Writing an article: preparing an outline

It is important that you take the time to sit down and work up an outline before you actually start writing your essay or article. Na outline can go a long way in helping you stay on track and remain focused on your topic. It also helps you organize your talking points into a logical presentation so your readers can follow what you are saying. To work up a simple outline, it is easy if you will follow these simple steps:

  • Choose a topic. Whether your topic is and whatever type of paper you are writing, you must make certain that you choose a general layout and focus that will help you organize your writing. Determine if you are writing a compare and contrast essay, and informative article, an argumenive paper, or some other basic writing type. The outline will work along with this to help you stay focused.
  • Determine the larger focus. Choosing an ultimate goal will help guide you and further refine your outline. Your thesis statement needs to reflect this goal and mention the major points you are going to write about, which needs to be included in your outline too.
  • Gather supporting materials. During the research stage of your project, gather together the quotes, images, plot points, data, statistics, or personal reflections that you want to add into your paper. Depending on the overall type of essay you are writing you may use more of one than the other.
  • Topic or sentence outline. A topic outline is the type of organization tool that uses short combinations of words to give a very general and flexible outline to follow. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the sentence outline, which uses complete sentences and presents more details and a more rigid outline to follow.
  • Expand upon your main talking points. For every point you want to discuss, create a heading on the outline. Each point will often need at least two subpoints; these are the finer details that support the main points of your essay or article.
  • Present your material. Order your categories, and format the outline to cover all of the main points you want to include in your article. Make sure the outline is set up so it lays out your larger purpose and shows you and your reader the order in which you will discuss things in your paper.