In your education thus far, you may have written an assignment, turned it in at the end of class, received a grade for it, and moved on to the next assignment. In Composition class this year, you will take your writing through the entire writing process. You will write, rewrite, edit, and write again before you turn in your assignments. By the time you turn your paper in, you will have been very proud of what you accomplished and turned in for a grade. Below is an overview of each of these steps.
You’re ready to write, but you don't know where to start. This step will get you brainstorming about your topic. What ideas do you want to include?
- Find Your Idea
Your topic will often be given to you, but what specific ideas do you want to talk about? You may take the prompt in any direction you choose.
- Build On Your Idea
Make an idea map; talk it out with a partner; or do some research. Whatever tools you choose, this is the time to add details, make it visual, and get rid of that blank space in front of you!
- Plan and Structure
How will you organize this information? Create an outline to show what each section of your writing will discuss. Do further research, put your ideas into categories, or use Roman Numerals to create details for each idea.
Now you have your plan and you’re ready to start writing. Remember, this is your first rough draft. Forget about word count and grammar. You can think about it as "vomiting" on the paper. Just get the ideas out there. Don't worry about making it perfect at this point. Write in complete sentences, but feel free to make mistakes. This is a ROUGH draft after all.
After you have finished your rough draft
Your writing may change a lot during this stage. Use the ARMS strategy:
- Add sentences and words to make your writing sound better.
- Remove words and sentences that are repeated or don't make sense/match the rest of the piece of writing.
- Move sentences or words to help your writing flow more smoothly.
- Substitute (change out) words or sentences for better words or sentences that provide a clear picture
You and your peers will look at your writing with a closer eye. Use the CUPS strategy to look for these things:
- Capitalization: Capitalize the first word of a sentence, names, places, months, titles, and the prounoun I.
- Usage: Check your subjects and your verbs, and make sure they match. (Example: they are, not they is)
- Punctuation: Use commas, periods, end marks, quotation marks, colons, and semicolons correctly.
- Spelling: Use spell check, but it won't catch everything. Read your writing backwards to focus on each word. Use the dictionary and poster resources to help.
In this stage, you will get your paper ready to turn in. Print a final copy you are proud of, staple the entire writing process together, and turn in your work. Your best and final copy of your writing should go on top.
Now you are finished! But remember, you can always improve what you have written. We just had to choose a place to stop and turn it in for a grade.