Critical Paper Step Two: Creating an Outline

Gillespie, period___________
English 10
Critical Paper Step Two: Creating an Outline
Ok, so far we’ve read our major work, we’ve thought about the topics, we’ve picked out
a general idea and then we developed it into a thesis, the point we are going to argue in
your paper.
Now, we need a plan. Just like architects draw up a blue print before constructing a
building, writers need to have a map, an organized structure. Here is where the outline
An outline is:
A logical, general description
A schematic summary
An organizational pattern
A visual and conceptual design of your writing
An outline reflects logical thinking and clear classification.
Helps you organize your ideas
Presents your material in a logical form
Shows the relationships among ideas in your writing
Constructs an ordered overview of your writing
Defines boundaries and groups
o Nouns should match nouns, verbs should match verbs, etc.
o For example: “Paul’s Experiences at School,” “Paul’s Experiences at
Boot Camp,” “Paul’s Experiences at the Front,” "Paul’s Experiences at
Home,” etc.
o Although parallel structure is desired, logical and clear writing should not
be sacrificed simply to maintain parallelism. (For example, there are times
when nouns and gerunds at the same level of an outline are acceptable.)
Reasonableness and flexibility of form is preferred to rigidity.
o Items which are of equal significance have comparable numeral or letter
designations: an A is equal to a B, a 1 to a 2, an a to a b, etc
o Move from the general to specific or from abstract to concreteo I Major Area (most general)
 A. Subtopic
 B. Subtopic
 1. Specific example
 2. Specific example
 a. Most specific
 b. Most specific
o There can never be an A without a B, a 1 without a 2, an a without a b, etc.
o You must always have two parts, but you can have three without needing
Note: You must have at least three major areas of support (Roman numerals). You may
have and need more.
Note: You do not include an introduction or conclusion in your outline.
Note: See page 7 in your North Penn Writing Guide.
When you start to develop your outline, you should:
Proper heading (double spaced)
Major area or development
Major area of development
Major area of development
Major area of development