e2.d1: A draft

I was surprised to realize, in looking back over the materials for this course so far, that I had not written out my expectations for your first draft of your first essay. Let me correct that omission as you begin drafting your second essay.

A draft is an open and approximate version of the piece you want to write. It is not simply a set of notes, or an intro, or outline, or ideas toward an essay . . . Rather, it is an attempt to write the actual thing, the essay itself, even while knowing that you are not yet quite in a position to write that thing, that you still have more work to do.

An analogy might be to a sketch or study that an artist makes of a painting, or a demo that a musician makes of a song. The attempt in each case  is to offer a sense of what the final version might look or sound like—even if all the details haven’t been worked out or filled in, and even if key parts of the piece are still open to change. I’m hesitant to use the metaphor of a rough draft, since that can suggest something hastily or sloppily done, but in a sense that is what you want to do—to rough out your essay, put together an approximate version of it as a whole, so that you can then later go back to reshape, develop, and refine it.

So that’s what I want you to try to do for next week—to create a first, working version of your essay, something that gets at what you think you want to say, but that is still open to change and revision.

I expect the final version of your second essay to run around 2,000  words. So this draft should be at least 1,500 or so. You don’t need to fuss citations yet, but you will be sharing this document—so edit your sentences for clarity and proofread them for correctness. Come up with a good working title for your essay, and name your document lastname e2.d1.docx. Post it to your Group Dropbox folder by Tues, 4/15, at 10:00 am.

Good luck!


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