Friday, June 20, 2008

Writing an Effective Outline

Unless you are writing a very short, simple document, you should begin the writing process with an outline in order to guide your writing. An outline is a document that briefly summarizes the information that will be included in a paper, book, speech, or similar document. It shows the order in which the information will be presented and indicates the relationship of the pieces of information to each other.

Outlines are important because not only do they allow you to map your thoughts into a coherent, logical organization, they also let you know early in the writing process if an idea for a paper, book, or other project just isn't going to pan out because you don't have enough supporting material or information or because the idea simply isn't sound. Moreover, outlines indicate early on whether you have left out important information or added superfluous ideas. Fortunately, word processors have made writing outlines (and papers) much simpler because they make it very easy to add, delete, reorganize, or even completely revamp information as much and as often as necessary.

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