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How to Organize Your Essay

Posted on November 29, 2010 in categories: Uncategorized

The best time to think about how to organize your essay is during the pre-writing stage, not the writing or revising stage.  A well-thought-out plan can save you from having to do a lot of reorganizing when the first draft is completed. Moreover, it allows you to pay more attention to sentence-level issues when you sit down to write your paper.

Basic guidelines

The first thing about writing any paper is organizing the writing process during the pre-writing stage as a well-thought-out plan let you foresee many writing details that could be out of field of view later. Sentence-level issues are often ignored in case the plan is not written and this could be a major mistake.

What can help me structure my essay, asking you? A simple but efficient advice: define the type of essay you will be writing and its genre. However, it is difficult to define the features of a genre. If you have succeeded to understand genre of your essay, half of the problem is solved. It is a really difficult task for students because genres are not always fixed.

Structuring the paper without problems

There is an easy way to avoid many pitfalls that all students are facing: do not determine the structure of your essay by the structure of its source material. It is a common mistake of students who reproduce the plot of a literary work instead of expressing their own thoughts and advancing the argument. It is crucial to structure an essay in the right way. Otherwise each paragraph will show the weaknesses of your paper writing.

Create a perfect essay outline

Although you are unlikely to hand in an outline for your essay, you need to write it any way for it serves you ensuring that you are on the right track. There are two types of outlines: sentence and topic outlines. The latter are more open-ended than sentence outlines and that is why much work is left for the writing stage.

Rules of putting together a plan

Firstly, try to begin planning as early as you can. It is clear that carrying out research and some reading will be necessary but it goes after drawing up an outline of your essay. It poses the main difficulty for students who find it almost impossible to take notes and weigh the evidence before starting to plan. What does a plan serve for? It helps you to be more efficient in your reading and if you have ideas of where your argument is headed. In other words, you have ideas and seek for the evidences while researching and reading. However, your plan is not an invariable part of your paper writing and it may need to be modified during the evaluation of evidence. All in all, remember that an essay that was well-organized is always better than an essay written without a plan. Plan makes your ideas flow, isn’t it what you are striving for?