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How to Write a Rough Draft

Last Updated: February 6, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Michelle Golden, PhD . Michelle Golden is an English teacher in Athens, Georgia. She received her MA in Language Arts Teacher Education in 2008 and received her PhD in English from Georgia State University in 2015. There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 287,434 times.

Writing a rough draft is an essential part of the writing process, an opportunity to get your initial ideas and thoughts down on paper. It might be difficult to dive right into a rough draft of an essay or a creative piece, such as a novel or a short story. You should start by brainstorming ideas for the draft to get your creative juices flowing and take the time to outline your draft. You will then be better prepared to sit down and write your rough draft.

Brainstorming Ideas for the Draft

Step 1 Do a freewrite...

  • Freewrites often work best if you give yourself a time limit, such as five minutes or ten minutes. You should then try to not take your pen off the page as you write so you are forced to keep writing about the subject or topic for the set period of time.
  • For example, if you were writing an essay about the death penalty, you may use the prompt: “What are the possible issues or problems with the death penalty?” and write about it freely for ten minutes.
  • Often, freewrites are also a good way to generate content that you can use later in your rough draft. You may surprised at what you realize as you write freely about the topic.

Step 2 Make a cluster map about the topic or subject.

  • To use the clustering method, you will place a word that describes your topic or subject in the center of your paper. You will then write keywords and thoughts around the center word. Circle the center word and draw lines away from the center to other keywords and ideas. Then, circle each word as you group them around the central word.
  • For example, if you were trying to write a short story around a theme like “anger”, you will write “anger” in the middle of the page. You may then write keywords around “anger”, like “volcano”, “heat”, “my mother”, and “rage”.

Step 3 Read writing about the topic or subject.

  • If you are writing a creative piece, you may look for texts written about a certain idea or theme that you want to explore in your own writing. You could look up texts by subject matter and read through several texts to get ideas for your story.
  • You might have favorite writers that you return to often for inspiration or search for new writers who are doing interesting things with the topic. You could then borrow elements of the writer’s approach and use it in your own rough draft.
  • You can find additional resources and texts online and at your local library. Speak to the reference librarian at your local library for more information on resources and texts.

Outlining Your Draft

Step 1 Make a plot outline

  • You may use the snowflake method to create the plot outline. In this method, you will write a one line summary of your story, followed by a one paragraph summary, and then character synopses. You will also create a spreadsheet of scenes.
  • Alternatively, you can use a plot diagram. In this method, you will have six sections: the set up, the inciting incident, the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the resolution.
  • No matter which option you chose, you should make sure your outline contains at least the inciting incident, the climax, and the resolution. Having these three elements set in your mind will make writing your rough draft much easier.

Step 2 Try the three act structure.

  • Act 1: In Act 1, your protagonist meets the other characters in the story. The central conflict of the story is also revealed. Your protagonist should also have a specific goal that will cause them to make a decision. For example, in Act 1, you may have your main character get bitten by a vampire after a one night stand. She may then go into hiding once she discovers she has become a vampire.
  • Act 2: In Act 2, you introduce a complication that makes the central conflict even more of an issue. The complication can also make it more difficult for your protagonist to achieve their goal. For example, in Act 2, you may have your main character realize she has a wedding to go to next week for her best friend, despite the fact she has now become a vampire. The best friend may also call to confirm she is coming, making it more difficult for your protagonist to stay in hiding.
  • Act 3: In Act 3, you present a resolution to the central conflict of the story. The resolution may have your protagonist achieve their goal or fail to achieve their goal. For example, in Act 3, you may have your protagonist show up to the wedding and try to pretend to not be a vampire. The best friend may then find out and accept your protagonist anyway. You may end your story by having your protagonist bite the groom, turning him into her vampire lover.

Step 3 Create an essay outline.

  • Section 1: Introduction, including a hook opening line, a thesis statement , and three main discussion points. Most academic essays contain at least three key discussion points.
  • Section 2: Body paragraphs, including a discussion of your three main points. You should also have supporting evidence for each main point, from outside sources and your own perspective.
  • Section 3: Conclusion, including a summary of your three main points, a restatement of your thesis, and concluding statements or thoughts.

Step 4 Have a thesis statement.

  • For example, maybe you are creating a rough draft for a paper on gluten-intolerance. A weak thesis statement for this paper would be, “There are some positives and negatives to gluten, and some people develop gluten-intolerance.” This thesis statement is vague and does not assert an argument for the paper.
  • A stronger thesis statement for the paper would be, “Due to the use of GMO wheat in food sold in North America, a rising number of Americans are experiencing gluten-intolerance and gluten-related issues.” This thesis statement is specific and presents an argument that will be discussed in the paper.

Step 5 Include a list of sources.

  • Your professor or teacher may require you to create a bibliography using MLA style or APA style. You will need to organize your sources based on either style.

Writing the Rough Draft

Step 1 Find a quiet, focused environment for writing.

  • You may also make sure the room is set to an ideal temperature for sitting down and writing. You may also put on some classical or jazz music in the background to set the scene and bring a snack to your writing area so you have something to munch on as you write.

Step 2 Start in the middle.

  • You may also write the ending of the essay or story before you write the beginning. Many writing guides advise writing your introductory paragraph last, as you will then be able to create a great introduction based on the piece as a whole.

Step 3 Do not worry about making mistakes.

  • You should also try not to read over what you are writing as you get into the flow. Do not examine every word before moving on to the next word or edit as you go. Instead, focus on moving forward with the rough draft and getting your ideas down on the page.

Step 4 Use the active voice.

  • For example, rather than write, “It was decided by my mother that I would learn violin when I was two,” go for the active voice by placing the subject of the sentence in front of the verb, “My mother decided I would learn violin when I turned two.”
  • You should also avoid using the verb “to be” in your writing, as this is often a sign of passive voice. Removing “to be” and focusing on the active voice will ensure your writing is clear and effective.

Step 5 Refer to your outline when you get stuck.

  • You may also review the brainstorming materials you created before you sat down to write, such as your clustering exercise or your freewrite. Reviewing these materials could help to guide you as you write and help you focus on finishing the rough draft.
  • You may want to take breaks if you find you are getting writer’s block. Going for a walk, taking a nap, or even doing the dishes can help you focus on something else and give your brain a rest. You can then start writing again with a fresh approach after your break.

Step 6 Read over your rough draft and revise it.

  • You should also read the rough draft out loud to yourself. Listen for any sentences that sound unclear or confusing. Highlight or underline them so you know they need to be revised. Do not be afraid to revise whole sections or lines of the rough draft. It is a draft, after all, and will only improve with revision.
  • You can also read the rough draft out loud to someone else. Be willing to accept feedback and constructive criticism on the draft from the person. Getting a different perspective on your writing will often make it that much better.

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  • ↑ https://www.umgc.edu/current-students/learning-resources/writing-center/online-guide-to-writing/tutorial/chapter2/ch2-13
  • ↑ https://writing.ku.edu/prewriting-strategies
  • ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/outlining
  • ↑ http://www.writerswrite.com/screenwriting/cannell/lecture4/
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/essay-outline/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/rough-draft/
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/style/ccs_activevoice/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/revising-drafts/

About This Article

Michelle Golden, PhD

To write a rough draft, don't worry if you make minor mistakes or write sentences that aren't perfect. You can revise them later! Also, try not to read over what you're writing as you go, which will slow you down and mess up your flow. Instead, focus on getting all of your thoughts and ideas down on paper, even if you're not sure you'll keep them in the final draft. If you get stuck, refer to your outline or sources to help you come up with new ideas. For tips on brainstorming and outlining for a rough draft, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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23 Ways to Improve Your Draft

