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Pre-writing involves shaping and organizing the ideas that have been generated during the brainstorming (or invention) stage. Pre-writing is largely an element of process because it is typically not shared with a writer's audience. It is something the writer generates to help him or her explore the ideas needed before writing the draft. Many times, pre-writing does not even include full sentences; it is just key words, phrases, and ideas to trigger the writer's memory during the drafting process.
The more formal stage of drafting is the process of then translating the ideas generated during brainstorming and pre-writing into full-text sentences and paragraphs. A finished draft is more formal because it is often shared with an audience of readers during the revision stage and those readers provide feedback and response on both the strengths of the writing and also areas for improvement.
As students put down their ideas in the pre-writing stage, they are mainly concerned with the recording of these ideas upon paper before they lose them. There is little attention given to the organization of these ideas, the structure of the sentences, spelling, punctuation,etc. However, when students prepare for the execution of a first draft, they organize ideas into a thesis statement, arranging their subtopics by importance or emphasis. In addition, they select the types of support that they wish to use with these ideas.
Dependent upon what the assignment is, of course, is the arrangement and style of students' essays or papers. For instance, if a student writes a persuasive essay, there are outlines and standards to which the essay must adhere. Or, if a student analyzes a literary work there is another method used. For help, see the sites below.
Pre-writing is generally considered to be the brainstorming and/or planning stage of writing. Various activities are grouped under the heading "pre-writing" and these may include webbing, outlining, and free-writing. Pre-writing is meant to help the writer generate ideas; as a result, the focus of pre-writing activities is mostly on content rather than on form. The more formal nature of a writing draft includes attention to form and structure. Certainly the content of the writing is still under development while the writer creates the draft; however, the content must now be housed in a structure that is appropriate for the genre of the writing task.
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