- Consider the purpose of the paper – to reflect, report, persuade, explain, etc.
- Identify the audience – a particular set of readers with specific needs, expectations, educational levels
- Set the tone – the attitude you adopt as you write — sympathetic, superior, lighthearted, respectful, detached, objective, etc.
- Choose a topic
- Finding something to say – brainstorming, reading and observing, clustering ideas, free writing, asking questions (who, what, when, where, why, how)
Shaping your material
- Identify three or four general categories of information that best represents your material
- Develop a thesis – one that communicates the main idea, is carefully worded, and delineates your direction, emphasis and scope.
Writing a Rough Draft
- Write with revision in mind — write every other line or type triple-space
- Is you tone consistent?
- Is the thesis clearly and specifically worded?
- Have you discussed everything promised in your thesis?
- Did you present your ideas in a logical sequence?
- Do clear transitions between paragraphs allow your readers to follow your thoughts?
- Are your paragraphs developed fully enough to support your points?
- Are the relationships of the sentences within paragraphs clear?
- Does your concluding paragraph(s) sum up your main points?
- Have you used correct sentence structure?
- Have you varied your sentence structure?
- Have you avoided confusing shifts in tense, voice, mood, person, or number?
- Have you selected words that accurately reflect your intentions?
- Have you eliminated jargon, clichés, and ineffective figures of speech?
- Edit for grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling.
- Edit again
- Check for typographical errors
- Make sure your paper conforms to your instructor’s format requirements