I need help Organizing Ideas into a Workable Arrangement for Writing


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Organizing Ideas into a Workable Arrangement for Writing

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Beginning with a Working Introductory Paragraph

Your introduction is crucial to the effectiveness of your essay. You don’t have to perfect the paragraph before moving on to the rest of your essay. Since we take a writing process approach that is inherently recursive, you may be best served by gathering your ideas and organizing topics and subtopics in an order that makes basic sense but can be rearranged and refined as you’re drafting.

Remember that you do not have to write your introduction first just because it appears first in the finished essay. As long as you have your thesis clearly in mind you can start right in on the body of your essay. Once you begin generating material, you may suddenly perceive an idea that will serve nicely as a beginning. Or if you jump into drafting the body paragraphs and postpone writing the introduction, your subconscious mind may provide you with the perfect opening. You may find that some of your best ideas come to you at unexpected times.

Write an Appealing Opening

Work especially hard on your opening sentence. You want to engage the interest of your readers immediately. If you begin like this,

“Eveline” is a very interesting short story by James Joyce.

no one is likely to read any further. Mention the author and title somewhere in your introduction (even if one or both appears in your title). Try to incorporate something specific in that first sentence. You might want to focus your readers’ attention on an incident that you consider significant.

In his short story “Eveline,” James Joyce portrays a young woman paralyzed by the need to make a decision that will change the course of her life.

Or you could start this way:

In James Joyce’s “Eveline,” we see a tired woman accustomed to the “odour of dusty cretonne” trying to muster courage to exchange her dreary existence for the unknown excitements of life with a “sailor chap” in exotic Buenos Ayres.

Or you might try this:

In the closing lines of James Joyce’s “Eveline,” the young woman of the title stands “passive, like a helpless animal,” watching her dreams of romance and excitement fade into mist.

Construct a Tentative Thesis

Even more important than an arresting opening sentence is the need to let your readers know somewhere in the introductory paragraph what the paper is going to be about. But try to avoid stating your main point too bluntly.

I am going to show that Eveline stays home with her domineering father because she lacks courage to go with Frank.

Beginning the thesis with “I am going to show” is stylistically ineffective because that part is already understood. Instead, describe the direction of your thought, the case that you’ll present within your essay, using vivid language. Here’s an example:

Having been thoroughly beaten down by her brutal, domineering father, Eveline lacks the courage to go with Frank in search of her own happiness.

That sentence includes some psychologically powerful words – beaten, down, brutal, domineering, courage, and happiness–which invites a reader to continue.

Writing Task

Post here a tentative outline of your Essay 1, including a major claim or main interpretive point to act as your tentative thesis and three to five minor claims, arranged in logical order. (Please note that a tentative outline or thesis means you use it as a starting point at the beginning of your writing process, but as you develop your ideas and move into drafting and revision, your outline or thesis will probably change.)


As we do for all discussions, after posting, REPLY to at least two other classmates by using thoughtful, respectful language to refer to a specific point made in the classmate’s post and then connecting with your own points. (Each reply should be 3-5 sentences to receive credit.)

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