Writing Format and Style


Writing the First Draft

Before you write the First Draft you should review your efforts thus far
and determine whether or not it's wise to continue your grant pursuit.
Use the GO/NO-GO Checklist to do this. Then return to this page to continue with the first draft.


Like Gertrude Stein's rose, a draft is a draft is a draft. It is not the final copy. It is not complete or even polished. Even though word processors and fancy printers can make a first draft LOOK good, it's still a first draft. And as a writer, you need to recognize that it's a target waiting for the marksman to shoot. The Pink Team will review it and more than likely they (or he or she, depending on the size of your crew) will shoot it down. In fact, you want the, to come to it with loaded pistols. Depending on the thickness of your skin, you Listen need to learn to appreciate what they say; don't let your ego get in the way of hearing them.

Attending to the Details
There are a variety of details preceding and surrounding the preparation of the first draft. They aren't writing considerations, but they are things you'll want to take care of before the first draft goes out for reviews.

Making Writing Assignments
If you're the only writer, there aren't really any writing assignments. And if you have other writers working with you and you've prepared storyboards, this task is relatively simple. Once your storyboards are completed, you can hand out writing assignments. Depending on the scope of the effort, you'll give one or more writers the sections they're going to write and the appropriate storyboards to guide them. This should include their deadline and guidance about the content and how much time they ought to devote to the writing.

If the scope of the effort is broad, you may want to break it out by task and have writers assigned to their appropriate specialties. (This is most likely a luxury for most of you, since the majority of grant proposals are written by one person who has, at most, the support of a secretary.) Sections like resumes and project summaries lend themselves to easy distribution. regardless of how you do it, though, you should have one person who is responsible for pulling everything together, assembling the first draft, and shipping it out to the reviewers.

Using a Word Processor
Even if there's a large group working on your proposal, one secretary will most likely take the lead in preparing it. That person should have the responsibility for establishing a file-naming convention and apprising everyone of the writing "rules." The primary concern is to avoid having the writers format the document. That's the secretary's job. The writers' files should be plain, avoiding the fancy stuff that Word Processors are capable of doing. (Some people love to play with font sizes, effects like bold face and italics, and fancy indenting. And the problems can get extremely difficult when you get into using columns, headers and footers, and fancy formatting and paragraph styles. The less of that sort of thing there is, the easier it is to pull all of the files together into a single document.

The secretary can provide direction for naming the files to assure that various versions of each section are kept in sequence and that pre-existing files don't get overwritten by new ones (or worse, that new files don't get written over by older ones.).

Using E-MAil
A second important matter which can create problems during this time period is the use of electronic mail. Messages between writers, the secretary, and others which contain updates and content matter for the proposals can be sent via e-mail. This is the fastest and best way to communicate and in these days of cut and paste, it allows for the rapid inclusion of information. But there needs to be recognized conventions for its use. otherwise, you'll encounter may of the same problems as you have with Word Processing. So here's some things oyu can do to assure that e-mail works FOR you rather than AGAINST you.

Getting Ready for Reviews
Reviews are essential to the development of a winning proposal. Having "new eyes" ook at a document will provide you with critical feedback and improve the quality of your prposal. It's even more essential if you;re the only writer. And it's an opportunity for others who have not been involved to look at what you're doing. Without reviews you're operating in a vacuum. It's not an exaggeration to say that a proposal prpoduced without a good review mechanism is doomed to failure.

We'll go into the reviews and what they provide in another lecture, but for now you need to be aware of the things that are essential to assuring that you get a good review. What follows is a list of some of the considerations and information which your reviewers shoul be provided with:

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