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Wednesday, November 9, 2016 Diagnosing Your Draft

Sometimes looking at your written draft can feel like looking at someone really sick. You don’t necessarily know what’s wrong with it, but it makes you want to get away. Other times, it can seem like something’s just a little bit off, not necessarily a full-blown illness. Below we’re going to talk about a few common paper "diagnoses" so you can write your own prescription to make it healthy again!

Choppy Fever

One of the most common writing diseases. Symptoms include sentences that are all the same length and sentences that all start the same way. Treat with varying sentence length and varied transitions.


Not often noticed by the patient but seen easily by others. Ask a roommate, professor, or writing coach for help. Specific ailments within a grammarism can be searched independently on Google or the Purdue Owl, like comma splices, subject-verb agreement, and contractions.


Easily diagnosable but takes some time to heal. Depending on the format (APA, MLA, or Turabian), different courses of action can be taken, but they all include web searches and using format manuals. For more specific help, visit the writing center!

Content Disease

This takes a lot of work on the part of the writer because it usually involves coming up with better and more defendable ideas, finding more sources, and explaining the connection between your ideas and examples. Expect a couple of hours of rehab before things start to improve.


Most easily seen when students are confused about what they’ve written. The first thing developed should be the thesis. Then, each paragraph can be organized in the same order as the ideas in the thesis. After a set of new topic sentences, the confusion will disappear.

Does your draft have any of the above "sicknesses?" They can make you feel like it is impossible to improve, but if you work hard on developing your ideas and working through your mistakes, it can become easy to avoid these illnesses in the first place.

Emily Childers is a Family and Consumer Sciences major and a writing coach at Liberty University's Undergraduate Writing Center. 

Posted at 9:38 AM | Comments (0)
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