RWA4: Drafting a Personal Narrative Essay

RWA4:  Drafting a Personal Narrative Essay

You have already written an exploratory draft of your essay.  To create the next draft, you will want to work with this draft and other materials related to your project.  For instance, you may  want to consult the other personal literacies narrative essays that we read in class, your brainstorming exercise, your earlier class assignments and journals, your class notes, and various handouts.  Feel free to use one of the essays you read last week as a model for this essay that you are now drafting.  In this draft, you will be shaping, expanding, and re-presenting material from your exploratory draft.  You can do this by hand or on the computer.  However, the draft that you bring in to our next class MUST BE TYPED and DOUBLE SPACED.  

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND:  The draft that you will be bringing into class next week is A FIRST “READER’S” DRAFT, meaning, it is neither just a lot of interesting unstructured ideas written down, nor a finished draft. Rather, this draft is one that you can show to a peer editor to receive feedback on and suggestions regarding. As a result, put your best foot forward but also know that the draft you are writing WILL CHANGE in some substantive way based on the suggestions of others and your own thinking about the draft and the topic. Your draft essay, although still a draft, should include a title, an introductory paragraph, and some body paragraphs; it should also be no less than two pages.  We will be discussing these drafts in our next class.

As you prepare this draft, please refer to the Steps in Drafting on the CUNY WriteSite.  We completed Steps 1-6.  I would like you to work on Steps 7-13 for this assignment.  You will find links to a sample student paper that is used to illustrate how the steps in drafting work here.

While not required, you may want to consult the following as you prepare this draft: Norton Guidelines for Writing Literacy Narratives


First, read over your literacies narrative essay draft and take notes on it.  What is it about?  What is the "story" that you are trying to tell?  What are some of the most interesting passages in your draft?  Do these support what you think your personal essay is about?  If no, should you perhaps change your focus to make it possible to include these passages?

Second, once you have read through your first/exploratory draft, taken notes on it, and noted any places where sentences may not be clearly communicating to your audience or your points may not be clear, please complete the Personal Essay Reflection Questions below.

  1. What is your essay about?
  2. What are some possible titles for the essay?  Why are these appropriate?  Do they capture the reader's attention?  Do they succinctly summarize and reflect the content of your essay?
  3. Who is the audience for the essay?  How is that evident in this draft (word choice, style, other?)?
  4. What do you believe makes the draft unique both in terms of its content and the style of the writing?
  5. Do you feel that this draft fulfills your purpose for the essay and this assignment?  Why?  Why not?  What might it need in order to better fulfill its purpose?
  6. Are there any points or sentences that you believe your reader may be confused by? If yes, please place a question mark beside each point or sentence and re-write the point or sentence to answer the following question:  "what is it I am trying to say here?" and/or "what point am I trying to make here?"
  7. Does each paragraph support a central point? Are there paragraphs that support multiple points and should be broken up into two paragraphs? Are there paragraphs that are too “weak” to stand on their own as paragraphs? If so, please make revisions to these paragraphs as appropriate.
  8. Reviewing this draft, please write down any questions that you have about college writing based on your experiences preparing it.