A final draft is a piece of writing that will be handed in as your best work. Students should treat crafting a final draft as a task of increased importance, because it is their last chance to enhance their paper and correct any flaws.
Steps for Crafting the Final Draft of an Essay
- Take a break after writing your second draft. You will have to revise your second draft at least three more times until it is put in order—have a rest before starting the final copy of your paper.
- Do a spellcheck of your second draft. You should revise your paper in terms of misspelled words, typos, and accidental word repetitions; you could also perform a punctuation check at this interval.
- Do a grammar check. It is a process that requires extreme caution, because grammatical mistakes may be far less obvious than spelling errors. This check implies correcting faulty parallelisms, problems with noun-verb agreement, dangling participles, improper usage of passive voice, and so on.
- After you’ve checked the language of your paper, it is time to pay attention to its technical aspects. This includes the formatting style, your reference list, in-text citations, and the title page. Make sure all of these correspond with the requirements of your teacher or the publication you are submitting your essay to.
- Revise the whole piece of writing once again. Since it is the last time you will read through it with an intention to make corrections, be extra-attentive and check every little detail in the text. Evaluate the structure of your essay, the way your arguments are organized, and the credibility of these arguments. Check for poor or non-existent transitions between paragraphs, pay attention to grammar, stylistics, syntax, and punctuation.
Key Points to Consider
- Reading your final draft aloud will grant you an opportunity to take a fresh look at what you have written. Weaknesses in writing are usually easier to notice when heard.
- Your paper should be written in your own words, except abstracts where you are using citations. It is always better to show your own understanding of an issue, even if it is incorrect, than to frame your ideas in another author’s words. A final draft is your last chance to exclude any possible signs of plagiarism from your paper.
- Using a computer for proofreading is a sound idea, since text processing software often has a function of automatic spelling and grammar checking. However, proofreading on your own once again after the computer check is still recommended to avoid mistakes a computer may not have found.
Do and Don’t
Common Mistakes When Crafting the Final Draft of an Essay
– Incomplete references. Students often tend to hurry when crafting the final draft to finally finish the writing process, and forget about the proper formatting of in-text citations and sources in the reference list.
– Forgetting to spell out abbreviations. You should provide a complete transcript of a certain term or name before using an abbreviation for it.
– Not explaining the meaning of uncommon words. Students use a term with a specific meaning, but forget to specify it; spell-checkers may not flag the term, and neither will these students pay attention to it while proofreading since it may have been spelled correctly.
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The Final Draft
You've long since finished your first draft and the rewriting process is complete. Now, it's time to work on the final draft of your writing project.
Truly, working on the final draft is an exciting time for any author. Like a marathon runner, the end of the race is nearing and you know that all your hard work is going to pay off soon.
At this point, your article, novel, short story, or essay's elements are intact, but you need to make the last adjustments to your piece. Below, we'll examine a few of the ways you can add polish before turning in your document to your editor, supervisor, or publisher.
Spell CheckNothing detracts from a manuscript more than a misspelled word. Too many writers rely solely on their computer software to "catch" spelling errors; however, nothing beats the human eye. (Keep a dictionary handy!)
Similarly, make sure that any individual or company names are spelled correctly. Sources will not be pleased if their names or the names of their organisations are wrong.
GrammarAt this point in your writing process, grammatical mistakes should be few, but that's no reason to assume that they couldn't possibly occur. Examine your sentence structure throughout the document and make adjustments where necessary.
Word CountIf you are expected to turn in an 800-word article and you currently have 1,400 words, you need to use the final draft process as a time to remove any extraneous materials. Though you may be hesitant to delete sections of your piece, it's better to do it yourself than to have an editor put your work aside because it didn't match his or her needs. (If you truly cannot bring yourself to make deletions, give your editor a call and find out if a longer article would fit his or her needs.)
Fact CheckingIf your essay includes sources, websites, or quotes, you will want to make sure they are accurate before handing in your assignment. Though most magazines and newspapers have fact checkers on staff, do it yourself first. After all, your name will be on the article; would you want it to be associated with something less than accurate?
Source InformationSome editors will request that all source information (for fact checking purposes) be included when you hand in your final draft. Make sure you provide your editor with any data, including website addresses, telephone numbers, and book titles.
Style CheckThe style you should use will differ depending on the publication for which you're writing and the type of product you're submitting. If you're not familiar with the various styles, it's worth it to purchase a book to ensure that your document follows the requested format and isn't rejected on a technicality.
FlowGive your document the once-over to ensure that it flows from beginning to end. If you feel too "close" to do so, ask a trusted friend or colleague to read it as a favour to you. At this point, it should be tight; if it's not, go back and make adjustments where necessary.
After your final draft has been cleaned, sanded, and freshly lacquered, it's time for the moment of truth. Print it out, attach it to an email, or fax it. Breathe a sigh of relief, get a cup of coffee or tea, and start working on your next assignment.
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