  • Consider your options: How much leeway do you have in terms of tone, organization, and style? Maybe your first draft sounds like you are talking to your best friend, but it needs to be more academic. Maybe you’ve stuck to the five-paragraph format, but there is room for you to expand. Remember: keep your purpose and audience in mind at all times when considering what kind of choices should be made!
  • Revisit the prompt: Whether you have a physical assignment prompt from your professor or you have committed to a project, check to make sure you are meeting all of the requirements and fully fulfilling the purpose. For example, maybe you forgot to address a counterargument, which may be crucial for your audience to understand your point. Did the prompt ask you to evaluate a book, but you simply discussed the content instead?
  • Check your thesis: For most academic writing, there should be a single sentence (or two) that directly states an argument that someone in your audience could reasonably disagree with. Many readers expect this to fall at the end of the first paragraph (or second, in longer essays). Does your thesis at least touch on every argument that arises in your essay? It must be broad enough so everything in your essay falls under its jurisdiction, but it must also be specific enough to give the reader a clear idea of your argument.
  • Make connections: Often, it is easy to not realize what you are truly arguing until you reach your conclusion. Re-check your introduction and thesis against your conclusion to make sure they are lining up. While you want to reiterate your argument in the conclusion, it needs to be stated most clearly in the introduction. (Don't forget to check the rest of the essay: all paragraphs should reflect this new main idea!)
  • Write a bold beginning: Your title should be an accurate reflection of your paper’s subject matter, but it should also be interesting enough to grab your reader’s attention - to "hook" the reader. Your first few sentences can start by broadly introducing the issue or subject matter that will be discussed in the essay. Questions, statistics, and illustrative stories can also be intriguing ways to start an essay, but they can be distracting if relied upon too heavily or if they are not effectively connected to the argument.
  • Focus on individual paragraphs: Each paragraph should be arguing one aspect of your larger argument. They all need (in order): a topic sentence that transitions from the previous paragraph and introduces the argument for the new paragraph, evidence (either from outside sources or general facts), analysis of the evidence (which includes explaining, describing the significance of, and making connections), and a strong connection to your thesis. The paragraph can, more or less, end by summing up your argument in that paragraph.
  • Add transitions: At the beginning of paragraphs and between ideas within the paragraph, transition words can help the reader keep track of how your arguments are related to one another. For example, if two ideas are alike, you may use transition words like moreover, in addition, or also. If two ideas are not alike, you may use words like however, in contrast, meanwhile, or on the other hand.
  • Rely on key words and phrases: You will feel like you are being redundant, but repeating key words and phrases from your thesis and topic sentences throughout your paper will keep your audience anchored in the main idea. Remember: every idea has to be related back to your thesis.
  • Favor analysis over summary: You will most likely need to summarize the context of an issue, an opinion, or another piece of writing in your essay. However, your analysis should almost always be longer than your summary. Summarize the main ideas in a few short sentences, and then spend more time explaining, evaluating, refuting/agreeing, and connecting the ideas to your larger argument in your own words.
  • Be specific: Words like things, very, stuff, and interesting are vague. Search for words or sentences in your essay that could be replaced with more specific words. You also may want to add more specific details to strengthen your argument. For example, “Barbies are bad for people” might be revised to “Barbies are harmful to young girls’ self-image because they set unrealistic expectations for weight and size.”
  • Expand from the inside: If your essay isn't long enough, ask yourself, "What else can I show the readers?" Get more facts, give an additional description, add another angle to the argument, make up another hypothetical example, define your terms, explain the background of the issue, describe exactly what you want your readers to see and why.
  • Get a second opinion: Another set of eyes is crucial to the success of your essay. Many times, you can become too close to your work to see the fallacies, inconsistencies, or lack of clarity. Snag a relative, a roommate, or a Writing Center tutor to read over your essay. Ask them to mark places that are unclear or difficult to follow. Set your ego aside and really consider ways to improve based on their feedback.
  • Go out in style: Your conclusion should not only re-hash your main argument and main points, but it should leave the reader with a provocative thought. You might accomplish this by connecting your issue to the larger world (why does this matter?) or suggesting new questions that naturally arise as a consequence of your argument (what now?). You can push your conclusion a bit: what is the real "truth" about this topic?
  • Sandwich your quotations: For every quotation, make sure you indicate who is speaking (“According to...”) and then explain how that quotation fits into your argument through analysis. Watch out for dry quotes, which are quotes dropped into paragraphs without any introduction or adequate explanation.
  • Cut it down: Pare any quotations to the minimum effective length (to avoid interrupting the flow of your own language too much)—sometimes you can smoothly paraphrase the idea just as clearly as the author can.
  • Know whose idea you are using: Quotes and statistics are more obviously someone else’s ideas that need to be cited properly, but remember that paraphrases and summaries are also someone else’s ideas that need to be cited – even if you put them in your own words. These ideas need to be credited to the right people through in-text citations and a Works Cited page.
  • Catch fragments and run-ons: Any sentence that begins with Which, Although, As, Being that, After, Since, Because, or For example has a higher-than-average risk of being a sentence fragment. Is the opening phrase then connected to a complete sentence? In addition, any sentence that goes on for several lines or has multiple commas has a higher-than average risk of being a run-on sentence. Break them up with periods, semi-colons, or the correct connectors. Likewise, double-check any paragraph that goes on for over a page—can you find a good way to sort it into two paragraphs? Remember: each paragraph should represent a single idea/argument.
  • Be yourself: Some essays need to be more formal or require more academic jargon, but you can be most clear when you are simply using your own words. Remember: being specific is often a better substitute to “sounding smart.”
  • Vary your sentences: Use long sentences to show connections and shorter ones for emphasis; write some starting subject-verb and some with introductory phrases.
  • Put your verbs into motion: Search for your to be verbs, such as is, are, were, and was. Can you rewrite some of these sentences to show motion, surprise, activity, thought, or progress? Pick the activated verb over the to be verb when you can.
  • Know your grammatical pitfalls: How long can it take to look for all the its/it's or there/theirs—or whatever error you know you're susceptible to—in your essay, checking each one to be sure that you've got it right? Don't trust the spelling or grammar checker to catch all errors.
  • Read backwards: If typos or other errors are a weak spot for you, read your essay backwards, a sentence at a time, last sentence to first sentence. You can also read every other line. Reading the  sentences out of context like this will prevent you from filling in the gaps or reading what you mean instead of what you actually wrote.
  • Listen to yourself: Read your essay out loud, slowly, dramatically, and with feeling. Really listen to it. If it sounds wrong or awkward, it probably is wrong or awkward—you can catch a lot of rough spots this way. And if your tongue trips over a sentence or phrase, it's likely your reader's thoughts will trip over it, too. Smooth it out.

Adapted from Dr. Shelley Reid, Director of Composition, English Department, George Mason University Last updated 6/28/2016


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How to Write a Research Paper

  • Step 1. Choose a Topic
  • Step 2. Start Brainstorming
  • Step 3. Start Your (Initial) Research
  • Step 4. Narrow Your Topic
  • Step 5. Research, Research, Research!
  • Step 6. Write an Outline
  • Step 7. Citations & References
  • Step 8. Annotated Bibliography (optional?)
  • Step 9. Write a Rough Draft
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Lazy college senior meme. Rough Draft? Final draft

Write a Rough Draft

Many students hear "rough draft" and they think "final draft." Let me assure you, this is not a good idea. A rough draft is you putting ideas to paper in a semi-logical order that might actually get a D.

A rough draft gives you the opportunity to screw up and fix it before you hand in a paper that sucks. Take that opportunity. The fact that your paper sucks at this point is a good thing. It puts less pressure on you, and you can just let ideas flow. Use it to make your paper better. This means yes, you will actually have to write a rough draft .

But instead of being upset about it, use it as a springboard to a better paper. The rough draft could show you where some holes exist in your research. Just because you're writing a rough draft doesn't mean you're done researching !

  • << Previous: Step 8. Annotated Bibliography (optional?)
  • Next: Step 10. Edit >>
  • Last Updated: Dec 7, 2023 11:04 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.columbiastate.edu/research_paper

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Rough Drafts

In this section of the Excelsior OWL, you have been learning about traditional structures for expository essays (essays that are thesis-based and offer a point-by-point body), but no matter what type of essay you’re writing, the rough draft is going to be an important part of your writing process. It’s important to remember that your rough draft is a long way from your final draft, and you will engage in revision and editing before you have a draft that is ready to submit.

Sometimes, keeping this in mind can help you as you draft. When you draft, you don’t want to feel like “this has to be perfect.” If you put that much pressure on yourself, it can be really difficult to get your ideas down.

The sample rough draft below shows you an example of just how much more work a rough draft can need, even a really solid first draft. Take a look at this example with notes a student wrote on her rough draft. Once you complete your own rough draft, you will want to engage in a revision and editing process that involves feedback, time, and diligence on your part. The steps that follow in this section of the Excelsior OWL will help!

Rough Draft Example

Example of a rough draft


Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL). Located at:  https://owl.excelsior.edu/  . This site is licensed under a  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/  .

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Putting Pen to Paper: How to Write a Rough Draft

You have done the research and written the outline of your paper. You are ahead of the deadline, and you want to stay that way. You turn on your computer, poise your fingers over the keyboard, and begin your rough draft. But what exactly is a rough draft? And just why do you need to write one in the first place?

Have you ever assembled a puzzle? Most of us begin by dumping all the puzzle pieces out of the box and then grouping the pieces by color and shape. It is likely that the jumble of puzzle pieces in no way resembles the picture on the puzzle box. But looking at the pieces, you can get an idea of how they will all fit together.

Writing a rough draft is similar to building a puzzle. Your outline and your research are a collection of ideas similar to that jumble of puzzle pieces. When you write your rough draft, you begin organizing how these ideas go together. Just as grouping similar puzzle pieces can give you an idea of what the final puzzle will look like, grouping your ideas in a rough draft gives you an idea of what your final draft will look like.

Getting a Rough Idea

You may think that rough drafts are not important. You have done the research, and you know what you want to say, so what is wrong with just writing? Nothing! In fact, that’s exactly how to write a rough draft. A rough draft is a means of getting started on your essay. When you start a rough draft, you are no longer just thinking about writing or planning on writing—you are doing it! Writing your rough draft helps you get your information and thoughts on paper. Once you have your rough draft, you can edit and polish ad nauseum until you have your wonderful final draft. But before that, you need to start somewhere.

