Great writing starts with a great outline
By Lisa Brown
Once you’ve decided on your topic and wrote down an impactful thesis, it’s time to create the foundation upon which you will write your content.
Writing an outline for an essay or a book is very similar as the only difference is the length or amount of words.
With an essay, you are usually required to write an introduction, three paragraphs and a conclusion. As you know, writing a book includes many chapters, but ultimately, you also need a beginning, middle and ending.
Even though the middle might be where the difference comes in, the process is almost identical.
Don’t be afraid to use a free paraphrase generator as these tools help us prepare more effectively. Now, let’s get into how you create your outline.
Start with all the basic information
Write down the date, name, class or module, and any extra information you feel is necessary. This does not include any information about the essay or book yet, but it’s necessary to have on your outline.
You might be working on various class essays or projects at the same time, and you want to quickly look at this information and see which one it is you are working with. This is also important for your teacher or publisher to check who is sending the information.
Thesis / Synopsis
Your thesis argument should be solid and provide the reader with information on what to expect when they read your essay or book. It does not need to be a long, drawn out statement, but it should communicate a clear message.
You can find a paraphrasing tool online free of charge, to help you word your thesis better. When you write down your thesis, be sure that you are able to argue your point.
When writing a book, you might relate to this section more if you think of it as a synopsis. This is a short summary of what your book is about.
Some publishers will have a set number of words, while others leave it up to the author. Check with the publishing house you want to work with and make sure your synopsis fits their requirements.
First paragraph / Chapter
Your opening paragraph is probably one of the most important sections of your writing project. This is where you hook the reader and create the spark.
Many readers will form an opinion about your writing on the first paragraph, and it is important to convince them that your thesis is correct. Once you have convinced the readers of your thesis, you are able to keep them interested throughout the essay or book.
Focus on your strongest point in your first paragraph to set all doubts aside. There are times I have to reword my essay if there isn’t enough punch to my first paragraph.
As this paragraph also stands as your introduction, it is important to introduce the readers to your way of thinking. Once you’ve stated your most valuable fact, you can move on to the rest of your paragraphs or chapters.
The Body / Middle
Now that you have started with your most compelling paragraph and fact, it is time to add more information. Do not think that the body of your work does not need to be strong.
If you are writing an essay or a book, there are always other people competing with you. If you are a student in the class, you want to be one of the top students. Being an author is not any easier because there are many writers out there trying to get published.
Do proper research to prove your thesis, and this is the section where you will state most of those facts. Seeing as this is just the outline for what will eventually be the final product, you need to make sure you understand the flow and structure. You can jot down ideas or facts and insert it into these paragraphs.
Your work needs to have a flow to it, and this is where you create that flow. The body is where you organize your thoughts. You already know your thesis and your opening fact, but what else do you want to say and in which order do you want to say it?
After you’ve created an outline for all of your chapters, it is time to start your conclusion. Your conclusion should basically sum up all the facts you stated in the essay or book.
Do not be afraid to remind the reader of you most impactful facts. This is a summary of what has been discussed and to leave the reader on a high. You cannot start with a bang and then slowly lose your audience at the end.
Use the hook you started with and let them know why they chose to write your piece till the end.
Call to Action
Once you have convinced your readers that your thesis is correct, what actions would you like for them to take? You provided great facts in your writing, and the audience will start thinking about your point of view more. Now you have to direct them to test your theory for themselves.
There is no difficulty in creating a great outline once you have your structure right. You can also go online and look at some examples and apply it to your own work. There is no right or wrong way to do an outline if you have a flow to your work.
You do an outline to prevent rambling in your writing or stating random facts that do not create any type of flow. Your final draft will come much later than your outline so do not rush the process. With that being said, your outline also makes writing later much easier.
You can take each heading as a new project and focus on your transition to the next section. When you write the ending sentence of a paragraph, think about the opening sentence of the next one. This way you know that there will be no sharp endings, but rather a smooth transition between paragraphs.
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Lisa Brown works as a content manager. She is specialized on writing useful articles for writers, students and people who want to improve their writing skills. Her hobby is reading, travelling and blogging. Lisa`s life motto is “Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching”.
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 45-page guide for “Crabbe” by William Bell includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 21 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like The Quest for Identity and Autonomy and The Relationship between Humanity and Nature.
Crabbe is the story of Franklin Crabbe, an eighteen-year old native of Toronto who struggles with the conventional expectations of his affluent parents and teachers. Highly intelligent but riddled with resentment and anxiety, Crabbe (as he prefers to be called) decides torun away to the Canadian wilderness. Once in the wilderness, the inexperienced Crabbe encounters a series of life-threatening challenges that he overcomes only with the help of another fugitive, Mary Pallas, and the lessons of self-sufficiency she teaches him. Crabbe is ultimately forced to leave the wilderness by winter but not before he learns that who he is rests in his own hands. Told primarily in a series of journal entries that span the months leading up to his decision to leave through his return to the city, this young adult novel is a coming-of-age narrative that includes elements of adventure narrative. The narrative structure also reflects the influence of Joseph Campbell’s account of the hero’s journey, in which the hero leaves home, meets a mentor, faces a test, and returns home after overcoming the final ordeal.
At the start of the novel, Crabbe is a patient in Bartholomew’s General Hospital. Despite his refusal to share with his psychiatrist how he came to be there, Crabbe decides to keep a journal to help him make sense of his experiences. The remainder of the narrative is told via flashbacks in the form of journal entries and several chapters, identified as digressions, that are set in the present.
Crabbe recounts his discontent with his life during the early spring of his senior year and the surreptitious preparations he made to prepare for his escape from everyone’s expectations that he would go to university and live a life like his father’s. He heads north for the wilderness one night, intending to stay at a remote campsite that he visited years before, while on an uncomfortable trip with his father.
Crabbe escapes an attack by a black bear attracted by his careless handling of food at his campsite on the first night. He then almost drowns the next day, after he accidentally plunges down some falls on the river. Mary Pallas, a beautiful woman who is also hiding in the wilderness, rescues him and nurses him back to health in her hidden camp. Despite her willingness to assist him, she refuses to reveal her name to him.
Over the summer, Mary teaches Crabbe the skills he needs to survive in the wilderness. Crabbe grows confident in his survival skills and falls in love with Mary, a feeling she does not return.
As winter approaches, Mary tells Crabbe that it is time for him to leave the wilderness. They plan for him to leave after a raid on a nearby campground that has supplies Mary needs to survive the winter. The raid ends in disaster when Mary is discovered by four drunken, rough-looking men at the campground. The men drag Mary into their compound. Crabbe rescues Mary, but as they run away from the men, it becomes clear that Mary is deeply shaken by her experiences. She dies on her way back to their campsite, and Crabbe returns on his own.
Back at Mary’s camp, Crabbe discovers details about Mary’s life by going through the contents of the pack she forbade him to look at that summer. After reviewing the materials in the pack, Crabbe guesses that Mary hid in the wilderness to escape prosecution for the mercy killing of her husband, an action that was illegal in Canada at the time. He burns the contents of the pack and then sets out to return to civilization.
Unfortunately for him, his journey is impeded by a blizzard and he suffers frostbite as a result. On the main road, he is rescued by a driver who takes him to a small clinic to treat his frostbite. When Crabbe awakens several days later, the doctor has amputated two of his fingers and Crabbe has double pneumonia.
He is transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in his hometown of Toronto, where he is eventually reunited with his parents during a tense meeting. He leaves the hospital after his physical recovery, and takes a job in a sheet metal factory as a janitor to earn money. The narrative comes full circle when Crabbe takes a job at a wilderness camp for troubled teens.