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Writing goes through a series of stages before it reaches its final destination. The Writing Process describes the different stages that all writers go through to create a final piece of writing. It is called a process because no two people use it in the same way. Each piece of writing you begin may use The Writing Process differently. You may spend most of your time on prewriting and very little time on drafting OR you may spend little time on prewriting and focus on the revising stage. The most important thing to understand about The Writing Process is that the use of all stages is fluid (not chronological). Writers use different stages of the process as they need them and may often go back to beginning stages to develop their ideas more.
The Stages of the Writing Process
Prewriting: Prewriting is everything you do to prepare for writing your first draft.
The purpose of prewriting is to get you ready to write. This is when you:
        warm up
        gather and organize ideas
        research
        choose a topic
        identify your audience
        identify the purpose of the piece of writing
        pick the appropriate genre based on the purpose, audience
           and tone you want to use.
        share your ideas with classmates, family and teachers
        narrow or broaden your topic
        *most importantly - this is when you use your imagination and get all your ideas down on paper*

There are many different
types of prewriting. You can do anything from create a list to conduct major research.  Mrs. Farnum will use many different examples throughout the school year - it's up to you to decide which types of prewriting you are most comfortable with.

Our
Guide to Brainstorming , Prewriting Guide and Exploring A Writing Topic Checklists may help you overcome writer's block and come up with interesting writing topics.


           
               
The above web is an example of prewriting used to emphasize figurative language in your writing. Notice the focus on Onomatopeia, Power Verbs, Descriptive Words, Other Ways to Say Said, and Simile.
Drafting: Drafting is when you focus on getting your story or research down on paper.
During the drafting stage, you should not spend a great deal of time worrying about spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization - this is the stage when you just focus on your story and its purpose. Here are some things to consider when creating your first draft:
        genre
        theme
        purpose
        a lead that grabs your readers' attention
        address your audience
        emphasize content rather than mechanics.
      

According to
Mrs. Farnum's Guidelines for Writing and Using the Six Traits, you must do the following on all drafts of your writing:
       write your name, the date, section, and teacher in the upper
           left hand corner
       label your paper "Rough Draft" on the title line - centered
       skip lines for all your drafts


           
               

Revising: Revising is the stage when you wil focus on refining your ideas in the composition. You will emphasize meeting the needs of readers by adding, substituting, deleting and rearranging your writing. The word revision means to "see again" and that is exactly what you are doing. You are trying to take a second (third, fourth, and so on) look at your writing to see if it makes sense. The key to revising success is rereading your paper several times. Read your story OUT LOUD - this will help you pick up on items missing in your story that you might have missed otherwise. Another important part of this stage is the use of classmates, family members and teachers to help you along.

During the Revising stage, you will first self-revise using our
revision checklist. You should focus on the following:
        creating unity                                        word choice
        clarifying confusing parts                      point of view
        omitting unecessary parts
        including important details
        considering your audience and purpose
        create a tone that's appropriate for your story
        check for meaning


Once you have self-revised, you have several choices:
       
peer conference with one other student
        sign up to participate in a
writing group (need atleast three)
        have a parent or family
peer conference with you
        sign up to conference with Mrs. Farnum.

Your job in a writing group or peer conference is to seek ways to improve your writing and help other students with their writing in exchange for help. As discussed in class, you should focus on the positive - always give compliments, ask questions in a constructive way, and make suggestions keeping in mind the feelings of your classmates. Our Things to Say in Writing Groups page will help you get started.

Make changes to your writing based on the suggestions you get from your classmates, family members, and teachers. Remember, just because someone made a suggestion does NOT mean you have to use it.

Revision Tools:
        ^ use a caret to insert needed words and/or sentences
          use an arrow to move text to different parts of your story
        X cross out any words/sentences/ paragraphs to delete
        use scissors and tape to cut out and rearrange text
        use asterisks or other symbols to add large text from another
    page
        spider legs: compose new writing on separate thin pieces of
    paper and attach them where needed
        use a highlighter to group related sentences or phrases to be
    put together
        circle things that will definitely be kept (for those of you who
    find it difficult to delete)
       
      


           
              

Editing: During the editing stage you will try to get your writing ready for final form. Up until now, your focus has been primarily on ideas and content. You will now focus on mechanics, usage, grammar, spelling, punctuation and other errors.   Another term often used in the Editing Stage is Proofreading. Just like the Revising Stage, the Editing Stage uses classmates, family members and teachers as resources.

During the Editing Stage, you will first self-edit using ou
r editing checklist and proofreading reminders. As discussed in class, you will edit your writing with highlighters. (Remember that yellow is always spelling and to make a key for the other colors you use.

You should focus on the following:
        spelling                               subject/verb agreement
        grammar                             using the right tense
        mechanics                          correct use of quotations
        usage                                 correct use of possessives
        punctuation
        capitalization
        paragraphing

Once you have self-edited, you have several choices:
        ask another student to peer edit your paper using the
           
editing checklist and our editing marks as a reference
        have a parent or family parent edit your paper
        Once you have had your paper peer or parent edited, place
            you paper in the teacher edit box for Mrs. Farnum  to edit
            or email it as an attachment to Mrs. Farnum at
           
cpmfarnum@cox.net

You may want to review our brief Power Point Presentation about Editing

Editing Tools:
        = underline letters that need to be capitalized
        ^ use a caret to insert needed words and/or sentences
        X cross out any words/sentences/ paragraphs to delete
           use a highlighter to point out words that need to be changed
           circle/highlight/sp. words that are misspelled
           add  any needed puctuation marks and circle them

Helpful hints when proofreading/editing:
        read over the paper several times focusing on one error (for example, spelling)
        use your pencil or pen to point to words as you read them
        be aware of the mistakes you make - try to avoid them in the future
       
      


           
           
 
Publishing: During the publishing stage you will put your writing in final form. You will share your writing with the appropriate audience, put it in the a proper format, and place it in your portfolio.

During the Publishing Stage, you will create your final draft. You may type up your final drafts during writing workshop or at home. You may also write out your final drafts if you prefer as long as they are in proper format. All typed final drafts should be saved to your electronic portfolios. Remember to keep your writers disk with you at all times to save your work and bring it to school with you.

Remember to put the proper heading on all your final drafts:
         Name.Date,Section, and Teacher in the upper left hand corner with the title centered OR a cover page with all the information centered.

You should focus on the following:
        Addressing your audience
        Producing a final product
        Picking the format that is most suitable for your purpose
        Sharing your writing


Remember that you are required to have at least one piece of writing published outside of the classroom during the 2002-2003 school year. You are also required to include at least three pieces of art work with final products in your portfolio.

Looking for ways to get published? Check out Mrs. Farnum's
Where to Get Published Guide, our list of Ways to Share Your Writing, and the following websites:
       
    
Kids Book Shelf (write book reviews, poems, and short stories to be published on the web)

    
Writing With Writers (Go through tutorials by famous authors such as Jane Yolen, Jack Prelutsky, and  Virginia Hamilton. Then publish your story online and receive a certificate of accomplishment)

     
Kids As Authors (online publishing and contests)

     
The Web English Teacher's List for Publishing Writing (tons of great links to get your writing published)

     
Mrs. Farnum's Writing Process and Publishing Webquest

     
Children's Express News (this is a nobel peace prize winning organization that allows students to act as reporters.)

    
Poetry.com (this website allows you to submit short poems. Your poems are published online, in an anthology, and you can print out your own copyrighted version.)

     
The Starlite Cafe (publish your poetry online)


           
        
Email Mrs. Farnum with any questions, comments or suggestions