Writing a rough draft also helps build discipline. While you may have managed to write an essay off the cuff in the past, it was bound to be a stressful experience. Who would want to do that again? Writing a rough draft helps you get your ideas on paper. You can always fix the spelling and grammar, refine your word choices, and add your own style and panache later. For now, sitting down and writing helps discipline your mind.

How to Write a Rough Draft

  • The first step in writing a rough draft is just to get started. Collect your research notes and your outline (you did do the research and prepare the outline, didn’t you?).
  • Follow your outline to help you prepare your introductory paragraph. This is where you should catch your reader’s attention with an interesting first sentence, but don’t worry if you can’t think of one yet. Inspiration may hit you at a later stage—that’s the wonder of writing a rough draft! Make sure that you introduce your topic and write your thesis statement . This will help you with the structure of your paper.
  • Write the body of your essay. Remember that you will need, at very least, three paragraphs containing evidence that supports your thesis statement. At this point, don’t worry too much about making sure you have transitions between the paragraphs. Improving flow is something you can do in a later draft.
  • Write your conclusion. This paragraph provides you with the opportunity to summarize your research and show how it supports your thesis statement. You should also restate your thesis statement.

Surviving the Rough Times

There are some things you can do to make sure that you don’t have a rough time writing your rough draft. These tips will help make the writing process a bit easier:

  • Write in the active voice.
  • Don’t stress out over every word. Just let your ideas spill onto the paper. If you can’t think of an appropriate word, just type the first word that pops into your head, and return to it later.
  • Make sure your introduction not only introduces your topic but also provides some background information on the topic.
  • Write a topic sentence for each of your body paragraphs. This sentence indicates the direction for each paragraph and will help you remain on subject.
  • If you can, write some transition ideas in each of your body paragraphs so that they link together, but don’t agonize over them. It’s okay if you can’t think of these transitions at this stage.
  • Look for any paragraphs where you feel that your proof is weak or you need more information to bolster your argument. You may need to go back and do more research to fill in any holes.
  • Once you have completed your rough draft, take a break. You deserve it!

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35 How to Write a Rough Draft.

Kathy Boylan

Make the Writing Process Work for You! What makes the writing process beneficial to writers is that it encourages alternatives to standard practices and motivates you to develop your best ideas. For instance, the following approaches, done alone or in combination with others, may improve your writing and help you move forward in the writing process:

  • Begin writing with the part you know the most about. The purpose of a first draft is to get ideas down on paper that can then be revised.  Consider beginning with the body paragraphs and drafting the introduction and conclusion later. You can start with the third point in your outline if ideas come easily to mind, or you can start with the first or second point   Although paragraphs may vary in length, keep in mind that short paragraphs may contain insufficient support. Readers may also think the writing is abrupt. Long paragraphs may be wordy and may lose your reader’s interest. As a guideline, try to write paragraphs longer than one sentence but shorter than the length of an entire double-spaced page.
  • Write one supporting point at a time and then stop. As long as you complete the assignment on time, you may choose how many paragraphs you complete in one sitting. Pace yourself. On the other hand, try not to procrastinate. Writers should always meet their deadlines.
  • Take short breaks to refresh your mind. This tip might be most useful if you are writing a multipage report or essay. Still, if you are antsy or cannot concentrate, take a break to let your mind rest, but do not let breaks extend too long. If you spend too much time away from your essay, you may have trouble starting again. You may forget key points or lose momentum. Try setting an alarm to limit your break, and when the time is up, return to your desk to write.
  • Be reasonable with your goals. If you decide to take ten-minute breaks, try to stick to that goal. If you told yourself that you need more facts, then commit to finding them. Holding yourself to your own goals will create successful writing assignments.
  • Keep your audience and purpose in mind as you write. These aspects of writing are just as important when you are writing a single paragraph for your essay as when you are considering the direction of the entire essay.
  • Of all of these considerations, keeping your purpose and your audience at the front of your mind is key to writing success. If your purpose is to persuade, for example, you will present your facts and details in the most logical and convincing way you can for the particular audience you have in mind. If your audience dwells on logic, for example, points that use reason, facts, documented information, and the like, will provide the persuasion to which those readers best respond. Some writers find it useful to keep the purpose and audience at the top of every page, highlighted in some way, as a reminder of the targets of each point.
  • Your purpose will guide your mind as you compose your sentences. Your audience will guide word choice. Are you writing for experts, for a general audience, for other college students, or for people who know very little about your topic? Keep asking yourself what your readers, with their background and experience, need to know to understand your ideas. How can you best express your ideas, so they are meaningful and memorable and your communication is effective?
  • Write knowing that the revision and editing processes lie ahead, so leave plenty of time for those stages.

You may want to identify your purpose and audience on an index card that you clip to your paper (or keep next to your computer). On that card, you may want to write notes to yourself—perhaps about what that audience might not know or what it needs to know—so that you will be sure to address those issues when you write. It may be a good idea to state exactly what you want to explain to that audience, or the subject about which you want to inform them or persuade them.

Writing at Work

Many of the documents you produce at work target a particular audience for a particular purpose. You may find that it is highly advantageous to know as much as you can about your target audience and to prepare your message to reach that audience, even if the audience is a coworker or your boss. Menu language is a common example. Descriptions like “organic romaine” and “free-range chicken” are intended to appeal to a certain type of customer though perhaps not to the same customer who craves a thick steak. Similarly, mail-order companies research the demographics of the people who buy their merchandise. Successful vendors customize product descriptions in catalogs to appeal to their buyers’ tastes. For example, the product descriptions in a skateboarder catalog will differ from the descriptions in a clothing catalog for mature adults.

Tips to Avoid Writer’s Block

Set up scheduled times to write and set deadlines to accomplish different parts of your essay, and avoid perfectionism–that comes later in the writing process.

Maintaining Internal Integrity of Paragraphs

A paragraph needs to provide links between the ideas, and here are techniques that you can put into practice.

Using Transitions

Transitions within paragraphs are words that connect one sentence to another so that readers can follow the intended meanings of sentences and relationships between sentences. Transitions may also smooth the flow between body paragraphs.  The following table shows some commonly used transition words:

What Point of View Should Be Used in Academic Writing?

The dominant perspective in argument writing should be third person (he, she, it, and they).  What do you gain by using third person?

  • Third person puts the topic and argument at the center , where they should be.
  • Third person implies a critical distance between the writer and the argument , which can reassure readers who might disagree with your perspective that you are not being overly swayed by emotional attachment, i.e., that you can be objective.

Figure 4.5 Point of View

POV graphic

What this means is that writers should minimize the first person (I, me, we, us).  The use of I in writing is often a topic of debate, and the acceptance of its usage varies from instructor to instructor.  Some instructors demand all removal of first person from argument writing, but other instructors do not mind it.  (This is changing fast, though. Many academic journals now encourage first-person writing because it is more active, immediate, and interesting to read. The deciding factor is to follow the instructions of your instructor.) While you may feel more comfortable using first person because you still think of an argument as the same as an opinion, be aware that using first person in argument writing comes with damaging effects:

  • Using I shifts the focus from the topic and argument to the one making the argument .   You are not the focus of the essay; your argument and its support are. The insertion of I into a sentence alters not only the way a sentence might sound but also the composition of the sentence itself. I is often the subject of a sentence. If the subject of the essay is supposed to be, for example, smoking, then by inserting yourself into the sentence, you are effectively displacing the subject of the essay into a secondary position.  Note the difference in these two sentences:

Smoking is bad.

I think smoking is bad.

In the first sentence, the rightful subject, smoking , is in the subject position in the sentence. In the second sentence, the insertion of I and think replaces smoking as the subject, which draws attention to I and away from the topic that is supposed to be discussed. Remember to keep the message (the subject) and the messenger (the writer) separate.

  • Too many I-statements make your argument sound weak .  Excessive repetition of “I think” or “I feel” or “I believe” will eventually make it look like you are overemphasizing your beliefs because you don’t have enough confidence in them.  Perception is important.  You may actually be incredibly confident in your argument, logic, and evidence, but your overuse of I-statements will undermine that.
  • Too many I-statements make your argument sound biased .  Too much use of I will make your readers think you cannot be objective, and they may doubt your support because they think you are too personally attached to the argument to reasonably and objectively weigh data and logic—even if you are doing that throughout the essay.
  • I-statements make your sentences wordier .  Good academic writing is shark-like, and when declaring arguments and supporting points, you especially want to cut through the noise and confusion with strong, straightforward, economic writing.  Refer again to the two sentences above.  The first is boldly declarative (Smoking is bad.  Boom!). The second is wordier, which drains energy and punch from the claim.

Writers may use the first person POV in personal, reflective or narrative writing.  However, the second person POV (using you) is usually avoided in any form of academic writing.

Consider adopting this rule of thumb: check with your professors for their preference, but even if they allow first person, use it sparingly.

