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The Writing Process: How to Draft Ideas Into Stories

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Oct 2, 2020 • 3 min read

Whether you’re a veteran novelist, first-time essayist, or a professional writer about to tackle another research paper, there are many stages of the writing process each writer goes through on their way to a final draft. Every writer has their own personal strategy to approaching their writing projects, but one thing almost all of them have in common is that they start out with a first draft.



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What Is Drafting?

Sometimes considered the second step of the writing process, when you craft the initial sentences that clearly express your concept or ideas. The drafting stage of the writing process comes after you’ve outlined your thesis and are ready to structure them into the paragraphs that form your rough draft. Some writers will forgo the outline writing stage, needing only the big picture in their mind to get a first draft down in as short amount of time as possible. It’s up to the writer to decide how much planning is necessary to take them from their first paragraph to their final product.

What Role Does Drafting Play in the Writing Process?

Drafting is the second stage of the writing process, where you turn your outlined ideas into the first draft of your story or essay. These outlined ideas are formed during the prewriting stage, which is the first step in a standard writing process, and it involves generating ideas, general organizing, and outlining.

5 Drafting Tips to Help Your Writing Improve

All writers follow different writing strategies. If you want to start drafting your own piece of writing, read some of the tips below:

  1. Start with freewriting. In freewriting, the writer follows the impulses of their own mind, allowing thoughts and inspiration to appear to them without premeditation. This writing strategy lets ideas flow and helps brainstorm concepts to figure out what will be the crux of your piece early on in the process of writing. This prewriting process helps you center your focus when you’re drafting your body paragraphs so you don’t get lost in digression, meander around information, or succumb to writer’s block.
  2. Structure your information. For example, if you’re writing a personal essay, find your thesis statement before you begin your introductory paragraph. Solidifying your point of view gives you an avenue to narratively work your way down, figuring out which pieces will go where. Logically connect your paragraphs and integrate whatever information you think will be necessary (you can always revise later).
  3. Elaborate on ideas. Flesh out the meat of your essay or story, supplementing the topic sentences of each body paragraph with research pertinent information. Fill in any gaps left behind by your outline (if applicable), and ensure your working thesis is conveyed properly by the text provided.
  4. Write a complete draft. Drafting is where a writer should attempt to get a whole first version of their piece down before any revising or editing is done. The drafting process shouldn’t take too long—the idea is to quickly put down and organize your ideas from start to finish—which is not only good for time, but for the writing process as well. Having an ending will give you something to work towards, allow you to view the big picture of your piece, and see if it is as impactful as intended. The ending can also help keep you focused and motivated (even if it’s not the exact conclusion you use in your final draft).
  5. Ignore the urge to proofread. Proofreading is one of the final writing steps you should take for your own writing. Perfect spelling and sentence structure aren’t necessary while drafting, just organizing and detailing the information for your intended audience—worry about page or word count during the second or third drafts.
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