Draft a Manuscript
- Document and Defend Your Results
- Bulk of Writing Performed in this Step
- Get Ideas on Paper
After defining your topic statement, write a draft of your introduction and discussion. While I recommend that
you first outline your manuscript, I realize many will find it easier to write the initial draft. Nevertheless, consider
the outline as you write. Over time, you will learn to construct topic sentences and better organize your thoughts.
Remember, narrow your focus in the introduction until you reach the topic statement, while for the discussion
ideas are introduced in order of their importance. And be sure to place the topic statement in the first and last
paragraphs of the discussion.
Concerns for this stage of the writing process.
In the initial draft, elaborate upon and expand your outline. At this stage, do not worry about word choices or
transitions. Rather, focus on logic and rhetoric, especially in the discussion. Also organize the structure of
individual paragraphs, keeping in mind the next topic in your essay. Once again, the topic statement of your
manuscript will ultimately guide your introduction and discussion sections, so make sure you have created one
before you start drafting the manuscript.
A Final Consideration.
As a rule, most scientists are very angry when they receive their first few rejection letters. This is in part due to
the fact that as scientists we believe that our results are absolutely irrefutable. After all, we do experiments and
prove things. However, our work has little value unless others think it does. To persuade others, we use rhetoric
- we must sell our results, usually to reviewers first, a tough audience. So chose your words wisely. I had a
reviewer use the final words of my discussion to reject a paper: After all, the authors said 'More work is needed'.
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Tip: Do not dwell on
word choices or
transitions in this step.
It is more important to
quickly finish the initial
draft. You can correct
these in the next steps.
Tip: Keep nouns and
their verbs together.
Long strings of
confuse the reader.
For examples, see
The abstract requires
terse writing that
highlights key points of
the manuscript. A
good example is shown