Let's Get Writing! Copyright © 2018 by Kathy Boylan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Rough Draft: What Is It and How to Write One

rough draft of novels

Writing a rough draft is an essential part of the writing process and is an opportunity to write your first ideas and thoughts on paper. It can be challenging to dive directly into a rough draft of an essay or creative work (such as a novel or short story). You need to start by brainstorming your ideas and letting your creative juices flow. Then you take the time to outline your draft. Once you’ve done this, you are ready to sit down and write a draft.

Writing an Initial Draft

pen and paper for writing

Every writer’s process is different, but there are several ways to reduce the difficulty of jumping into the first rough draft of a novel:

Allow Ideas to Flow Freely.

Rough drafts are where your most crazy ideas come to light. Don’t be shy about changing content or perspective, and don’t hesitate to come up with ideas worth exploring. This stage of your writing is for your eyes only, so you don’t have to feel awkward about what you’re putting on the paper.

By giving yourself a deadline to complete a particular exercise or section. You will become more ambitious about your time, and less willing to waste it around sorting out the details. Promise to complete a certain number of pages or write a certain number of hours per day. Routines keep your writing consistent, so you don’t lose momentum and lag behind.

Give an Overview

Take time before writing the rough draft to create an outline that initiates the formation of the initial structure of the scene. Placing all the pieces before assembling gives you the clearest idea of ​​how to organize your novel as well as identifying the missing (and useless) pieces.

Create in Advance

Pre-writing helps you get started and can include writing procedures and performing exercises. For example, writing freely allows the writer to write undisturbed – quickly writing down ideas without following a strict form – which allows the stimulation of creativity when suffering from the writer’s block.

Forget to Edit

When spitting out story details, you don’t have to worry about grammatical mistakes such as punctuation, passive voices, sentence completion, and inconsistent tenses. Leave the entire editing process until after your finish your rough draft. As long as you convey your thoughts in a way that you can understand, what you write in your draft lies between you and your vision. You can worry about well-written sentences in the second or third draft.

Start Wherever You Like

You want to start with the most exciting points for you. Every story starts from the beginning and doesn’t have to go step by step. If you are excited about the story’s climax before the beginning or end of the story, write it down first. You don’t want to get stuck in the details of a story that isn’t ready to be established yet. Writing a novel is a lengthy process, and you want to keep enjoying it for as long as possible.

Take a Break  

The last thing you need to do is burn out before completing your first draft. Sometimes taking a break is precisely what your writing process needs to get away from writing and come back with a fresh mind later.


Do not start the next draft until the current draft is complete. The sooner you refine it, the better. Sticking to your goals and spending time with you work will eventually produce a viable page which you can start engraving into the final draft of your novel.

How to Get T hrough the Writing Process

type writer

There are a few things you can do to avoid the hassle of writing a rough draft.  It will help in making the writing process a little easier.

  • Do not stress about the words. Put your ideas on paper. If you can’t think of a suitable word, enter the first word that comes to your mind and come back later.
  • If possible, write some migration ideas in each body paragraph to connect, but again don’t worry about them. It’s okay if you can’t think about these transitions at this stage.
  • In addition to introducing the given circumstances in the beginning chapter, be sure to provide background information about the characters and world of your novel.
  • Look for paragraphs or sections that appear to have weak imagery. Identify those that require more information to either further the plot or character development of your story. 
  • Write a topic statement or goal for each chapter of section of the novel. This sentence shows the direction of each chapter and helps you stay in line with your plot outline.
  • Write with an active voice.
  • Take a break when the rough draft is complete. You deserve it.

Written by Anonymous Gooroo Blogger.

About the Author

Lydia B.

Lydia B. is a Marketing Coordinator and Music Club Coach for Gooroo, a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers Math, English, SAT, Coding, Spanish tutoring, and more.

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A rough draft is an initial version of a piece of writing that serves as a starting point for further revision. When writing a draft, you don't need to focus too much on grammar, style, or perfect structure. The purpose of a rough draft is to get thoughts down on paper and prepare a foundation for the final version of your writing.

An excellent essay is not written in one go; it has many rough drafts behind it. What's a secret to writing a powerful sketch? In fact, there is no secret. It's just a matter of knowing how to organize your ideas correctly. Read on and you’ll find out how to sketch your perfect final piece and get essay help .

What Is Rough Draft: Meaning

The rough draft is your very first attempt to put text on paper. It is expected to be basic, imperfect, and incomplete. But at the same time, it is a piece of essential information for the final version. Don't be afraid to make grammatical mistakes, incorrect words, or confusing structure.  The idea is writing down all your thoughts in an outline. And you can correct errors at the very end.

What Is the Purpose of Rough Draft?

What is the focus and purpose of writing a rough draft? Drafts help you catch an idea and finish your essay on time. This is precisely a tool that is needed when fearing blank slate. It should not be perfect; it just should be as it is.  Its ultimate goal is getting your ideas across and giving yourself a boost to start writing. Preparing your work becomes much easier after you have your first sketch. But just writing an essay without it can take a lot of time. Using an outline, you can see what is missing and what can be changed. According to professional college essay writing service , flaws or plot holes can be avoided even before  material is written.

Rough Draft: What to Include

What should be included in your first draft? Draft helps you with an initial version of your final paper. So it should contain all sections that a usual essay has. However, this sketch is for you only, and no one will read it. Therefore, no one will mind if you modify it for yourself. You can skip some sections. But keep in mind that in your final work, everything should be according to  instructions.  If you are interested in what should be in your finished version of an essay, we suggest that you look through our article or order essay from experts.

How to Write Rough Draft: 5 Main Steps

Now let's take a look at how to write a rough draft. This is often the most extended and most laborious part of essay writing preparation.  The purpose is to complete actual content writing. We have prepared a guide, thanks to which you can organize your ideas in just 5 steps!

Step 1: Brainstorming Ideas for the Draft

Brainstorming is the beginning step in writing a draft. This is very important for identifying  ideas and content that you want to build your copy around.  Don't worry about structure or spelling. Just write whatever comes to mind. Do not neglect this step whether you are writing a thesis paper or a fiction book. Take a piece of paper or create a new word document on your computer. At the top, write your main topic. Then set a timer for 10 minutes and start writing whatever comes to mind. There is no need to reread what you have printed or to correct something. Just keep on writing. Then, underline or highlight phrases and sentences that could be used for a story. As you go through the following steps, you may have more ideas. But always start by jotting down as many ideas as possible.

Step 2: Do Prewriting

To start your rough draft essay, ask yourself six important questions. Take a new sheet of paper or create a new word document. Write the main story topic at top. Then answer 6 main questions in free-write form:

How to write rough draft: 6 main questions

Now reread your answers. Perhaps you answered some questions with several sentences and left some unanswered. That may be the basis for your essay.

Step 3: Create an Outline

After brainstorming and attempts at writing first words, here comes a rough draft outline! It helps structure your content and put all of your previous work in logical form. Consider outline as a general plan for your broad sketch. This is just a picture of how everything will develop.

Step 4: Start Where You Want

How to start a rough draft? Don't be afraid to start your draft in the middle. This is especially useful if you keep thinking of a great first paragraph. Maybe you will begin with body paragraph parts. Starting in the middle will help you find proper words. You can also write conclusions first. Complete your introductory paragraph last. Then your introduction will be based on the context of your entire composition.

Step 5: Read Over and Revise Rough Draft

The final step of an essay rough draft is editing. This phase helps to polish all shortcomings and inaccuracies that you left while writing. Next, you need to thoroughly read a text. Edit any grammatical and spelling mistakes to get a final look. Well, that's all, done! Speaking about essay revision , we have a useful blog with all the necessary tips. Follow all the steps we advise.

How Long Should a Rough Draft Be?

Rough draft length should not differ much from final work's length. You can rewrite your drafts multiple times. This will help you choose the most suitable material from all options. This process gives you the ability to select from more comfortable material. Don't be afraid to change your ideas, because, in the end, you will still only leave the most suitable option.

How to Create Rough Draft: Helpful Tips

So, you start creating your first rough draft paper. Now we'll quickly give you the most critical advice when writing draft:

  • Allow yourself to write imperfectly! As we said, your goal is to present all ideas. Don't worry about making mistakes. Don't expect perfection the first time.
  • Focus on setting your raw ideas. Follow your plan. Don't be afraid to include new ideas. Draft can be your inspiration!
  • Don't concentrate on finding the right word. Don't check your grammar for correctness. Instead, focus on the big picture.

Rough Draft Example

It is hard to provide only one essay rough draft example. Sketches can include so many different aspects. Let's quickly take a look at what they could be:

  • It can be written entirely but with confusing ideas.
  • It can be written in slang or shorthand, with hints to add content later.
  • It can be written barely, but it outlines the central vision.
  • It may be a masterpiece that looks like the final product. But some fragments of information may be irrelevant.

If you worry how your plan should look like, here is also a system called TEER:

  • Thesis Here you state the idea and get attention.
  • Example Provide life support for your view.
  • Evidence Here you scientifically prove your thesis.
  • Relevance statement Wrap up your essay with a description of why it is significant.

Rough Draft: Bottom Line

A rough draft is a sketch of your future essay.  It is critical for writing a successful paper. We've described how to write a draft in 5 steps together with tips and examples. So you are ready to try writing the best draft for your academic work. 


