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Tips on Writing Second Drafts 

Once you have completed the first or initial draft of your paper or essay, you may think the bulk of your writing work is done. It might be that you have a rest for a few days and forget all about your assignment. While rest is certainly necessary, you should resist the temptation to rush into writing the final version of your paper upon your return. The process of writing is a lot more intricate than this; it requires the writer to create a second draft of their work before moving on to the final version. It can help to think of a second draft as a fuller and improved version of your first draft, and its primary aim is to pick up on anything you previously overlooked. 

The Steps Involved in Writing a Second Draft

  1. You should begin by rereading the first draft you wrote but do this quite slowly. You should pay attention to how you have expressed your main ideas or points and how your thesis fits with the rest of the paper. You should also look carefully at the technical aspects such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
  2. If you left any empty spaces while you were working on your earlier draft, fill these in. If you made any notes in the margins, take whatever action is necessary e.g. develop more content, etc. Essentially, in this round you should make sure everything is succinctly stated, clutter is cleaned up, all sentences are complete, and underdeveloped ideas are fully expanded on.  
  3. Look carefully at how your arguments are ordered and organized and check that these mesh well together. This indicates your essay should flow smoothly from point to point in a manner that is convincing. During this stage, there may be some main points or structural issues that need changing.
  4. Carefully analyze each of your arguments and decide if you have provided sufficient evidence and if your arguments suit the topic. Put another way, ask yourself if you think your arguments match your thesis and properly develop its main idea or concept. Make sure you also cover different perspectives.
  5. Pay particular attention to your introductory and concluding paragraphs. Try to devise a number of catchy phrases that will get the attention of your readers and lead logically to your thesis statement. You additionally need to think about how best to sum-up your main arguments and your thesis statement in your concluding paragraph.

Main Points for Consideration

A second draft is often easier to write since most of the material is already on paper. Therefore, this round has more to do with trimming than writing fresh content. It may be, however, that you would like to experiment by writing your second draft afresh using the content from your first draft. Second drafts are really the point where you begin adding specific information and detail. Hence, you may need to undertake further research at this stage to make your arguments more convincing or to verify existing data. Readers will easily spot poorly supported arguments so make sure all the information you include is reliable and credible. It is not possible to cram everything into one round of writing. In the event you have written down a number of good ideas on the same argument or issue in your notes, you will need to select just one. This will ensure the arguments in your paper are well pinpointed and precise. You can begin attending to writing style, grammar, punctuation, and the technical aspects in your second draft.

Dos and Don’ts

What You Should Do

  • Pay special attention to how your essay is organized and to your arguments. All information should flow in a logical manner and your essay should have enough supporting evidence.
  • Use transitions between paragraphs and show how each paragraph links to the thesis statement.
  • Add extra detail if required. Find any fact-based information that is likely to add vividness to your writing.
  • Reorganize arguments and rearrange any aspects of the structure that will add value to subsequent drafts or the final version.
  • Leave out any information or arguments that you feel are not credible and add better ones.

What You Should Not Do

  •  Do not overlook the need to provide other perspectives on your topic. Show that you understand any potential opposition to your argument or opinion, and that are ready to counteract these.
  • Do not feel the introductory and concluding paragraphs can be left out or postponed until you reach the final version. These should be comprehensively written.
  • Do not let the prospect of writing a second draft distress you. This version is usually easier than the initial version since the key points are already written down. Your aim now is to properly organize these and do a little trimming. 

Frequent Mistakes in Writing Second Drafts 

  1. Moving straight to the second draft as soon as the first is completed. While you might be keen to get everything finished as quickly as you can, the truth is that it is difficult to think clearly if your head is already full.
  2. Including several arguments in each paragraph in a bid to get all ideas into a single paper. This will not improve your written work because your arguments must be well supported if they are to be convincing. Additionally, because there is usually a word limit on essays, you will hardly be able to adequately support every argument you would like to make. So, select only the most important one.
  3. Not remembering to revise the thesis statement you originally wrote. It may need to be reworked or completely changed to match your paper’s arguments. 

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