The Next Drafts

In your first draft you established the sequence of ideas and events. Now, determine where you should use paragraphing to help the reader understand the divisions of your sequence.

Next, check all the places in your first draft where you used your private code. Replace all non-English words and refine the problems. Begin to turn to your spreadsheets for help. Work with them in whatever order you prefer, checking carefully through your manuscript with each spreadsheet and rewriting as you go.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;

- Shakespeare Henry V Act III, scene i

Even a highly skilled writer, who is a native speaker of English, does not write a successful paper in a single draft. All successful articles undergo a number of drafts before they are ready to be sent to journals. In each draft you will continue looking back at the information you have on your spreadsheets, checking, rechecking, and rewriting. Possibly your spreadsheets will not contain enough information and you will need to turn back to the articles you photocopied for further help.

In all these next drafts, most of your attention will be on transposing your entire first draft into simple, straightforward, English sentences. Keep sentences short and direct. A wise Australian journal editor once said a complicated sentence is like a stressed molecule. So, resist all temptation to try for long or beautiful sentences: You can lengthen sentences later; you can add grace later; you can combine ideas and add transitions to smooth out the meaning later. It is vital to keep your ideas direct and simple. Remember scientists all over the world are eager to be able to understand what you report; help them out. Speak to them simply and directly, scientist to scientist.

Do not worry at this point that what you have written may sound simplistic. On one level, you want your writing to be simplistic because being simplistic means being clear and you want everyone to be able to understand what you have written. As you continue on to the intensive editing in your final draft you will get variety in the choices of vocabulary, transitions, and sentence structure so that your article sounds smoother and more interesting. Your main goal will be to ensure that the ideas in each sentence:

• would be clear to any other scientist in your field,

• are referenced properly wherever credit should be given to others,

• do not bore the reader with historic or other types of details that are not directly related to the topic of your article, and

• do not insult the intelligence of your readers by over-explaining the obvious.

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