Yes, draft is essential in writing an essay. But you don't have to worry about it at all. Just say ‘ write my college essay ’ and order the whole academic paper from us. Our professional writers will do everything quickly and at the highest level.


Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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How to Revise an Essay

How to Revise: A Step-by-Guide to Revising Your Writing

Matt Ellis

Revising is the stage of the writing process after the first draft where you improve what you wrote with additions, removals, corrections, and rephrasing. Typically, it is the final stage before completion and the writer’s last chance to fix any mistakes. 

Some consider revising to be the most important part of writing, even more important than creating the first draft. That’s why we want to explain how to revise drafts—so your writing can be at its best. Below, we cover how to revise effectively with a step-by-step revising plan plus a revising example so you can see how it’s done.  Give your writing extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly

What is revising, and what is its purpose?

Revising is the part of editing that incorporates “big-picture” changes like altering the main topic, reorganizing the order of paragraphs, or modifying the work’s structure. Additionally, it involves detailed changes like perfecting word choice, cutting out redundancies, rephrasing, and fixing grammar and spelling mistakes. 

Why bother revising? When writing a rough draft, it’s hard to focus on every aspect of your writing all at once. Revising gives you a second chance to zoom out and catch mistakes you missed the first time, plus reading a rough draft can reveal some mistakes you hadn’t anticipated. 

No matter which type of essay you’re writing, the methods for revising an essay still tend to follow the same guidelines, covered in the next section. Narrative and fiction writing also use many of the same revision standards, but these have additional literary concerns, such as characterization, imagery, and plot. 

How to revise writing: a step-by-step guide

1 prepare to revise.

Once you’ve finished your rough draft , it’s time to get ready to revise. The revision process will be more effective if you follow a few basic steps beforehand. 

First, take a break from writing after the first draft. Taking a break after the rough draft lets your brain rest so that you can later approach your writing with fresh eyes. If you can, try sleeping on it and starting the revisions the next day. 

Hitting pause before revising gives you a chance to conduct some extra research. While we recommend doing the bulk of your research before the outline , you’ll find that actually writing the paper may reveal new questions or points of interest you hadn’t considered before and that you might want to explore through additional research.

Finally, we recommend getting someone else to read and critique your first draft for a fresh perspective. Often writers miss glaring mistakes or problems because they’re so focused on the details; having a third party review your draft without any preconceptions can help identify problems you might miss on your own.  

2 Reexamine the topic

To begin revising, take a “funnel” approach—start with the most general areas and then gradually focus more on the specifics. With those in mind, your next step should be reexamining the most general aspects of your topic. 

When writing for an assignment, you want to make sure your topic satisfies all the requirements. Often while you’re writing, topics tend to stray from what they were supposed to be. An essential part of revising is making sure that your topic stays on point from beginning to end. 

If your topic did stray, you may want to change topics to better fit what your first draft focused on. For example, let’s say your original topic was the benefits of clean energy, but during the rough draft you spent a lot of time writing about the harm of fossil fuels. You might want to change your overall topic to be a comparison paper between clean energy and fossil fuels instead of just focusing on clean energy. 

Pivoting from one topic to another is not as difficult as it may seem. Most of it, specifically rewriting your thesis statement and introduction to reflect the changes, involves things you know from learning how to start an essay . 

3 Revise the structure

After the topic, the next most-general aspect of writing is its structure. This encompasses the order in which your paper discusses its points, such as the arrangement of paragraphs or sections. 

Structure can be difficult to get exactly right in the outlining phase before you’ve actually put words down. After the rough draft is completed, you’ll be able to see firsthand how each paragraph flows into the next and how certain arguments fit before and after each other. That makes it easier to notice any structural mistakes that eluded you before. 

When you revise, take a deep look at the order in which you make your points, and see if you can rearrange them in a way that’s clearer and a more logical or poignant expression of your message. It helps to look at the topic sentences of each paragraph so you don’t get sidetracked with the details from supporting sentences. 

If reorganizing still doesn’t fix the problem, consider adding a new paragraph or section. Revising isn’t just about changing what’s already there; it’s also about adding what’s missing. Sometimes a new section can fill in the gap and make transitions between existing sections flow better. 

Likewise, if an entire paragraph or section seems superfluous or tangential, feel free to cut it completely. It’s never easy to cut something you spent effort writing, but in the grand scheme of your paper, removing weak areas can strengthen what remains. Just don’t cut anything necessary to your central argument. 

4 Polish the wording

When most people think about revising, they think about polishing the wording . For the most part, the idea of the sentence remains the same, but some of the words are changed to make the message stronger or the communication more efficient. 

We covered what exactly to change in our previous guide on self-editing tips , but in general, you want to tighten up the writing by cutting the unnecessary words and making the necessary words more potent. Here’s a quick list of the most significant red flags:

  • Redundancy: Using multiple words that mean the same thing
  • Inefficient phrasing: Phrases that can be replaced with fewer words
  • Overused sentence structure : Using the same sentence structure over and over
  • Passive voice: The passive voice is when the subject receives the action instead of does it; rewrite the sentence in the active voice if possible
  • No parallelism: With parallelism , if there’s a series of phrases or clauses in a sentence, they should all follow the same grammatical structure
  • Repetition: Using the same word multiple times throughout the entire writing

Recognizing these issues while revising takes some practice, so go as slowly as you need to make sure you catch everything. 

5 Proofread

Lastly, make sure your spelling and grammar are correct. Technical issues like these are the easiest to fix—the hard part is noticing them in the first place. When you’re done polishing the wording, give your writing one final review and pay attention to finding only errors. 

If you’re not confident in your spelling, grammar, or punctuation or just want to save time, you can always download Grammarly to check your writing mistakes for you. There’s even a free version that points out any spelling or grammar errors in your writing and suggests solutions for how to correct them. 

Once you’re done proofreading, your paper is officially finished! At least, until your next round of revisions . . . 

How to revise a paragraph: Example

Want to see precisely how to revise writing? Here’s a before-and-after example of how to revise a paragraph, with a brief explanation of why the changes were made. 

First, let’s start with an example paragraph from a rough draft. The core idea is there, but it’s not quite ready yet.  

Cheerios are a much better cereal than Frosted Flakes. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about honey-nut, multigrain, or the original flavor, Cheerios always taste delicious and are really good for your health, too. I eat Cheerios every morning. Cheerios contain your basic vitamins and minerals for the day, making them a healthy choice. Cheerios contain fiber that lowers cholesterol, too. Moreover, Cheerios can also be used for other delicious recipes like parfait or muffins. When you start you’re day with Cheerios, you never regret what you ate for breakfast! They’re also gluten-free. 

Now, here’s the paragraph after revising, with the changes in red. Below we explain the purpose of each change so you know what to look for when you revise your own work. 

Cheerios are a much better cereal than Frosted Flakes. (1) Cheerios are the best cereal on the market. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about (2) Whether it’s honey-nut, multigrain, or the (3) original flavor, Cheerios always taste delicious and are really (4) good for your health, too. I eat Cheerios every morning. (5) Cheerios contain your basic vitamins and minerals for the day, making them a healthy choice. Cheerios contain fiber that lowers cholesterol, too. (6) If you want fiber that lowers your cholesterol, Cheerios have that as well. Moreover, Cheerios can be used (7) you can use Cheerios for other delicious (8) recipes like parfait or muffins. (9) They’re also gluten-free. When you start you’re (10) your day with Cheerios, you never regret what you ate for breakfast! They’re also gluten-free.  

1 The original topic sentence did not accurately reflect what the paragraph was about. It suggested that the paragraph would be a comparison between Cheerios and Frosted Flakes but only discussed the benefits of Cheerios without mentioning Frosted Flakes at all. 

2 The original phrasing was too long and easily replaced with something shorter. 

3 For parallelism, “the” is deleted so “original flavor” matches the same construction as the other items in the series.

4 Words like “really” or “very” are often unnecessary. 

5 This entire sentence is unnecessary. 

6 The original sentence copied the same structure as the one before it, so we changed the structure. 

7 We revised this sentence to remove the passive voice. 

8 The word “delicious” appeared a few sentences before this. 

9 This sentence seemed out of order, so we moved it earlier. 

10 The usage of “you’re” was grammatically incorrect. 

Revision FAQs  

What is revising.

Revising is the stage of the writing process after the rough draft when you make the final improvements for structure, word choice, and grammar. 

Why is revising important?

It’s practically impossible to write a perfect first draft because it’s hard to focus on every aspect of writing at once. Revising allows you to catch whatever fell through the cracks the first time, plus reading a rough draft can reveal some mistakes you hadn’t anticipated. 

How do you revise your writing?

Revising is a mixture of fixing general problems (like topic and structure) and specific problems (like word choice and grammar). 

rough draft essay


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Rough Draft Essay Example: How to Write an Effective Rough Draft

Rough Draft Essay Example: How to Write an Effective Rough Draft

Writing an excellent rough draft is a crucial step in the process of academic writing. It helps you organize your thoughts and ideas without worrying too much about the finer details. In this rough draft essay example, we will go through the logical steps that can assist you in starting and building an effective essay.

