One Draft, Two Draft; Old Draft, New Draft
How to Effectively Write an Essay
Normal people hate it, and I say "normal people" because I've only met one person in my entire life who actually liked editing rough drafts for other people. She was kind-of out there.
Don't get me wrong, there are some perks to editing drafts. On the one hand, you get to learn from your mistakes. But in my experience, I just end up making new ones in the process.
I am currently a student, and when this year is done, I will have taken three English classes in a single year. A common form of writing that we did in those classes were essays (don't you love composition classes?). So students from grades six and up, this one is for you . . .
I am going to give you some of my methods to editing an English essay, but stick around until the very end because I am going to introduce you to an editor's best friend (hey, I just made a rhyme).
These methods can generally be used for any form of an essay (research, critique, personal), but do keep in mind that your instructor might have specific layouts that they expect from their students.
Method #1: Simple Outlining
This one might seem like a given, but a lot of writers look over this step because it seems too mundane. Don't be an overachiever, and make the work easier for yourself in the long run. The standard 5-paragraph format that I use is the following:
(Odds are your teacher, depending on the type of assignment, will ask you to include more than three solid-body paragraphs, so make sure you follow their guidelines as well.)
Method #2: Making the First Draft
Have you ever thought about why they call it a "rough draft?" Well, because it's meant to be rough, and I do mean ROUGH. This is obviously not the draft that you will be turning in for a grade, so don't sweat the small stuff. Get all your ideas down, and worry about the grammatical errors later. Make sure all of your key points are set up in the order that you want them, and any potential evidence you might need to back your claim (quotes, statistics, paraphrases). Once you have all of these in order, your first draft is set for the real work to begin.
(Optional) Method #3: The Second Draft
Some teachers do not require that you make a second draft of your assignment, though it would be in your best benefit to make one, even if it isn't so far off from the first draft. This is the draft you use to fix all of your grammatical errors like commas, quotations, citations (which are extremely important), and run-on sentences. Also, as you read through your paper, keep an eye out for words used too often. I would suggest highlighting words you find yourself using more than twice, and using a thesaurus to replace them with synonyms. This will add to the maturity of your paper, and help to make it sound a bit more sophisticated.
Method #4: Grammarly
This is the part when I introduce a great tool of mine that was introduced to me by a friend. It's called Grammarly, and odds are you have heard of it or are already using it. It is a site that offers a free general review of all sorts of writing, and it catches all grammatical errors. Even though you have to pay monthly for special editing tools, the free version is more than enough to top off your paper with grammatical excellence. It's the perfect tool to make sure that your paper meets and even exceeds expectations.
Hopefully, this was either a refresher of editing tips, or you were able to learn some new ones. Again, keep in mind that not all teachers think alike, and each has their own requirements list.