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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Writing a first draft

Starting to write can be a daunting task, but don’t postpone it. Here are some suggestions on how to get started and how to write your first draft:

  • Don’t wait to start writing until you feel ready – you may never feel ready! If plunging into the whole thing seems too difficult, simply start to compose a few sentences on a part of the topic you feel more comfortable with, using your notes to guide you. Then add another few sentences, and before you know it you will be writing your first draft.
  • You may find it easier to start with a section of your analysis and leave the introduction until later.
  • Do not worry too much about the quality of your writing or analysis at this stage: it is more important to get your ideas down on paper, however rough they are. You can go back and edit/rework later.
  • Put an asterisk or another marker by any details you need to check when you have finished your draft.
  • As you write, check how many words you are creating: if you write 6000 words on a topic which is only a small section of your dissertation plan, you will end up having to cut most of them.
  • Keep your main arguments firmly in mind and don’t go off on tangents. On the other hand, though, if new ideas come to you as you write, consider them carefully and think about whether, and how, you should incorporate them in your overall plan.
  • Make sure that you provide appropriate evidence to back up your claims.
  • Before you send the draft to your supervisor, read it through carefully and edit for style: make sure every point is clearly expressed, that your English is grammatically accurate, and that you have thought carefully about your choice of words and phrases.