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Outlines and Drafting

Outlines and Drafting

Author: Mackenzie W

Understand how outlines can be used in drafting.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, everyone. I'm Mackenzie, and today we're learning about outlining and drafting. Are you the type of person who likes to plan things before you do them? In this tutorial, we'll learn about an overview of outlining and drafting. We'll take a look at an example of using an outline to create a draft, and we'll discuss plagiarism.

We'll begin by discussing the connection between two parts of the writing process-- outlining and drafting. Once we have a solid outline created for our piece of writing, we can use that to create a draft. The outline is a tool, or a map that we use, that shows us where to go to begin writing a draft of our paper.

The great thing about using an outline is that it's just a list of your ideas in the order that you want them. It's completely changeable. It's temporary. It's not permanent.

Because of the way that the writing process works, we know that we can go back and we can make changes if after we start writing the draft we decide that our outline doesn't really fit our needs. We also know based on the nature of the writing process that we'll need to create multiple versions or multiple drafts. This may mean that we need to revise the outline itself, or maybe we need to revise our drafts. There are very interrelated.

Whatever we do, it's important that it's based on our thesis. The thesis is the basis of the outline and therefore the basis of the draft itself. Everything has to match. It all comes back to the thesis-- the main argument or statement that we're making in the writing.

Another great thing about using an outline to create a draft is that it helps us to avoid writer's block. If you're writing your draft and you suddenly get stuck, you're not sure what comes next, take a look at your outline. It gave you your list of ideas in the order you wanted them. It helps you to figure out what comes next in the draft. These are the ways in which outlining and drafting are very connected, very interrelated.

We are now going to take a look at an example of an outline with a working thesis. And we'll learn how to use the outline and the thesis to begin creating a draft of a piece of writing.

So far, here's an outline and a working thesis I created for an essay I'm going to write about manners. I have a few main points determined, and I took some notes about some subpoints, some other ideas I want to include within those main points.

This is my map to show me where to go when I begin writing a draft of this piece of writing. Everything is going to go back to my thesis. The thesis is that "the decrease in manners in the United States poses societal concerns, and focus should be placed on improving manners." That's the central idea, so I need to make sure that everything I write in my draft relates back to that idea.

I'll take a look at the main points that I have determined so far in my outline. My main points are-- number one-- manners in the United States are disappearing; number two-- reasons why lack of manners is bad; and number three-- ways to improve manners. When I did my pre-writing and my planning for my draft, these are the ideas that I thought best supported my thesis. Now I can begin drafting. I've decided what my main points are going to be, and I've even got a few details included to help me to figure out what to say about those main points to help to support my thesis.

Perhaps I begin drafting with main point number one. I'm going to start to write down all of my ideas. It doesn't have to sound perfect because I know that I'm going to go back and revise eventually. In this part of the draft, I'm trying to explain why it is that matters in the United States are disappearing. I have a story about being in a grocery store and witnessing rude behavior. I may include that as a way to draw the reader into this topic.

And then I'm going to include some facts and evidence. I know that I might need to do some research to find some outside information to include in my draft. I write down all of the ideas I have related to the idea that manners are disappearing-- my first main point. Once I feel like I have sufficiently supported that main point, I can move on in my draft to the next main point, which is reasons why lack of manners is bad. Some of the ideas I came up with so far are that they caused a decrease in public decency, and they have an impact on mental and emotional well-being.

It's my job now to write down all of the ideas I have related to this main point and my subpoints. Again, I may incorporate some outside research so that I can best support the claim I'm making in my thesis. It always goes back to the thesis.

Once I feel like I have described everything I need to for main point number two, I'll move on to main point number three, which is ways to improve manners. After I feel as though I have included all of the ideas I need to to support each of my main points so that the reader can understand where I'm coming from with my main points, I have to ask myself if I'm supporting my thesis with everything I've said in my draft.

I may decide that I need to change one of my main points. Maybe I feel as though my thesis isn't completely supported yet, and I need to add an additional main point or additional subpoints to my existing main points. Or maybe I feel as though one of my main points doesn't do much to support my thesis.

Maybe I realize that my main points are very unbalanced. Perhaps one of my main points is very small, while another is very large. Perhaps I decide that main point number one doesn't need to be as long as the others because it does less to support the thesis.

The thesis is not trying to defend the fact that manners are disappearing. The thesis is already stating that the manor's have, in fact, disappeared. So perhaps I decide to develop my other main points in more depth to better support my thesis. If I decide that this isn't the direction I want to go with my draft, I can always change the thesis to better fit the ideas that I want in my writing. This example helps to show us the ways in which we use an outline to begin creating a draft of a piece of writing.

Because creating an outline and creating a draft of a piece of writing involved coming up with our own original ideas, we have to take a moment to think about plagiarism because this is a real concern when it comes to this stage in the writing process. Plagiarism is when we use someone else's work and present it as though it's our own work. And this could be intentional or unintentional.

You might do it on purpose. Maybe you copy and paste a paper, put your name on it, and pretend that it's your own work. That would be a serious offense. That could potentially be even illegal, depending on what you plagiarized. Or plagiarism could be unintentional. This might be accidentally failing to give credit to an outside source of information or piece of work that you used in your own work.

Having an outline and a draft helps us to avoid plagiarism. If you have clearly created all of your own original ideas and supported it with a strong thesis, then you translated all of that into a draft, you know that you have said things in your own words. It helps make sure you're not accidentally plagiarizing and you're not accidentally using the work of someone else and misrepresenting that. We have to avoid plagiarism because when it comes time to create our own ideas, we can't rely too much on the ideas of others.

In this tutorial, we learned about an overview of outlining and drafting. We looked at an example of using an outline to create a draft, and we discussed plagiarism. Better planning leads to better writing. I'm Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.

Terms to Know

An individual iteration of an essay or other piece of writing.