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Steps in the Writing Process Writing is a long, complex process. The following information explains the steps in that process. Different writers use different strategies; ultimately, you will have to experiment and decide which techniques work best for you. 1. Determine your purpose.   If are writing an expository essay, your purpose is to explain your subject to your audience. If you are writing a persuasive essay, your purpose is to persuade your audience to accept or to act on your beliefs.

2. Determine your audience. Ask yourself     Am I writing for a general audience? If so, I will likely have to provide more background information and avoid technical terms or jargon. Am I writing as a specialist for other specialists? If so, my readers will be familiar with the subject, and I will be able to present more complex material and use specialized language. If I am writing a persuasive paper, what is my reader’s attitude toward my subject? [For most academic papers, assume that you are writing for a neutral audience.] Am I writing a literary analysis? If so, my reader already knows the plot/content of the story/novel/play/poem. My reader wants to know my interpretation of one or more elements of the work.

3. If you already know a great deal about your subject, you may be able to think of a thesis (main point) for the paper and to write a preliminary draft. 4. If you have not yet decided on your focus, generate material for the paper. Try more or more of the following techniques:  Brainstorm by putting the subject in the middle of the page and then surrounding it with whatever ideas, examples, questions, feelings, and so on come to mind. Ask questions. You can ask the journalists five w’s and an h or questions based on the methods of developing essays. For examples, see the handout “Generating Ideas by Asking Questions.” Freewrite on your subject for ten minutes without stopping to edit ideas, organization, or writing style.

Try to let several days elapse between completing a decent version of the paper and working on your final major revisions. [For additional information. (At this stage the thesis is tentative because you may need to revise/rethink it as you work through various drafts of the essay. as in the following example: Forms of Nonverbal Communication gestures facial expressions posture tone of voice Decide how to organize the material.) In an expository paper. [For more information. It’s easier if you know your thesis before you begin the research. 6. If you’re writing a research paper. 9. try generating additional material. as in. “Without speaking a word. see the handouts “Generating Ideas for an Essay by Asking Questions” and “Methods of Organizing Essays. which is admittedly a laborious process. Look over the ideas you have generated and try to determine the main point you want to make about your subject. 7. we can communicate thoughts and feelings through a variety of gestures. conduct research to add to your store of ideas. Start to work on your first draft in either one sitting or in sections as time allows. margins. This main point is your tentative thesis. [For more detail. if you are writing a classification essay. Choose the primary method you will use to develop your essay. and/or evaluation to support your opinion.”] 10. write a sentence that can serve as the topic sentence for each category. spacing. but you will still use one primary method to develop the paper. but if you don’t know much about the subject. use reasons. see the handout “Methods of Organizing Essays. In a persuasive paper. For instance. To develop a persuasive paper. Revise the paper as many times as needed. If possible.”] 8. Some writers revise as they write.”] You may find as you write and revise various drafts of the essay that you will incorporate other methods of development to clarify one or more important details. The primary methods of developing expository essays are definition. the thesis is the argument you want your reader to accept. group related types/examples under one category. Proofread your final version of the essay for errors such as typos or problems with format (font size. Your categories will depend on the method of development. and so on). the thesis is the overall point about what your subject means. Other writers compose a complete draft and then revise subsequent drafts. classification/division.5.”] . Look over your ideas and group related information into categories. and comparison/contrast. If you haven’t found the thesis yet. process or systems analysis. see the handout “Strategies for Proofreading an Essay. examples.” [For additional information. you’ll have to do the research first and develop a thesis after thoughtful consideration of what you’ve read. perhaps even by writing a first draft and seeing what ideas emerge. see the handout “Strategies for Revising Essays. causes and/or effects.