what is organization in essay writing
This method is designed to get your ideas onto a single page, where you can see them all at once. When you have an idea, write it down on paper and draw a circle around it. When you have an idea which supports another idea, do the same, but connect the two circles with a line. Supporting source material can be represented concisely by a page reference inside a circle. The advantage of the circle method is that you can see at a glance how things tie together; the disadvantage is that there is a limit to how much material you can cram onto a page.
For example, book reviews typically begin with a summary of the book you’re reviewing. They then often move on to a critical discussion of the book’s strengths and weaknesses. They may conclude with an overall assessment of the value of the book. These typical features of a book review lead you to consider dividing your outline into three parts: (1) summary; (2) discussion of strengths and weaknesses; (3) overall evaluation. The second and most substantial part will likely break down into two sub-parts. It is up to you to decide the order of the two subparts—whether to analyze strengths or weaknesses first. And of course it will be up to you to come up with actual strengths and weaknesses.
Spatial organization, the second pattern, refers to describing items based on their physical location or relation to other items. When describing the contents of a refrigerator, one may start from the top and move down, or begin from the left and move right, etc. Spatial organization is used for a variety of purposes including in descriptions, comparisons, and narrations.
Although organization makes tasks easier to complete, there is not just one way of organizing. For example, there are hundreds of ways to organize a kitchen. The glasses can go in the cupboard to the right of the sink or to the left of it. The silverware can be placed in any number of drawers. And the pots and pans can be hung on hooks over the island in the center of the kitchen or hidden in cupboard space beneath the counter. It does not matter as much where these items are placed, but that they are organized in a logical manner. Essays, like kitchens, can also be organized in different ways. There are four patterns of organization that will be discussed here. However, it is important to note that these are very broad categories. Variations of these patterns can be used, and they may be combined with one another. The first pattern is to organize chronologically. This refers to organizing events in the order that they occur. Chronological organization can be used in narrative essays and personal essays. This pattern is also useful when explaining a process or describing how something works, since this is usually done by understanding what happens first, next, last, etc.
As Diana Hacker wrote in “Rules for Writers,”
Even if you just sketch a rough outline on scratch paper with a topic list and arrows, making it will help the drafting of the paper go more smoothly. Putting a plan in place can also save you time later because you’ll be able to rearrange things even before you start writing. Having an outline doesn’t mean things won’t change as you go, but just having one can help ground you and give you a place to start.
Find a Friend, your T.A., your Professor, a relative, a Writing Center tutor, or any sympathetic and intelligent listener.
People are more accustomed to talking than writing, so it might be beneficial to explain your thinking out loud to someone before organizing the essay. Talking to someone about your ideas may also relieve pressure and anxiety about your topic.
If your paper is about Huckleberry Finn, a working thesis might be: “In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.” However, you might feel uncertain if your paper really follows through on the thesis as promised.
- The body should be unified: focused on expanding one central idea—the thesis of the essay.
- It should be developed: using examples, quotes, details to provide a clear and complete treatment of the subject.
- And it should be coherent: follow an ordered line of thinking from paragraph to paragraph and from sentence to sentence.