.
As you read keep the following important issues in mind:
Does the writing flow smoothly and logically?
Will the reader understand it?
Has important information been highlighted?
Is the writing complete as to all important information?
Has all unnecessary information been excluded?
Editing and revising the writing will likely become necessary after answering these questions. It may even be helpful to outline the writing again after editing and revisions have been finished. Use the revised outline as a table of contents.
When you are satisfied the writing is as clear as you can possibly make it, then and only then should it be used. Remember, you must strive for quality content and you must know your reader.
Copyright 2012. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.