Drafting a Solid Outline


outline2Heather Harper I Borderline Press I April 12, 2016

When you write, do you create an before you begin? Or do you prefer to live dangerously and simply write your ideas as they come? Either way is acceptable, after all it is your work, and no one else’s. Personally, I am a fan of the outline. I like to think of an outline as a roadmap for the writer, or as the bare-bones skeleton of the itself.

To create an outline, the first step is to define the purpose of the writing. Is it persuasive, informational, or argumentative? Is it non-fiction or fiction? This is important to determine before you get started, because depending on the genre and purpose of the writing, you may need more or less information for your outline.

The standard format of an outline is based on the topic, subtopics, and points. The topic is the thesis statement or main idea, while subtopics provide information and analysis of the topic, and points emphasize and explain the subtopics. Your outline will eventually build to the conclusion, which will tie up all of your supporting points.

Now that you have your skeletal frame, it is time for review. Does your outline support the conclusion? If you’re outline is solid, the key words in each subtopic will guide your writing. If it seems like your framework is a little weak, feel free to revise accordingly to make your points fit with your analysis. Remember, outlines are (generally) optional, but they provide a solid foundation for your work and will help you stay organized and focused in your writing.


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