Responding

The Exploratory Draft

You're at the point now of trying an exploratory draft, writing just for yourself, to find out how you feel and what you have to say in response to the text at hand. At this stage, you are not thinking about communicating with others so much as you are writing to think, or to discover what you think.

Once you have an exploratory draft, you're at another juncture where collaborating and conversing with a peer may be helpful. When you involve a peer or a small group of peers in reading your exploratory draft, you can direct their reading by asking them to tell you what they find to be your central point as well as what they find most surprising or intriguing. By directing their reading, your peers will be less likely to treat your exploratory draft as a finished product and will seek instead to answer your questions. You might ask your collaborators to name their concerns about the things you have said in the response, to take issue where they disagree and say a bit about their beliefs. Taking into account such additional information will inform and improve your subsequent drafts.

You may find that you need several exploratory drafts before you really know what it is you mostly want to say.

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Introduction