Online Technical Writing: Developing ReportsóRough Drafting

Rough Drafting: An Overview Exercises

When you've located the right sources of information for your report, taken notes from them using a system that is comfortable for you, it's time to write the rough draft. This section provides some suggestions and strategies for the rough-drafting stage.

Rough drafting: an overview

Writing a rough draft, at its simplest, is like copying your notecards onto regular sheets of paper: more specifically, like taking the information from your notes, phrasing it in complete sentences, and filling in the gaps with transitions and with your own understanding of the subject. If you have taken as complete a set of notes as you can, and if you have paraphrased and summarized most of them, your rough drafting may go rapidly.

Preparations. Here are some rather mechanical matters to keep in mind as you start the rough draft:

Sample rough draft with notecards. Here is an excerpt from a report draft with the corresponding notecards: notice how much discussion the writer has put into the paragraphs without the aid of notecards:

                    Outline excerpt

                I. Introduction
               II. Amount of Oil Drilled
              III. The Condeep Drilling Platform
                   A. The Hull
                   B. The Deck
               IV. The Effects of Spilled Oil on Marine
                   A. Impact on Zooplankton
                    B. Impact on Fish
                   C. Impact on Marine Birds
                   D. Impact on Marine Mammals
                V. Procedure in Cleaning up Offshore Spills
                   A. Preliminary Inspection of . . .

                                                                            III. drillg pltfm: intro

                        movement to drill Outer Contl. Shelf water depths in this 
                        region--2-3,000ft. convention. steel-jacket platform too 

                        8                                                  Earney, pp 124-131

                                                                            III. drillg pltfm: ballast tanks

                        water up to 1000ft (twice ht. of Wash. Monument)
                        submersibles designed for waters up to 600ft or more
                        massive bouyant base or hull flooded after the unit is 
                        stationed water pumped out & replaced w/ oil as need from 
                        well or satellite wells

                        9                                                  Earney, pp 124-131

                                                                            III. drillg pltfm: ballast tanks

                         usually have base casted in a graving dock & moved into 
                         deep waters where sunk by ballasting while its ht is increased 
                         (1st one built holds 1 mill. bbls) may also use differential 
                         hydrostatic pressure (suction); base forms suction seep when 
                         situated on ocean bottom; water pumped out of  pores beneath
                         the rig to lower hydrost. press. inside.
                         sand and clay seabeds lend themselves to this technique
                         stream currents can sheer stress these loose

                         10                                                Earney, pp 124-131

                                                                             III. drillg pltfm: ballast tanks  

                        tanks: shaped like lab. oxy. tanks

                        vol: 30,000-60,000 bbls (0.9 to 1.8 mill. gals)

                        10                                                 Earney, pp. 124-131

                                                                             III. drillg pltfm: suppt pilngs

                        3 of the ball. tanks convert to supp. pilings for platfm deck
                        typically 300 ft long--whatever length to keep deck 15 ft above 
                        ave water level fully ballasted

                        pilings connected at top w/ connecting rods, enorm steel girders, 
                        10 ft diam; support rig deck conduits inside supp. plgs--drillg bits, 
                        pipes for o & g flow, drlg fluids

                        protective sacrific. annode & packg material to
                        prevent leak in case of damage to plgs.

                        11                                                  Earney, pp 124-131
                      Rough draft excerpt


   In recent years there has been a strong movement among the
world's oil producers toward drilling on the Outer Continental
Shelf. Typical water depths in this region are 2000 to 3000 ft.
At these depths, the conventional steel-jacket platform has a
prohibitive cost-to-benefit ratio. A number of new concepts in
drilling and production rigs have been developed in attempts to
reduce the costs of deepwater drilling. The Condeep submersible
rig is one of the most promising of those developed so far.

Figure 4. The Condeep Offshore Drilling Platform The Condeep consists of two major sections, the hull and the deck. Hull The underwater part of the platform is known as the hull. The hull in turn consists of support pilings and ballast tanks. Ballast Tanks. The ballast tanks contain most of the bulk of the hull. These are built at a graving dock. A typical arrangement consists of 19 tanks built in a giant hexagon. All but three of the tanks are used as ballast tanks. The remaining are converted into support pillars for the rig deck. The ballast tanks serve a dual purpose. Each tank is equipped with ballasting valves and pumps. The valves may be opened to admit seawater as ballast for the rig. In the early stages of the operation of the rig, these seawater-filled tanks serve as mooring for the platform. When fully ballasted, these tanks rest on the ocean bottom. These tanks may be pumped free of seawater and used as storage for oil produced by the rig or its neighboring rigs. If the platform is intended to operate in areas where the ocean bottom is exceptionally loose or porous (e.g., composed of sand or clay), then additional mooring support is usually needed. This additional mooring is usually added in the form of pumps attached to the bottom of the ballast tanks. These pumps provide a differential hydrostatic pressure by evacuating the pores in the floor under the tanks. This pressure creates a suction that serves as additional mooring for the rig. As for the individual tanks themselves, they shaped like standard laboratory oxygen tanks. They have a round flat bottom, a cylindrical shaft, and a hemispherical top. Typically, they have a volume of from 30,00 to 60,000 barrels each (i.e., 900,000 to 1,800,000 gallons each). The bottom and shaft are cast in one piece, and the dome with its ballasting valves and pumps is added later. Support Pilings. Three of the ballasting tanks are converted into support pilings for the platform deck. These pilings are located toward the center of the platform. The support pilings are typically about 300 ft long but may be however long is necessary to maintain the deck at about 15 ft above the average water level when the tanks are fully ballasted. The pilings are rounded like cylinders but are tapered toward the top . . .

Figure 15. Example outline, notecards, and rough draft excerpt

Step 7. If you have developed a good outline and have as complete a set of notecards as you can get, use the suggestions above and write a rough draft of your report, or some portion of it. (If you are collaborating on a technical report, see the section on this topic for ideas and suggestions on working together during the rough-drafting phase.)

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