Chapter 2: The Second Draft


In Chapter 1: The First Draft you learned the definition of revision plan. Remember that a revision plan is simply a detailed outline of how you will revise parts of a previous essay you have written throughout the course of the semester.

Establishing a clear direction for your paper is important because it allows you to create a functional thesis, develop body paragraphs and supporting evidence that serve the purpose you intend, and manage your analysis. Without a solid plan, it is impossible to prove that you developed a sound paper that responded to the essay prompt fully. You should be able to use the essay prompt as a post-writing evaluation checklist against your finished paper. If your teacher wants you to write about two literary works and include at least two characters from each work as well as three examples, then you must use the prompt to check it against your paper when it is in its final form. In other words, your final paper should represent a reflection of the instruction.

Teaching this type of revision practice, where you ensure that the final paper (draft) is complete, is not a standard practice in many classrooms. English instructors and professors alike teach that the process of revising the academic essay involves proofreading grammar, editing the thesis, correcting cited sources, reviewing quotes, and changing any sentence that doesn’t reflect the topic.

Rarely do we see instructors teach “applying margin comments” as an important tool for helping students revise their papers. We also don’t see professors teaching what publishing industry professionals call “developmental editing,” which involves rearranging content to ensure it flows logically, rewriting sections for clarity, and ensuring that information as presented structurally is cohesive.

Developmental editing is the process of rearranging, rewriting, and restructuring content for clarity and effectiveness.

In the previous chapter, you learned particularly how to construct a thesis that is clear of ambiguity; identify the differences between assumptions, facts, and beliefs; determine if your idea and the thesis you use is appropriate for every example; refine your audience; clarify statements; and remove confusing, contradictory language. In this chapter, you will learn how necessary the second draft is to refining your revision plan.

Chapter 2: The Second Draft is an in-depth exploration of the introduction, thesis, topic sentences, supporting evidence, quotes, plot summary, transitions, and conclusion parts of your paper. While Chapter 9 represents the longest comment, Chapter 2 is the longest chapter of the book. One or more margin comments fall under these headings.

In addition, in Chapter 2, we use comments to teach you how to make your points connect, develop follow-up sentences after inserting a quote, improve transitions, remove plot summary, define terms and use of wording, correct plagiarized sections, and incorporate quotes grammatically. This chapter includes discussions related to organizational problems at the second draft level and teaches you how to revise for continuity, coherence, and chronology.

The purpose of Chapter 2 is to highlight those areas of the second draft that require in-depth evaluation. A key feature of this chapter is it makes use of subheadings that refer to parts of the academic essay.

The comment titles below fall under the first draft. Click on any one of the links to access content.

A. Essay Section: Introduction

Good Opening

Much Better

B. Essay Section: Thesis

Makes No Sense
Not a Clear Distinction

C. Essay Section: Topic Sentences

Be Specific
Better/Much Better
Big Improvement
Brilliantly Done

D. Essay Section: Supporting Evidence

1. Examples

Can You Elaborate More on That
Good Example(s)
Good Material
Lacks Clarity
Lacks a Clear Argument
Lacks Chronology
Lacks Clear Continuity; Lacks Coherence
Lacks Coherence
Lacks Cohesion
Lacks Connection; Lacks Connection Between Ideas
Lacks Integration of Readings; Lacks Unity
Lacks Organization
Lacks Supporting Evidence
Lacks Unity
Logic and Articulation
No/No, Not Exactly; Maybe; Perhaps; Negative Sign (-)
Not Clearly Expressed
Provide Examples


Cite a Source/Plagiarism
Don’t Quote Without Context
Explicate the Quote
Explain Why This is Significant
Good Use of Quote
Introduce the Quote
Misquoting the Evidence
Not a Theme In
Overdependence on Quotes
Too Close to the Original

3. Analysis vs. Plot Summary

Analyze Rather Than Summarize
Analyze This
Avoid Plot Summary
Not Entirely
Not Persuasive
Not Sure What You Mean Here
Off the Subject
O.K. (Okay)
On the Right Path
Plot Summary
Prove It!

4. Transitions

Follow-Up/Follow-Through (Good/Perfect)
Good Job
Good Observation
Good Point
Good Point/Clearly Stated
Good Timing
Nice/Nicely Done
Not Clear
Points Don’t Connect
Very Nicely Done

E. Essay Section: Conclusion 

What’s the Connection?

Copyright 2011 Regina Y. Favors. All Rights Reserved.

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