I’ve been posting a lot lately about the various elements of an essay starting at the pre-writing stage to writing and revising the rough draft. I’m also in the middle of breaking down the two hardest paragraphs of an essay – the introduction and the conclusion. For the introduction, you’ve got the hook and the map. The conclusion posts will come next week.
In my research for the above posts, I came across a handy-dandy online tool – the Essay Map. It’s a plug-and-play model and not one that you’ll want to count as spitting out a final draft but in terms of organizing your ideas and argument, it looks pretty good.
Has anyone used this tool before? Or do you have a recommendation for something better? Let us know in the comments.
“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A.A. Milne was spot on with this quote and this idea can certainly be applied to the writing process.
I’ve spent a number of posts talking about the pre-writing process and I thought it a good idea to compile them all into one place.
First off, understanding the assignment is the key to writing a great essay. Once you’re clear about what’s expected of you, there are a number of pre-writing strategies you can employ to get you going. I’d recommend trying them all out; you may find that switching strategies will inspire new ideas or connections. Here are the links to each strategy post:
– Clustering/Mind Mapping
– The Topic Outline
If you need a sentence outline, simply follow the instructions for the topic outline that’s linked above and then use one of the pre-writing strategies to craft the sentences you need.
Continuing the series on prewriting strategies, today’s post is about looping. This strategy is similar to brainstorming/free writing but with a slight tweak. Grab a piece of paper and let’s get to…
Write the subject/topic at the top of the page. Set a timer and free write. I’d suggest setting it for 10 minutes max to get started. The most important thing about free writing is to keep your pen or pencil moving the entire time. Don’t censor, edit, criticize, over think; just write. Even if you find yourself writing things like “I don’t know what to write about” or “I’d rather be outside” or whatever, keep that pen a-moving. Ideas will come, trust me.
Once time is up, go over what you’ve just written and circle the ideas/thoughts that interest you the most. Now flip your paper over and write your first circled subject/topic at the top of the page. Set a timer and free write again.
Rinse and repeat until you’ve looped through all of your primary circled ideas.
Once done, you should have a few pages of thoughts. You may only keep a couple of them but this is a quick and easy way to generate a lot of ideas in a short amount of time.
If you’d like help looping, come on in to the Writing Center! We’re here Mon-Fri 2:30-4:30pm. Sign up for an appointment in the Library (see the main counter) or email firstname.lastname@example.org