Successful Writing : Drafting

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When you write down your ideas, you generate more ideas.

Drafting is an important function in writing. Even the most seasoned writers will tell you that sometimes the hardest part of a writing project is getting down that first sentence. However, remember that when you’re writing a draft you don’t have to take the beginning of your piece too seriously. But you do need some kind of launching pad from which to start. Just put down something and start writing – the rest will begin to come. In fact, you’ll often find that writing down ideas helps to generate more ideas. Later, as your piece takes on a little more shape, you can review your opening to see whether what worked to get you going may need some modification in order to get your readers going.

Getting Started :

But how do you begin a piece?

This page illustrates some of the common strategies that authors who write regularly rely on to get their work moving. They’re not complicated and once you’re familiar with them, you’ll begin to notice how often magazine and newspaper writers use them as openers.

Here are five that work well :

Starting With An Illustrative Example

Starting With A Quotation

Starting With An Anecdote

Starting With A Description

Starting With A Summary Paragraph

Common Patterns of Organization :

When you’re considering how to organize your draft, it can be useful to review some common patterns. One of them might work well for you.

Reasoning from Evidence

Assertion and Support


Cause and Effect

Comparison and Contrast



Choosing and Combining Patterns

For Practice :

Working with other students in a small groups consider what illustrative example or anecdote a writer might use as an opening for an essay on one of the following topics:

• The advantages of starting one’s college education at a community college

• The widespread marketing of credit cards to college students

• A proposal to make eighteen the legal age for buying or possessing alcohol, the same as it is for voting or registering for national service

Review the sections on arguing from evidence and on assertion and support as patterns of organization. Then, working in a small group, write down the claim or assertion you would make in writing as essay on one of the following topics and jot down ideas for the kind of supporting evidence you could use.

• The National College Athletic Association should (should not) not set guide lines for college athletic department requiring that the head football or basketball coach for a university or college not be paid more than the president of that institution.

• The national booksellers’ association should (should not) establish a rating system for novels similar to the rating system used for movies, recommending that stickers be put on the dust covers of books ranking them as G (General), PG (Parental guidance), PG – 13 (Parental Guidance Under – 13) and U (Unsuited for reader under 16)

• A high school principal did (did not ) make a wise decision when she imposed a two – week suspension on a senior student who during a school wide assembly publicly criticized the commercial sponsor of the assembly after that sponsor distributed merchandise coupons to students who attended.

For Writing :

Draft a cause–and–effect argument to support or oppose one of the following propositions.

• Your city council has a proposal before it adopt a no – loitering ordinance that would prevent people from sitting on a sidewalk or other public thoroughfare. (One effect would be to penalize homeless people who sit on side walks or lean against building, walls or signs)

• The board of trustees of your church has asked member for their response to a proposal to install soft drink and candy vending machines in the corridors of the church building and use the revenue from those machines to improve the facilities in the religious education wing.

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