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Pre-Writing and Outlining. ICS 139w 08/08/2011. Syllabus now available. http :// /. What is prewriting?. First stage of the writing process p rewriting d rafting r evising e diting publishing Prewriting is about figuring out what to write.

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pre writing and outlining

Pre-Writing and Outlining

ICS 139w


syllabus now available
Syllabus now available

what is prewriting
What is prewriting?
  • First stage of the writing process
    • prewriting
    • drafting
    • revising
    • editing
    • publishing
  • Prewriting is about figuring out what to write
methods for prewriting
Methods for prewriting
  • Brainstorming
  • Looping (freewriting)
  • Mind-mapping
  • Outlining
  • Goal: get as many ideas on paper as possible
    • generate first, filter later
  • Start with a blank page and write down anything
    • Don’t worry if it’s a good idea or not, just get it down
  • Once finished, review for good ideas
brainstorming exercise
Brainstorming Exercise
  • Individually, brainstorm as many ideas for technological “systems” as you can
    • Topics for Assignment 2
    • Can be familiar or unfamiliar
    • Software
      • an application, a website, a game, etc
    • Hardware
      • the newest gadget or device, etc
    • More abstract "system”
      • a network protocol, a socio-technical system, etc

Share with a neighbor!

pitfalls of brainstorming
Pitfalls of Brainstorming
  • Group vs. individual brainstorming sessions
    • Nominal groups > collocated groups
  • Fear of evaluation
  • Limited communication channels (blocking)
  • Free riding
looping freewriting
Looping (freewriting)
  • Write down all your thoughts on a subject
    • generate first, filter later
  • Good for coming up with interesting ideas
  • This is prewriting – do not turn in something like this!
    • stream-of-consciousness not very effective for technical writing
mind mapping
  • A way of generating ideas and beginning to organize them
    • Start with a topic / important word
    • Write other important words around it
    • Connect related items
    • Repeat

Group mind-mapping:


  • A sequential summary of the document
  • Can be formal or informal
  • Can outline at multiple levels of detail
    • section-level, paragraph-level, sentence-level
  • Topic 1
    • Item 1
      • detail
      • detail
    • Item 2
  • Topic 2
    • Item 1

Topic 1

1) idea 1

2) idea 2

-- question ?

potential answer

- other idea

Topic 2

structure and organization
Structure and Organization
  • Intro – Body – Conclusion
  • 5-paragraph essay
  • Others?
  • Structure recurses!
    • Can have intro, body, conclusion at all levels
  • Jump to locations in expository writing
    • Table of Contents
  • Make point first in persuasive writing
    • Or build to a conclusion
  • No one correct structure
example outlines expository writing
Example Outlines: Expository writing
  • Automatically-generated outline
  • What does this outline tell us about the structure?
example outlines technical d ocumentation
Example Outlines: Technical Documentation
  • Documentation
  • Tutorials
  • APIs
example outlines research papers
Example Outlines: Research Papers

Standard Format:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Related Work
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Future Work
  • Conclusion
  • References
headings and titles
Headings and Titles
  • Outlines  Section Headings
    • allows for quick navigation
    • helps the reader stay situated
    • breaks up the paper
  • Titles
    • Not always necessary in papers
    • Required for some cases
      • e.g., web site titles
    • Informative and engaging: it’s what people judge your paper by!
      • full-sentence titles
stress free outlining
Stress-free Outlining

Be comfortable

    • Doesn’t have to be perfect initially
    • Can outline and change things around without committing

Not a required formal step, but is very helpful

    • Can outline almost anything (emails, etc)
    • Solution for being understood even while nervous
  • Outline can be understood without having to “write”
    • (without worrying about the grammar or style elements)
    • If understandable, then you’ve already solved half the problem
homework for wednesday
Homework for Wednesday
  • Decide on a system for Assignment 2
    • (can use an example from our in-class brainstorming)
    • non-specific Facebook is off limits
  • Bring in a clean outline (hard copy) for peer editing
    • should outline at least to the paragraph level
    • does not need to be formal, but should be readable
  • Remember to check the assignment instructions!
peer editing
Peer Editing
  • Practice editing papers and responding to others’ writing
  • Multiple eyes catch multiple problems
  • Get comfortable sharing work with others
giving good feedback
Giving Good Feedback
  • First rule: be honest and kind
    • “looks okay” doesn’t help anyone
    • If you react to a paper or something feels wrong, point it out
  • Mutual Respect
    • Constructive criticism about the text, not the author
    • Be pleasant, helpful, and professional
  • Also give feedback on writing strengths!
giving good feedback1
Giving Good Feedback
  • Pretend you are the target reader
    • e.g.: you are the hiring manager; you are a new system user; etc.
    • Don’t rely on your own knowledge or context!
  • Give suggestions for fixes and improvements
    • Try and figure out WHY something this wrong
  • Don’t just look for grammar – editing != proofreading
    • Also check organization, argument effectiveness, etc.
  • Editing tips apply
    • read aloud, look things up, etc
using peer editing
Using Peer Editing
  • Pay attention to the feedback from others!
  • No one (not even Joel or Dmitri) will catch everything
    • edit and edit again; iterate and iterate again
peer editing resumes and cover letters
Peer-Editing: Resumes and Cover Letters
  • Exchange and edit Resumes/Cover Letters
    • Use worksheet as a guide
  • Exchange with at least two (2) classmates
    • Can also ask Joel or Dmitri to edit, but need two others
  • You will need to turn your edit sheets on Wednesday
    • (you can use the comments for editing before then)
  • Resumes due Tuesday Midnight to EEE Dropbox
    • (EEE so you can read my comments!)
    • Bring your editing sheets to class on Wednesday to turn in
  • Wednesday: bring complete outline for Assignment 2 for peer-editing
    • hard copy so we can see what edits have been made to it.