How To Write a Rough Draft

The rough draft is often associated to writing an academic paper such as book report, a term paper, or a thesis. However, it can be used by writers when trying to pen a novel, a short story, or a screenplay. As it connotes, it is a draft, a rough one where you will pen your first version of your manuscript or paper. From this rough draft, you can make corrections, reductions, omissions, and reconstructions. The rough draft is also a way to organize your thoughts before you transfer it into production.

Writing a rough draft, for whatever purpose, does not require masterful skills in writing. Remember, the rough draft is really a piece of scratch paper where you will organize what you plan to put in the final product. Do not mistake the rough draft as an outline. An outline is a general guide on how to construct a paper or story. The rough draft is actually a crude version of the paper or story you want to write. Here are some tips on how to accomplish your first rough draft.

  • Prepare an outline. Technically, you can go on ahead with your rough draft without an outline to guide you. The only problem with that set up is that you can easily get confused without an outline to base your writing upon. The outline will allow you to break down your paper into sections, which will allow you to write rough drafts of your paper in sections. If you think about it, it is an easier way to work it out, right?
  • Don’t worry about the flow. As mentioned above, the first version of your rough draft can be done in portions or sections. This will make it easier for you to organize the elements in each section. Now, you may argue that doing it this way will hinder the overall flow of your work. Well, that may be true but you should not concern yourself with for now as you can always work on connecting each section to form a fluid paper or story later on.
  • Don’t be stingy on paper. The purpose of the rough draft is to write every single thing that pops up in your head. Hence, you should never feel the need to limit what you write just because you think that it may become too long or that you do not have enough paper. The rough draft is just the beginning. If you think your paper is too long, you can always reduce the contents to the more critical ones later on in future versions.

As you complete your first rough draft, give it a read. Add notes to the errors you see, whether you want to omit or alter them. You can be as messy as you want with your rough draft as you will use it later on to make your second, third, or final draft. It is highly recommended to have someone else read your draft to get a fresher perspective as well. Remember, any constructive criticism will only improve your final product.


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