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Drafting, Revising, and Editing


When creating a document such as an essay or a college paper, the writer must ensure that the content is appropriate for the audience, the voice is appropriate for the content, the word choice is effective, transitions are used, the sentences are parallel, proper grammar is used, and the document is formatted properly. Knowing how to draft, revise, and edit can make the task of creating a document easier.


Beginning a paper does not have to be a formal affair. A rough draft is all that is needed. Jotting down topic ideas is an effective beginning. Once an idea is decided upon, the author should consider his or her audience and the purpose of the paper. The audience may or may not know anything about the topic. The purpose of the paper is also an important factor to consider. Is the paper academic, professional, or personal? The writer must use a voice that is appropriate for the audience and for the purpose.

The First Draft

After the preliminary notes, a first draft is constructed with an introduction, thesis statement, body, and conclusion. The first draft does not have to be perfect. It is a work-in-progress. A catchy, interesting introduction will cause the reader to want to read more. The thesis statement will direct the rest of the paper. The writer must include the relevant details of what will be discussed in the paper in this sentence. The body of the paper will follow, using the thesis statement as a guide. The conclusion will sum up the paper.


When revising the first draft, the writer should make sure that the content follows the thesis statement. Each paragraph of the body should support that pivotal sentence. The writer should ask if the content is in a logical sequence. Is the paper well-organized, making it an easy read?

Remove slang and jargon that the reader may not understand. Ensure that the content is coherent and that connections are made between sentences and paragraphs, making them parallel. Transitions should be used when introducing a new paragraph or idea.

Transition words include:

  • also
  • again
  • as a result
  • consequently
  • therefore
  • other than
  • in particular
  • generally
  • for example
  • conversely
  • however
  • nevertheless
  • beyond
  • nearly
  • moreover
  • in other words
  • while
  • in conclusion
  • incidentally
  • above all
  • especially
  • beside
  • except
  • in any case,
  • finally


When editing, the writer must carefully read each word. Word choice is a crucial factor. If needed, the author should use a thesaurus to find just the correct word. Do not use the same words over and over. Mix up sentence styles to give the paper variety. Readers will appreciate the effort. Clichés have no place in academic or professional writing. Finally, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other mechanical issues need to be addressed by the writer. Using grammar checking software is productive and effective. Asking a teacher or other professional to review your paper before submission is also an effective editing tool.

Knowing how to draft, revise, and edit can make the task of creating a document easier. With each successful paper, these jobs become simpler. A writer can become an expert at the stages of paper development, and can experience a genuine satisfaction when he or she produces a quality paper.

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