The first step in writing a rough draft is prewriting. This includes brainstorming and outlining your main ideas and purposes. It is helpful to create a rough sketch that shows the linking of paragraphs and the development of your thoughts. Prewriting allows you to quickly get your initial thoughts on paper, giving you a total overview of what you want to include in your essay.

As you work through the rough draft, be sure to provide enough explanation and examples to support your main ideas. Use paragraphs to break up long text and make it easier for readers to read and understand your essay. Each paragraph should have a clear focus and flow smoothly into the next one. Remember to revise as you go along, making sure your ideas are well-developed and that there is a logical progression from one paragraph to the next.

The Importance of Rough Drafts in Essay Writing

Rough drafts are an essential step in the process of essay writing. They serve as a sketch or outline of the main ideas that will be developed further in the final draft. Without a rough draft, the writing process can become long and chaotic, making it difficult for the writer to keep track of their thoughts and ideas.

One of the main purposes of a rough draft is to provide a suitable structure for the essay. It helps to organize and prioritize the ideas that the writer wants to present to the reader. Writing down the main points and examples in a rough draft helps the writer to see the progression and logical linking of ideas, ensuring a clear and cohesive essay.

Rough drafts also serve as a helpful tool during the prewriting stage. They allow the writer to brainstorm and jot down all the important ideas and examples they want to include in their essay. This helps to avoid missing any crucial points and provides a total overview of the topics the writer wants to cover in their essay.

Starting with a rough draft allows the writer to quickly get their thoughts on paper, without worrying too much about grammar and perfection. It provides a starting point from which the writer can build upon and refine their ideas during the revision stage.

Rough drafts are also important for the reader’s perspective. They allow the reader to see the progression of the writer’s thoughts and understand the meaning behind their examples and arguments. By reading a rough draft, the reader can also provide feedback and offer suggestions for improvement, creating a collaborative process between the writer and the reader.

Proofreading and revising the rough draft is also a crucial step. It helps to catch any spelling or grammar mistakes and allows for improvements in sentence structure and overall clarity. By reading and revising the rough draft, the writer can ensure that their essay is well-written and polished before the final submission.

Tips for Writing an Effective Rough Draft

1. Prewriting and Outlining: Before starting your rough draft, spend time prewriting and creating an outline. This stage will help you organize your thoughts and connect your ideas coherently.

2. Include all the necessary paragraphs: Make sure to include all the paragraphs that are required for your essay. Each paragraph should have a clear purpose and contribute to the overall meaning of your work.

3. Link paragraphs together: Ensure that there is a strong progression and linking between paragraphs. This will help your readers follow your train of thought and understand the flow of your essay.

5. Revise and proofread: Don’t expect your rough draft to be perfect. It is a work in progress, and you will need to revise and proofread it multiple times. Look for any mistakes, unclear sentences, or areas that need improvement.

Following these tips will help you create a strong and effective rough draft. Remember, the purpose of a rough draft is to generate material to work from in the revision stages, so don’t be afraid to make changes and try new ideas. Keep in mind that the rough draft is not the same as the final essay – it is a starting point to build upon. With the assistance of these hints, you will be well on your way to writing an excellent final piece!

Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Rough Draft

One common mistake is not focusing on the purpose of the rough draft. The purpose of a rough draft is to quickly get your ideas down on paper without worrying too much about organization or perfect grammar. Many writers get nervous or overwhelmed with the thought of creating a perfect first draft, but it’s important to remember that this stage is just for building the foundation of your essay.

Another mistake is not taking the time to brainstorm and outline your ideas before starting the rough draft. Brainstorming helps to get your thoughts flowing and allows you to organize your ideas in a logical progression. An outline provides a roadmap for your essay and helps to keep you focused on your main topics and supporting paragraphs.

One common mistake is not providing enough explanation or examples in your rough draft. It’s important to show the reader what you mean by providing further examples or explanation to support your main points. This helps to make your arguments stronger and provides a clear understanding for the reader.

Proofreading and revising are also important stages in the rough draft process. Many writers overlook these steps and submit their rough drafts without thoroughly reviewing their work. It’s important to take the time to read through your rough draft multiple times, looking for any errors or areas that need improvement. It’s also helpful to have someone else read your rough draft to provide additional feedback and assistance.

Finally, one of the most common mistakes is not considering the reader while writing the rough draft. It’s important to keep in mind who your audience is and what they might be looking for in your essay. This will help you tailor your writing to meet the needs and expectations of your readers.

Revising and Editing Your Rough Draft

1. read your rough draft.

The first step in revising your rough draft is to read it through carefully. Take the time to thoroughly understand the main purpose and meaning of your essay. As you read, pay attention to the overall structure and organization of your ideas. Keep an eye out for any paragraphs or sections that may need further development or explanation.

2. Create an Outline

To help with the revision process, create an outline of your essay. This outline will serve as a roadmap, guiding you through your revision. It will also help you ensure a logical flow of ideas from one paragraph to another and provide a suitable structure for your essay.

3. Identify Weak Points

While reading your rough draft, identify any weak points in your writing. This can include unclear or confusing sentences, unsupported arguments, or areas where the meaning is not conveyed effectively. Take note of these areas, as they will need to be revised.

4. Revise for Clarity, Purpose, and Development

Once you’ve identified the weak points, revise your essay to improve clarity, purpose, and overall development. Make sure that each paragraph has a clear topic sentence and that all the supporting details and evidence are relevant and strong. Focus on creating a strong and logical argument throughout your essay.

5. Edit for Grammar and Style

After revising the content of your essay, it’s time to edit for grammar, punctuation, and style. Proofread your work for any spelling or grammatical errors, and ensure that you are using appropriate academic writing style and tone.

Throughout the revision and editing process, it’s essential to keep in mind the purpose of your essay and what you want to convey to your readers. Take advantage of revision hints, brainstorming sessions, and feedback from others to ensure that your essay is well-written and effective in communicating your ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions about Rough Drafts

1. what is the purpose of a rough draft.

A rough draft serves as a preliminary version of the essay. It is the first written response to the essay prompt or topic. The purpose of a rough draft is to lay down the main ideas and structure of the essay without worrying too much about grammar or spelling errors. It provides a suitable explanation of what the essay is going to be about and helps the writer to keep their focus on the same line.

2. How should I start my rough draft?

3. what are some helpful tips for writing a rough draft.

– Don’t worry about getting everything perfect. Remember, it’s called a rough draft for a reason.

– Focus on getting your ideas down on paper without worrying too much about grammar or spelling errors.

– Don’t be afraid to make revisions and changes as you go along. The rough draft is a starting point, and you can refine it further in later drafts.

– Use linking words and transitional phrases to connect your ideas and make the essay flow smoothly.

– Read your rough draft out loud to find any areas that sound awkward or need improvement.

– Ask for assistance or feedback from a peer or instructor. Another set of eyes can often provide valuable insights.

– Proofread your rough draft for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors before moving on to the next step of revising.

4. How much revision is needed for a rough draft?

The amount of revision required for a rough draft will vary from writer to writer and essay to essay. Some writers may need to make significant changes, while others may only need minor tweaks. It’s important to read through your rough draft and think critically about how well it meets the requirements of the assignment and whether it effectively communicates your ideas to the reader. If you find that your rough draft is lacking in some areas, don’t be afraid to make substantial revisions to improve the overall quality of your essay.

By following these steps and tips, you can write an effective rough draft that lays a strong foundation for your final essay. Remember, the rough draft is just the beginning, and it’s through the process of revising and refining that your essay will truly come to life.

What is a rough draft?

A rough draft is an early version of a piece of writing that needs to be revised and edited before it is considered a final draft.

Why is it important to write a rough draft?

Writing a rough draft allows you to get your ideas down on paper and see how they flow together. It also gives you the opportunity to make revisions and improve your writing before creating the final draft.

What are the stages of building a strong essay draft?

Building a strong essay draft involves several stages including brainstorming, outlining, writing the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, revising and editing.

How does brainstorming help in the rough draft writing process?

Brainstorming helps generate ideas and organize them into a logical structure. It allows you to explore different perspectives, gather evidence, and create a clear thesis statement before starting the rough draft.

Why is revising and editing an essential step in the rough draft process?

Revising and editing allows you to improve the clarity, coherence, and overall quality of your writing. It helps you identify and correct errors in grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, ensuring that your essay is polished and effective.

Building a strong essay draft requires going through several stages. First, you need to brainstorm ideas and develop a clear thesis statement. Then, you should create an outline to organize your thoughts and main arguments. After that, you can start writing your rough draft, focusing on presenting your ideas and supporting evidence. Finally, you should revise and edit your draft to improve clarity, coherence, and grammar.

Why is it important to have a clear thesis statement in an essay draft?

A clear thesis statement is crucial in an essay draft because it helps guide your writing and provides a clear focus for your readers. It allows you to stay on track and ensures that your essay has a central argument or main point. Without a strong thesis statement, your essay may lack direction and coherence, making it difficult for your readers to understand your main idea.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California , and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.

