Prewriting. Step 1 of the writing process. The purpose of prewriting. Prewriting is the idea stage of the writing process. When you prewrite, you should search your mind for ideas for topics and consider your purpose for writing.
Prewriting Step 1 of the writing process
The purpose of prewriting • Prewriting is the idea stage of the writing process. • When you prewrite, you should search your mind for ideas for topics and consider your purpose for writing. • Later, you can use prewriting to discover what details and information you already know to include in your piece and what information or research you still need.
Getting started • Once you’ve come up with some topics, make certain they meet the criteria of being interesting to you, important to you, and are worth researching and arguing.
Choosing a topic • If you think your subject is boring, your reader probably will sense that and find your essay a chore to read. Who wants to spend a week researching something they don’t care about and who wants to spend a month writing about something they find boring? • If the topic is not important to you, you will end up with a “straw man” argument. Just because you don’t know as much about a topic as you thought you did doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it.
Choosing a topic • Just because you don’t know as much about a topic as you thought you did doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. • If you find yourself in that situation, you should decide whether or not you are willing to put the necessary work into researching. • If you aren’t willing to do the work and you go ahead with that topic, your audience will be able to see that you are uninformed and your arguments are weak because of that
Why can’t I just jump into writing? • Prewriting can not only help you identify possible topics, it can also help you see what you already know about a subject or what you need to know to state your case. It is much easier to organize your thoughts if you have many to choose from or at least a starting point for research.
Prewriting has never helped me in the past, am I doing it wrong? • There are almost as many ways to prewrite as there are writers. Sure, there are the basic brainstorming methods of clustering and freewriting but many writers put their own spins on these after a while. And there are these options: • Spider Map • KWS Chart • Tree Chart • Triangle Chart • Persuasion Map • Planning Chart
Spider map detail detail Main idea detail Main idea detail Topic Main idea detail detail Main idea detail detail
PAT Planning Chart Purpose /Audience/Topic Write answers to these questions. Circle one. • to tell a real story • to tell a made-up story • to describe a person, place, or thing • to explain how to do something • to find something out • to give an opinion • to ask something • other • 1. Who will read this? • ___________________________ • 2. What do they already know about • my topic? • ___________________________ • 3. What do I want them to know? • ___________________________ • 4. What part of my topic would • interest them most? • ___________________________
Tree map detail detail detail detail topic
Closing in on a topic • After using these brainstorming methods on your possible topics, you may find that there is one subject that you have many more ideas about. • Knowing that you have that much information and that many ideas available may be a sign that that topic is the one you should use.
I have an idea; I’ve done some prewriting, now what? • Have you developed a thesis statement for your argument? • Have you identified your audience? • Have you considered what evidence you will use or need to find? • Have you come up with supporting details that help illustrate your point?
Organizing your thoughts Making an outline
Organizing your ideas and evidence • Do you know how to make an outline? • While making an outline can be difficult, it is an effective way to organize your thoughts before you try to write a full-fledged essay. • Outlining is also useful when you respond to prompts or you need to organize class notes.
Outlining an Introduction • I. The Introduction (First Paragraph)A. Thesis statement (this sentence is your main idea/ the argument you are trying to make)B. OpinionC. Grabber (this can be an anecdote, a humorous example, a definition, informal evidence, or anything else that will pull in your reader )
Outlining your 1st body Paragraph • II. Body Paragraph 1 (Reason #1) ---most writers begin with their weakest reason/ argumentA. Supporting Detail --- support for your argument:“This is true because…”B. Supporting Detail/ evidence---an appeal to reason or emotion: “Studies show…” or “ a relative of mine…”C. Supporting Detail/ evidence---your strongest evidence or most convincing statement
Keep in mind the following: Paragraphs that are full of details and supporting evidence are not only more convincing, but also more interesting. You shouldn’t stop at three supporting details or types of evidence just because the sample outline only shows three lines for them. Finally, each body paragraph should be building to your strongest argument and most powerful evidence and details.
Outlining your 2nd body Paragraph • III. Body Paragraph 2 (Reason #2)---next strongest argument in topic sentence form.A. Supporting Detail --- support for your argument:“I know someone who…” or “ A similar event occurred in…” B. Supporting Detail/evidence --- support for your argument and/or a refutation of the other side’s argument: “ While some people believe X, most experts agree Y…”C. Supporting Detail/evidence---your strongest evidence or most convincing statement
Outlining your 3rd body paragraph • IV. Body Paragraph 3 (Reason #3)--- your strongest, most powerful argument in topic sentence formA. Supporting Detail--- support for your argument: “Even people who support X have to agree that Y could help the situation…”B. Supporting Detail/evidence --- support for your argument: “67% of Americans are in favor of….”C. Supporting Detail/evidence---this is one of your last chances to convince your audience:“Surely with this much evidence and support, law X should be…”
Outlining your conclusion • V. The Conclusion (Fifth Paragraph)A. Opinion B. Clear call for actionC. Final thoughts, remarks, push to persuade your audience • Your conclusion is your last shot at convincing your audience to agree with you. Avoid copying your body paragraph topic sentences, try to remind your reader(s) of what your main arguments are without repeating yourself.
“Every minute spent in organizing is an hour earned” While prewriting can seem hard, boring, or even like a unnecessary step, it can save you time and frustration later in the writing process. Having a clear idea of where you are going or what you need will help you write more effectively.