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Writing Rough Drafts

Posted by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 2:08 PM
  • 13 Replies

 Can I ask a favor of all of you?
My daughter is really going through the writing process this year. We've gone over how to write a letter of invitation, then she wrote a rough draft, we went through the edit and revision process, and then she "published" her letter. Last week and this week it has been learning how to write Humor and norrowing on a topic. She wrote her rough draft, and today we've reached the edit and revision process again.
The edit process goes down like this:
She gets a bunch of highlighters and a red pencil. She goes through her paper and looks at every word individually and checks for spelling errors. If she is unsure, she pulls out the dictionary to look it up. Then she goes through it again and makes sure she's not repeating the same word (like said) over and over again. If she needs to, she pulls out her thesaurus, and finds "stronger words."
Then she reads it out loud to hear how her sentences flow, and checks to make sure she has all words that should be capitalized are, and that all punctuation is present. She reads it one more time all the way through, and only stopping to make content changes (like if she doesn't like how a part sounds and wants to tweak it, or has realized an important piece of information is missing so she jots a note down, etc). 
I do not under any circumstance expect this to be perfect and I am right there to help her. She is only in 4th grade, and I know it can be hard - heck it can be hard for me to edit my own stuff! After she goes through it, I do a final look through and add in a few suggestions, usually with the piece's flow. She tends to have so many though proccesses happening at once it can get confusing, and I help try and clear it up...
It is at that point that she goes into melt down mode, and feels like her entire piece if worthless and everything she does is wrong. Typically at this point, her rough draft is marked up quite a bit. It seems to not matter how many times I tell her its a rough draft and it is going to look sloppy (which is why we tend to call it the sloppy copy), and thats why we write out a second copy before a final copy. Sometimes there are so many notes on the first draft that we miss some on the second. Still, it ends in tears, and frustration.
I want her to know, aside from me, and Hubby, that we're not crazy, and that the rough draft is ROUGH and SLOPPY and NOT PERFECT, and that is perfectly acceptable, and that sometimes ideas even change.

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by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 2:08 PM
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Replies (1-10):
oredeb
by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM
1 mom liked this

 yes rough drafts are for correcting and marking on!!! i use colored pens, makes it look funner!hahahahaha

oredeb
by on Sep. 30, 2013 at 7:12 PM

 oh yea what was the favor you are asking???

No_Difference
by Silver Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 8:05 PM

 O jeeze, sorry, I totally forgot to put that part in didn't I?! lol It was a crazy day...
I want her to be able to read other people's comments about how a rough draft should be. So she's not so hell bent on them having to be "perfect" and not sloppy. Her melt down today about how messy her paper got lasted hours because she didn't believe me the rough draft isn't ever "perfect"
She's the type of child who has to hear certain things from someone else besides family before she'll believe it.... and this is apparently one of those things...

Quoting oredeb:

 oh yea what was the favor you are asking???

 

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kmath
by Silver Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 8:29 PM
2 moms liked this

Rough drafts are just that "rough", they are usually full of mistakes and need to be fixed.  I don't know very many people who can write a perfect paper the first time.  You write up the draft first so you can fix it up and make the final copy look good. 

KrissyKC
by Silver Member on Sep. 30, 2013 at 8:37 PM
1 mom liked this

Tell her that my 11 yr old had a simple paragraph to write, and I asked her for a second copy... when that was still full of errors and sloppy, I had her write another... and then another.

Finally, the fourth one was beautiful and we mounted it on construction paper and she added drawings and designs to it.

She was really frustrated, too, with writing it again and again and trying to get it to look nice and not sloppy. 

However, the finished product is beautiful!

PurpleCupcake
by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 7:41 AM
1 mom liked this

Are you following the writing process? If the writing process is followed, you can cut out a lot of mistakes before the rough draft.

Pre writings (brainstorming, free writing, brainstorming webs)

Planing (ordering the ideas, how those ideas will fit into the writing)

Writing ( start writing, free writing, but use the first 2 steps as your guide. Don't worry about word choices or mistakes,) at this stage, several drafts may be written.

