To produce any type of text or paper, you need to undergo a writing process, in which prewriting is the first step. For improving your writing skills, you need to explore and develop ideas and plan to have them take a shape and achieve your goal of writing.
What Is Prewriting?
Prewriting is the primary stage when you start your preparation for writing and it includes generating ideas, organizing them and planning your writing. Prewriting initiates thinking, which helps you write better and save time.
Effective Prewriting Strategies
Writers generally create outlines before they begin, and this leads to creative writing. For this reason, there are several prewriting strategies, and you can use any of them for any types of writing to develop and organize your ideas before drafting and revising.
Listing is one of the most common prewriting strategies, and it involves developing a lot of ideas, which includes some broad ideas and adding points to connect these ideas for more details. Listing goes well with visual, reading and writing and kinesthetic learning styles.
How Do You Do It? Writers use the listing strategy to brainstorm and generate ideas on a particular topic they have chosen. In a college or university, students use this method when they work as a team. To start with, you have to write down all the possible words or phrases that are connected with the topic. In a team, one student can be a scribe, while others generate ideas. You should write down everything that comes across, without worrying about their relevancy or suitability. Once you have the ideas, group them into manageable sections, and check if they are thematically related.
After that, label each group to narrow down the topic, and write a sentence related to the ideas under each label to create a thesis statement or topic sentence.
With this prewriting strategy, you determine a time and begin writing non-stop all your ideas on the topic. Freewriting helps you focus on a particular topic and develop a lot of information connected to it. However, you will not find time to check and edit your ideas for you are prompted to write quickly in freewriting.
How to Do It? You can begin by writing freely on a specific topic for 5 or 10 minutes nonstop. If you find it difficult to write as nothing comes to your mind, you should still continue writing forcing yourself to think something about the topic and write. When writing ignore any grammar or vocabulary errors for it is more important that you generate ideas.
Once you have done with freewriting, review it and highlight all the important points that are more relevant to the topic. You can continue doing it again until you have several related ideas that help you achieve your writing goal.
With clustering, you can probe the relationships between ideas. Clustering is also called thought mapping or mind mapping.
How to Do It? You can write the subject or topic on a page (preferably in the center). This being the central idea, you can think and generate ideas related to it and write them around it. Use geometrical forms like a circle to highlight the ideas and a line to connect the main topic with supporting points. For instance, you have your main idea in the center and other ideas surrounding it circled. Then, connect each circled sub ideas to the main idea using a line to create a web.
Once done, you can locate the cluster of ideas that can ideally fit together in the topic and use them in a different way in your paper. Clustering or mind mapping helps decide the relationships between ideas and helps prewriting. This visual prewriting process also assists you in identifying any gaps in your knowledge, which you can research and fill them later.
If you want to generate ideas quickly, you need to ask questions, especially the 5 ‘Wh’ words such as ‘What, Where, Who, Why and When’ and 1 ‘H’ word, ‘How’. Asking questions using these words will help you explore the topic and find specific details about it. In case you are working as a team, you can ask each member to find answers to one wh-question. Nevertheless, you should make the questions flexible to have enough details on the subject and improve your writing.
Avoiding Plagiarism During Prewriting and Drafting
Students who use prewriting strategies can research to develop their ideas further. When they use points or facts from the original source, they should be careful enough not to have plagiarized content for it will be picked by the anti-plagiarism software. There are several ways of causing duplicate content, and they are through:
- Direct plagiarism, where you have a sentence structure in a paragraph copied word for word, without quotation marks.
- Improper paraphrasing, which is caused by copying from the original source and changing only a few words.
- Not citing the source appropriately and using the text as your own.
You can avoid the above in your written communication using an online plagiarism checker, which shows the plagiarism detected text to revise or improve. Wherever you need citations, provide quotation marks and appropriate credit to the original source. When paraphrasing, strong word choice is critical to writing research papers, essays, cover letters, and so on. With a plagiarism scanner you can run a plagiarism test and ensure your writing is unique. A prewriting task may ask for reading and taking notes to develop ideas. Choose relevant information and group them by main ideas to find connections with the topic. When taking notes, do not forget to write the page numbers, author’s name and year for providing citation. Once you are done with your prewriting task, you can read it again to check whether the ideas explained focus on the subject and do they