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•What exactly do we do when we compose a piece of writing?
•What kind of behavior, what stages, what activities do writers
become involved in before and during writing?
• What causes the “blocks” that most of us have experienced at
times when trying to write?
What is the purpose of this piece of writing?
Who am I writing this for?
Isn’t planning time-consuming, messy and
•Yes, planning does take time – and it can be ‘messy’.
•Academic writing is not a smooth, trouble-free
•Writing and planning CAN be enjoyable – just don’t
Write down all the ideas that come to your head
about the subject. Some ideas are connected.
Writing whatever comes to mind without worrying
about spelling, grammar, punctuation, or complete
Begin with the title: analyze it carefully
Consider areas of focus by drawing out sub-questions from the
‘In Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the prince mad?’
What is meant by ‘mad’?
Who has written what on this topic?
Is there a generally agreed response to this question?
If not, how and why do critics differ?
Think about what you already know that might be
relevant (it will probably be more than you
think)Write this down.
Generate ideas through speaking to fellow
students, brainstorming ideas together, freewriting
(writing continuously for five minutes or so – not
stopping at all; if you can’t think of what to say just
repeat the last phrase you wrote and carry on).
Look at what you’ve written down and decide what
is relevant to the title, discard the rest.
Eventually you must be clear about the order of
things. There is a time for spanning outwards
(playing with ideas, pulling on threads) and a time
to focus things (bring things back together, unify).
Put all your points in order and number them (is
there one that would seem to go first or one that
would seem to go last? Are there any two that are
a. Watch the following video.
a. Use any of the previous organizers to
plan a paragraph reacting to its
b. Write your paragraph and bring it
A clear indication of which areas you will be
covering, why they are important and how they
relate to the question.
A clear indication of how your argument is
going to unfold
Each point you’re going to be making (write
down each point in a single sentence).
How each point is going to be developed (jot
down the ‘skeleton structure’ of the paragraph).
If there is any danger of you straying from the
question, include a sentence saying how each point
you’re going to make relates to the question. (If you
can’t see how it relates to the title, cross it out: it’s a
waste of space.)
Which texts you’re going to refer to (jot down
titles, authors, page numbers and possibly
The order in which each point is to come (number
A few notes to get you started with the
introduction and conclusion (do these last: you can’t
know how you’re going to introduce or conclude
something until you’re clear about what you’re going
Universityof Roehamoton. Student Zone.How to study. (n.d.). Retrieved from Unit 5: Essay
Braine G. & May C. (1996). Writing from Sources. Mountain View: Mayfield
West Virginia Departament of Education. Retrieved from Graphic Organizers for