Revising (this is the place to really focus in what ideas you are using and starting the "official" rough draft. (A, R, R, R). Adding, rearranging, removing, replacing)

Editing - this is the stage were you focus on words, sentence structue, word choices and spelling.

Publishing- creating the final paper. 


If you follow all the steps, your rough draft is near the end of the process and a majority of mistakes can be removed before the "official rough draft". 

If you skip or don't spend enough time on the earlier steps then that leaves all of the editing in later stages which can be disheartening. 


SusanTheWriter
by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM
3 moms liked this

Tell her that a real live writer said, First drafts are crap. (or garbage or whatever word you want to use. *gg*)

It's the job of a rough draft to be messy and wrong in places and kind of awful. They're supposed to look like a monkey wrote them. They're supposed to end up all different colors and marked up.

If your rough draft is perfect, it doesn't mean the paper is perfect. It means it's boring. You didn't bother to put any effort into it or say anything real. And that means it's REAL garbage and you should wad it up and throw it away, then start again completely from scratch.

So what does it mean after your paper is all marked up?

GOOD WRITING IS RE-WRITING. Ask any author. Every single person who has a book on a shelf somewhere will tell you that the first draft they wrote of their best story was an absolute mess. They did the same thing you're doing with the colored pens and scribbling in the margin.

I'm doing it with the story I'm writing. I know that whatever ends up on the page today will not be what ends up in the finished story. And it's ok because I know I have to write out everything - including the bad, awkward, poorly written bits - to get to the good stuff in the end.

So give yourself permission to write a messy first draft and find the courage and strength to turn it into something amazing.

Now go write crap!

good

No_Difference
by Silver Member on Oct. 1, 2013 at 9:26 AM

 Yup we follow the writing process. Not quite like that, but we do a pre-writing ativity (this week it was the incredible chrinking machine to focus on narrowing down a topic), then we have a "model and teach" where I write and am prompting her with questions to help get some details. This is also just a little off shoot story that doesn't take very long, and we discus how we went about writing it. Then we do another activity to help get ideas for what she is actually going to be writing about (this week was a funny situations activity since she's writing a humor story). Then we go into brainstorming, and I give her a graphic organizer that she can fill stuff in to keep her focused. Then we start with the rough draft, or we make a character poster and then the rough draft.
Her biggest problem in her rough drafts is as focused we make the brainstorms, she will go off topic while writing, or decide she wants to take it in a differnt direction mid story. Then the spelling errors come in. She can spell the majority of her words fine with letter tiles and out loud, just NOT on paper. That is where her biggest melt downs come from too.

Quoting PurpleCupcake:

Are you following the writing process? If the writing process is followed, you can cut out a lot of mistakes before the rough draft.

Pre writings (brainstorming, free writing, brainstorming webs)

Planing (ordering the ideas, how those ideas will fit into the writing)

Writing ( start writing, free writing, but use the first 2 steps as your guide. Don't worry about word choices or mistakes,) at this stage, several drafts may be written.

Revising (this is the place to really focus in what ideas you are using and starting the "official" rough draft. (A, R, R, R). Adding, rearranging, removing, replacing)

Editing - this is the stage were you focus on words, sentence structue, word choices and spelling.

Publishing- creating the final paper. 


If you follow all the steps, your rough draft is near the end of the process and a majority of mistakes can be removed before the "official rough draft". 

If you skip or don't spend enough time on the earlier steps then that leaves all of the editing in later stages which can be disheartening. 


 

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JerrysMom2011
by on Oct. 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

Yep rough drafts are supposed to messy and "rough" lots of mistakes etc. I am going through this process with my teen right now he has an essay due on the Roman gods. A rough draft is used for putting together your thoughts and ideas you used to brainstorm. If you paid too much attention to spelling, grammar etc, that means you cant put 100% into your creative flow. 

Use the rough draft to be creative, use the final copy to be formal. If necessary sometimes do another rough draft to make sure its the way you want it!

No_Difference
by Silver Member on Oct. 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM

 THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!  I appreciate it greatly!

She's not feeling as bad about her first draft anymore, and is actually now excited to revise her second draft, and is emotionally ready for a potential third. She honestly had believed that I was just trying to be nice and tell her that it was okay that her rough draft was messy lol.

Thank you again :)

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