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Rough Draft Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Literature , Beauty , Marriage , Social Issues , Women , Love , Relationships , Life

Words: 2500

Published: 01/23/2020


“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

Versus “The Necklace” James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” are two significant stories that portray alternate gender roles and the means to cope with those roles. James Thurber’s piece describe a man in the not so common feminine role, while Guy de Maupassant’s piece describes a woman in the usual feminine role. The stories were created in different historical periods, in various states of the relationships and in completely different settings. While the characters of these pieces experience different fates and the stories’ plots have dissimilar endings, some similarities can be drawn. For instance, both stories raise the issues that can occur in marriage and the characteristic gender roles that are at the base of every marriage. Also, in terms of literary form, both of them are clearly short stories that use similar tools, such as irony and sarcasm. In essence, with detailed analysis of each piece, it is possible to state that “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Necklace” share more similarities than differences, in which these similarities are detrimental in understanding gender roles in a marriage. These similarities will be identified in further analysis of the themes, literary forms and styles. Having taken up Mr. Mitty’s role, his wife acts in a manner typical for a man rather than a woman. She wouldn’t be described as beautiful and she doesn’t aim to please. It is Mr. Mitty’s job to please in the relationship. For example, in one point of the story Mrs. Mitty returns home from the hairdresser’s and meets Walter in a hotel. When she finally comes across him sitting in a chair, she pushes him in the shoulder and addresses him in a rough manner not typical for a woman, which might come off as harsh. The manner, in which she addresses him in their rough rendezvous, makes their conversation look more like quarrelling, as seen in this quote, “Something struck his shoulder. ‘I've been looking all over this hotel for you,’ said Mrs. Mitty. ‘Why do you have to hide in this old chair? How did you expect me to find you?’ ‘Things close in,’ said Walter Mitty vaguely. ‘What?’ Mrs. Mitty said. ‘Did you get the what's-its-name? The puppy biscuit? What's in that box?’”

(Thurber, 2011)

The foregoing example and further examples throughout the story clearly portray the masculine front that Mrs. Mitty has taken on in their marriage, which also describes the tone in which they address each other. A typical woman in a marriage wouldn’t dare hit her husband, but Mrs. Mitty feels no fear or shame in the action. She also blames her inability of finding him on his choice of seating, like it is his fault, or a problem at all, that she had to spend another moment or two searching for him. He has to be the incompetent and the lesser person in their relationship, no matter what the situation warrants. More or less, she is not the type of women that most men choose to admire. Indeed, her masculinity and dominant manner would divert any typical male; there would be a clashing of roles. On a similar note, one of the themes explored by Guy de Maupassant in “The Necklace” revolves around a relationship and the gender roles of the people within it. However, Guy de Maupassant switches the roles so that the woman takes on the more feminine and less dominant part, which is characteristic to most marriages. Unlike Mr. Mitty’s spouse, Mathilde is described as “beautiful” and “charming”; basically, the one who longs to be adored by men. Mr. Mitty’s wife was in no way portrayed in this manner. She needed to be pleased in order to be happy, and there was no reason for her to charm and seduce. It was almost as if the act was illogical and ridiculous. This is partly because Mr. Mitty’s wife didn’t need anything from him, while Mathilde did need and want. Evidently, this desire is the greatest motive to get expensive things and to live a frivolous lifestyle. For example, in the story it reads “She had no dresses, no jewelry, nothing. And she loved nothing else; she felt herself made for that only. She would so much have liked to please, to be envied, to be seductive and sought after.”

(Maupassant, 2011).

All she knows, or cares to know, is the materialistic world that is the stereotypical staple for being feminine. She aims to please and charm because it seems to be the only way to get what she wants or needs; to feel beautiful or to get jewelry and fine things. Apart from this, Mathilde’s femininity is demonstrated by her excessive sensitivity and overwhelming emotions. The male-dominated world, that is the evident platform in the story, highlights these feminine attributes. On another note, both stories depict the common theme of escapism. Essentially, in Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, escapism is the central theme. Walter Mitty is described as “a middle-aged, middle-class man who escapes from the routine drudgery of his suburban life into fantasies of heroic conquest” (Napierkowski, 1998). It is daydreaming that takes up a considerable part of Mr. Mitty’s life, and with reason. In his constant struggle to be a man in an unwarranted feminine role, his only solution is to daydream a different life for himself, which is essentially an escape from his miserable position of being weak and unneeded. Hence, Walter Mitty uses his imagination to create in his mind the image of himself as an unrivalled hero. The image clearly opposes reality, but it manages to offer some form of solace. His need for this solace is quite obvious since he escapes more than five times in any given time of day. Similarly, in Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace”, the main heroine daydreams excessively, as well. Mathilde’s escapism, however, focuses on bringing changes to her current social status. Being a member of the middle class in France, the protagonist dreams about moving up the social ladder to the glorious upper class and grasping the luxuries that appear to be just out of reach. Also, since her marriage was formed for reasons other than love, the young lady imagines crowds of handsome men who dote upon her and act in a chivalrous manner. In addition, with her love of expensive lifestyle, Mathilde feels hatred towards the house where they live since it doesn’t quite live up to her standards. Interestingly, the Loiselsare described by the author is not poor at all, which can be seen by the fact that they were able to hire a servant. Her hatred was simply due to the fact that the lifestyle was insufficient to her dreams. And yet, greed causes Mathilde to desire more. Her ever-present vision of a frivolous lifestyle with handsome men is a product of that greed. Similar to Walter Mitty, Mathilde lives in her imagined world and constantly savors her fantasies. Her daydreams, just like those of Mitty, have many sophisticated details, which are compared to her real life and cause the untamable discontent. At the same time, the two forms of escapism and daydreaming differ quite significantly. Whereas Walter Mitty’s daydreams portray a masculine hero whose only passion is to help others, Mathilde Loisel’s daydreaming is rooted in her greediness and dissatisfaction with life typical for the French middle class. Specifically, Walter dreams about sacrificing his efforts to make other people healthy and happy. Unlike Mathilde, he is not haunted by thoughts of how to get rich and to seek unrequited admiration. Instead, he finds himself dreaming about aiding others by sacrificing his physical health or performing other acts of kindness. His form of daydream portrays a man taking on a masculine role. He is trying to experience the type of person he wishes to be, but can’t seem to obtain in the real world. On a further note, Water Mitty survives off his daydreaming; it is the only method that has proved sufficient enough to help him cope with his living situation. Mathilde, on the other hand, isn’t happier from her daydreaming. It is not a method of coping and, in fact, it quite possibly makes her situation much worse. The constant reminder of the life she longs for is what causes the hatred and negative emotions for the life that she has (Thurber, 2011). While it may not be clear to her, she is unhappy in the feminine role that she was forced into. She wants to achieve greatness and to reach high standards, but in her society, that is the role dedicated to the man. She had no choice, but to accept the man and the position he has put her in. One more common theme that can be found in the stories is the contradiction between characters’ appearances and reality. According to Napierkowski, Madame Loisel is beautiful yet dissatisfied. Hence, her beauty is merely an appearance. For instance, let us take the episode at the ball. Although Mathilde is very successful and admired even by the minister, her beauty is not real, just an appearance covering up the inner darkness, since the young woman pretends to be something she is actually not. Thus, as Napierkowski concludes, “ it is not the reality of wealth or high social class that is important for Madame Loisel, just the appearance of it” (Napierkowski, 1998). As for Mr. Mitty, he resorts to daydreaming for the purposes of fleeing from the somber reality of his dissatisfying life. In the story, the heroic and leading roles that Walter plays mean to be a compensation for this character’s secondary role in his real life. In other words, Walter Mitty also wishes to appear to be something that he actually isn’t. While Mr. Mitty’s heroic appearance doesn’t hurt anyone or have the potential of causing harm in real life, Mathilde’s beauty can turn against her. Once the façade drops, who will admire her? In essence, the two stories, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Necklace” conceal the real selves of their major heroes or idols via appearance. Mr. Mitty uses a range of characters represented in his heroic daydreams, while Madame Loisel conceals her real self by creating an appearance of being a member of the French upper class. Still, the most evident similarity is that both characters put forth appearances of a person in which they can never actually be. Both pieces may be short stories, but there are a few apparent differences in the literary form. James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” were written from what is known in literary theory as the third person limited perspective. Also, it has been said that the stories have been created with the help of the so-called historical/ biographical approach. Specifically, James Thurber is believed to have been a prototype of Mr. Witty when he was in his first marriage, which eventually failed (Fensch, 2001, p. 267). As for Guy de Maupassant, he depicts the life of the French society and existing classes, which he was very familiar with. It appears that the major difference between the literary forms is that Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” is a kind of inversion story, in other words a story, which uses the surprise-inversion technique. This becomes clear in the unexpected ending. A common tool used in both literary styles was irony. For example, in Thurber’s story irony may be traced in clear discrepancies between something Walter wants to be and the person Walter actually is. As for “The Necklace”, irony can be found quite often in the author’s language, which, at times, takes on a more sarcastic tone. More specifically, Madame Loisel is portrayed in an ironical way in the “The Necklace”, particularly at the end. For example, in the following paragraph the irony can be identified rather clearly, “Her tastes were simple because she had never been able to afford any other, but she was as unhappy as though she had married beneath her, for women have no caste or class, their beauty, grace, and charm serving them for birth or family, their natural delicacy, their instinctive elegance, their nimbleness of wit, are their only mark of rank, and put the slum girl on a level with the highest lady in the land.”

