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English Composition I
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• Most writers skimp or skip organization because they don’t like outlining

Outlining is NOT the same as organization

• It can be part of organization, but it isn’t the sum total

• Organization is about controlling the information that you’ve generated

• It’s about understanding WHAT you are doing and WHY


• Focus of Organizing should not be on the "proper" format of the outline

• Focus is on

– what you are going to write,

– for what purpose,

– in what order,

– and in how much detail.

• A good writer knows/understands the content before starting to physically write


• Organizing doesn’t have to be formal outline

Scratch outline – jotting ideas down on scrap paper – can be just as useful

• Generally, the more comfortable the writer is with the content, the less formal the organization needs to be

• The more rigid the format of the writing situation, the more likely a formal outline will be required


Some writers can mentally organize, but

Most writers need the physical reminder

• Not to limit their writing, but to free it

• If you have a written outline,

– you can focus on the writing

– you know that you won’t forget any points

– You know where you are going at all times

– You know that everything fits the overall thesis


Body paragraphs are focus of the outline

Conclusion is the summation of body paragraphs – what they lead up to

Introduction sets up the topic/subject and sets the mood

• Both are best developed AFTER you have a clear plan for the body paragraphs


Outlining/Organization Plan

• At minimum, the Organization/Outline should have:

– A clear statement of thesis/purpose

– A list of important points

• The points should be in a particular order that:

Emphasizes the thesis/purpose

Reinforces each other

Builds to conclusion

• How complete the ideas are in the outline/organization plan is up to writer

• Ideas will need to be fully developed in the actual essay, of course