‘I think it’s important for tutors to recognise that international students are being asked to carry out a difficult task; the level of English needed to write a Masters dissertation or PhD thesis is advanced.’ Miranda Miller shares students’ concerns; all writers struggle with completing drafts of their work, and professional writers are no exception.
Like Miranda, we discuss drafting and redrafting in my writing-development workshops for undergraduates and postgraduates at the University of Sussex. Students are sometimes surprised when I talk about the number of drafts I write before submitting a piece of writing. There’s the quick first draft to get all the ideas down. The second draft includes a careful check of the structure and flow and then work on the content, filling in missing bits and taking out irrelevant sections. For the third draft, I check all facts and quotations and undertake a careful language check, ensuring terms are used consistently, avoiding repetition of words and deleting ‘padding’ words and phrases that serve no useful purpose.
The final piece
Here are Miranda’s tips for completing a final draft: