class log stamp

GEN 100

Writing Workshop


At this point, you should be writing your full outline for your essay. While you write your outline, you should have the following:

This is a good time to do a little review, to ask yourself some questions about your essay and where it is going. After all, you have not typed very much yet—but very soon, you will be typing your first draft! If there are any problems, then you should find them now, not after you worked really hard writing five paragraphs!

Review Your Examples

The first thing to do is to review the examples you have chosen.

You chose three topic sentences; each one should have at least two examples from the list of 12 or more that you brainstormed. If you did the assignment right, then you chose the topic sentences with the strongest examples.

Now, you must verify that. When writing the full outline, you are choosing exactly the six specific examples you will use. Take some time to think about all six examples. Ask yourself these questions:

Test each example using these questions. If any example does not seem to work well, then throw it out, and try to find another example from your brainstorming that will fit.

Write Your Outline, and Check It

Write your complete outline based on the review suggested above.

Once you have finished, do a review. read your outline from start to finish, and ask these questions:

It's Not Too Late: Now Is the Best Time to Change

Do you have any sense that this idea is not working very well? If you do, then consider:

  1. Revise: re-order your ideas; possibly throw out some weaker ideas and replace them with better ones from your brainstorming.
  2. Regenerate: Go back and do more brainstorming for this topic. Come up with more examples. Maybe revise your thesis statement.
  3. Restart: Throw away this essay idea completely. Go back and use another topic from your brainstorming, or do more topic brainstorming and start again from the beginning.

You may not want to throw away all the work you have done so far, but it might be better to do that instead of moving forward with an essay which is not very strong!

In addition, you could get more practice with the process we are learning. Not to mention, it is usually easier the second time you try!

Get Ready...

Once you have confirmed that your whole essay—all the ideas, the ordering, then basic principles—are all good, then you should do at least one more thing to prepare for draft writing.

Brainstorm Vocabulary

Sit down with a blank piece of paper. Look at the topics you are going to deal with. Then begin writing down a list of words you could use in the essay. Use a thesaurus!! If you want, you could get together with classmates, and they can suggest words also! (Basic vocabulary is not plagiarism.)

Don't just limit yourself to those categories! Think up phrases, expressings, the names of sounds, anything you can think of. Once you are finished, keep that list handy. Add new words whenever you think of them. The list could help you come up with ideas of what to write about.

This is actually a good preparation activity to get ready for a lot of things. For example, before you read an article or book, or attend a class lecture or any lecture, do this activity, and you may be better prepared to understand what the speaker is talking about. Not to mention, it is a great vocabulary exercise!