(Guy de Maupassant, 2011)

In conclusion, various similarities can be drawn from “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Necklace”. Namely, these are common themes including issues in relationships and gender roles, the common literary form, and use of irony in style. The main characters in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “The Necklace” are unhappy with the roles that they have been placed in. Mr. Mitty partially had the choice of falling into the feminine role while Mathilde was forced into it by the standards of society. Although the stories end in a different way and are set in different time periods with different social structures, they both deal with the issue of escapism, misplaced gender roles in marriage, as well the theme of appearance versus reality. Each character’s form of escapism depicted a life preferred over reality, but while Mr. Mitty’s dream improved his ability to survive the real world, it was actually harmful to Mathilde. Lastly, both stories were created from the perspective of a third person limited and were written with help of the historical/biographical approach.

Bloom, H. (2004) Guy de Maupassant.Infobase Publishing. Fensch, Thomas (2001). The Man Who Was Walter Mitty: The Life and Work of James Thurber. New York: New Century Books. Fusco, R. (2004) Critical Views on “The Necklace”.In H.Bloom (ed.) Guy de Maupassant. Infobase Publishing, pp. 60-64. Heuscher, J. (2003) Psychology, folklore, creativity, and the human dilemma. Charles C Thomas Publisher. Maupassant, Guy de (2011) The Necklace. Shortstories. Retrieved from http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Neck.shtml#3 Napierkowski, M. R (Ed.) (1998) Novels for Students.Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale. Thurber, J. (2011) The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Zoetrope: All-Story. Retrieved fromhttp://www.all-story.com/issues.cgi?action=show_story&story_id=100.


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    Double Check Your Paper for Plagiarism Mistakes With EasyBib® Plus & Improve Your Writing. Make Sure Your Paper is on Point Before you Turn It In. Find and Fix Accidental Plagiarism

  2. Writing the Rough Draft of an Essay

    Over 27,000 video lessons and other resources, you're guaranteed to find what you need. Learn faster. Stay motivated. Study smarter.

  3. Tips for Writing a Powerful Rough Draft

    A rough draft is an initial, incomplete piece of writing that is the first attempt at getting all your ideas on paper. It acts as the framework for the final version. Learn what to include, how to write, and how to edit a rough draft like F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  4. Writing the Rough Draft [Academic Essay Tips]

    A guide to help you write a rough draft for an essay or research paper, with tips on choosing a topic, developing an outline, writing an introduction and conclusion, and polishing your essay. Learn how to start a rough draft with a quote, a problem, or a quote, and how to end it with a thesis statement and a conclusion.

  5. Rough Drafts

    Learn how to write a rough draft for an expository essay, a type of essay that is thesis-based and offers a point-by-point body. Find out the steps to follow, such as planning, drafting, revising and editing, and see an example of a sample rough draft with notes.

  6. How to Write a Rough Draft: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    Section 3: Conclusion, including a summary of your three main points, a restatement of your thesis, and concluding statements or thoughts. 4. Have a thesis statement. If you are creating a rough draft for an academic essay or paper, you should have a thesis statement.

  7. Writing the Rough Draft of an Essay

    A rough draft should include an introduction with an announcement, need statement, and thesis; a body that follows the outline; and a conclusion that ties together the points of the essay and ...

  8. 12.1 Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper

    Learn how to write an effective introduction and conclusion, integrate material from sources, cite information correctly, and avoid plagiarism. This section provides guidelines and examples for writing a research paper based on the structure of a research paper.

  9. The Writing Center

    words. Be specific: Words like things, very, stuff, and interesting are vague. Search for words or sentences in your essay that could be replaced with more specific words. You also may want to add more specific details to strengthen your argument. For example, "Barbies are bad for people" might be revised to "Barbies are harmful to young ...

  10. 8.3 Drafting

    Exercise 1. Using the topic for the essay that you outlined in Section 8.2 "Outlining", describe your purpose and your audience as specifically as you can. Use your own sheet of paper to record your responses. Then keep these responses near you during future stages of the writing process.

  11. College Essay Writing Techniques: How to Write a Rough Draft

    The transfer essay presents new hurdles that differ from those of the standard freshman personal statement. There are three key steps you must take to master the transfer essay. Luckily for you, CEA's Founder and Chief Advisor, Stacey Brook, is here to tell you everything you need to know in order to write a fantastic transfer application essay!

  12. Step 9. Write a Rough Draft

    Write a Rough Draft. Many students hear "rough draft" and they think "final draft." Let me assure you, this is not a good idea. A rough draft is you putting ideas to paper in a semi-logical order that might actually get a D. A rough draft gives you the opportunity to screw up and fix it before you hand in a paper that sucks. Take that opportunity.

  13. Rough Drafts

    Rough Drafts In this section of the Excelsior OWL, you have been learning about traditional structures for expository essays (essays that are thesis-based and offer a point-by-point body), but no matter what type of essay you're writing, the rough draft is going to be an important part of your writing process. It's important to remember ...

  14. Putting Pen to Paper: How to Write a Rough Draft

    There are some things you can do to make sure that you don't have a rough time writing your rough draft. These tips will help make the writing process a bit easier: Write in the active voice. Don't stress out over every word. Just let your ideas spill onto the paper. If you can't think of an appropriate word, just type the first word that ...

  15. How to Write a Rough Draft.

    Begin writing with the part you know the most about. The purpose of a first draft is to get ideas down on paper that can then be revised. Consider beginning with the body paragraphs and drafting the introduction and conclusion later. You can start with the third point in your outline if ideas come easily to mind, or you can start with the first ...

  16. PDF Rough Drafts without Tears: A Guide to a Manageable Procedure for

    improving upon rough drafts. The Procedure About a week before their finished essays are due, students are re-quired to bring three copies of their rough drafts to class. I then col-lect all three copies in three rounds so that I have three sets of papers each containing an essay from each student. I keep one set myself.

  17. Rough Draft: What Is It and How to Write One

    Writing a rough draft is an essential part of the writing process and is an opportunity to write your first ideas and thoughts on paper. It can be challenging to dive directly into a rough draft of an essay or creative work (such as a novel or short story). You need to start by brainstorming your ideas and letting your creative juices flow.

  18. How to Write a Great Essay Draft In College

    Present key essay points in your document. Through thesis and brainstorming, determine major points of an essay. Describe them in a draft, giving each of them a few sentences. In most cases, their number doesn't exceed 5, but it depends on an overall size of your planned work. Leave space for additions.

  19. Rough Draft

    A rough draft is the stage of essay writing that occurs between outlining and essay editing. When composing a rough draft, there are a few best practices including (1) not worrying too much about length, (2) following your outline, (3) taking breaks and (4) welcoming feedback. rough draft essay rough draft. Writing Writing Process.

  20. Rough Draft: Why It's Important and How to Write

    To start your rough draft essay, ask yourself six important questions. Take a new sheet of paper or create a new word document. Write the main story topic at top. Then answer 6 main questions in free-write form: Now reread your answers. Perhaps you answered some questions with several sentences and left some unanswered.

  21. How to Revise: A Step-by-Guide to Revising Your Writing

    Revising gives you a second chance to zoom out and catch mistakes you missed the first time, plus reading a rough draft can reveal some mistakes you hadn't anticipated. No matter which type of essay you're writing, the methods for revising an essay still tend to follow the same guidelines, covered in the next section. Narrative and fiction ...

  22. Rough Draft Essay Example: How to Write an Effective Rough Draft

    The Importance of Rough Drafts in Essay Writing. Rough drafts are an essential step in the process of essay writing. They serve as a sketch or outline of the main ideas that will be developed further in the final draft. Without a rough draft, the writing process can become long and chaotic, making it difficult for the writer to keep track of ...

  23. Rough Draft Essay Example

    I. In my first rough draft essay, I realized from my grade and from my college teacher that my knowledge of commas was limited. A. I had fourteen comma errors in my first rough draft "Prayer in School," including comma splices, introductory subordinate clause mistakes, and compound sentences without commas ("Prayer in. 1283 Words.

  24. Free Rough Draft Essays

    Walter Mitty is described as "a middle-aged, middle-class man who escapes from the routine drudgery of his suburban life into fantasies of heroic conquest" (Napierkowski, 1998). It is daydreaming that takes up a considerable part of Mr. Mitty's life, and with reason.

  25. 12.1: Creating a Rough Draft for a Research Paper

    Apply guidelines for citing sources within the body of the paper and the bibliography. Use primary and secondary research to support ideas. Identify the purposes for which writers use each type of research. At last, you are ready to begin writing the rough draft of your research paper. Putting your thinking and research into words is exciting.