Chapter 3: page 18

Types of Writing Plans

Graphic Organizers: Clustering and Diagramming

Clusters or diagrams look just how they sound. They are a non-linear plan or picture of your essay. Using these types of graphic organizers, you can free associate, link ideas together, and add analysis as you work with your ideas. There are countless versions of graphic organizers so you can be creative as you organize your topics and ideas seeing how they relate to one another. Typically, you begin with your main idea and branch out from it. Where you choose to place your main idea on your page is up to you. Have fun and see where your journey unfolds.

Mind Mapping

Thanks to Dan, you read about these in chapter one. As you read, Mind Maps are similar to Clustering and Diagramming because they visually organize and represent your thoughts. To begin, write a single word or draw an image that represents the essay’s thesis statement, main idea or concept. Then, from that word, use words or images that relate to the main idea by branching out from it. Next, create “sub-branches” that further explore or illustrate the idea. Mind maps are usually colorful and include images and/or sketches.

Venn Diagram

Perfect for comparing and contrasting, most of us have already met the Venn Diagram at some point in our writing careers. The Venn Diagram shows the logical relationships between two or more topics and the union between them is visually represented by the overlap of whatever shape you choose to use—circle, square, rectangle, triangle, or whatever shape that suits your fancy.


A common way to organize your ideas is the good ol’ outline. You can use an outline to determine the order in which you will address the topics in your paper and see your ideas from in linear fashion, which will help you see where you need more evidence to support your topic.  Or you might make a connection between your topic and evidence, so you can generate and/or develop your analysis.

Looking at your writing outlined, you may start to see the logical argument you are making with more clarity.


Just as it sounds, one way to gather your ideas together is to create a list of them. Once you have a list, you can make notations to designate the order of your topics and ideas. Or you can list them in the order you think you will address them in your essay like an outline. Either way, leave some space so you can build on to the list, since writing plans help writers generate and understand the connections between their ideas.

Talk and Record

What about telling someone about your essay? Most of your friends would be happy to listen to you talk through your paper. For this technique, record yourself telling someone about the essay assignment and the treasures you pulled from your Discovery Draft. If your audience is helpful, they will ask you questions. And you may find that you start explaining connections that you did not write down or asking questions yourself. Exploring your ideas out loud! After you have shared, listen to your recording and write out your ideas using one of the aforementioned Writing Plans.

Please keep in mind that though you may plan your essay in a variety of ways, consider the relationship between the purpose, the intended audience, and the topic of your essay. Understanding the purpose—for instance classification, compare and contrast, argument essays—can help you determine which writing plan to use based on how you want to organize your thoughts and ideas. Understanding your intended audience, for instance their background, will assist you in deciding what to include, underscore, explain, and leave out. And seeing your relationship as a writer to your intended audience and the topic will help you develop your ideas and show the connections between them.

Taking a step away from your writing plan and looking at it after a pause, you will see where and how you might explain connections, develop the connection/s you see between your topics and evidence, which is your analysis.

Image Source: Patrick Fore on;

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

Jodi Picoult


Step Five: Drafting

Now, you have your beautiful Writing Plan that will take you along the journey of writing your essay. With your Writing Plan and the assignment near you, you will not get lost along the way, so be certain to refer to them often.

As you write your rough draft, use your Writing Plan to create a thesis statement that addresses the assignment’s task. From your thesis statement, pull from your Writing Plan to create your body paragraphs following the TEA paragraphing structure, which I go over in grave detail in Chapter Three. Please keep in mind with TEA paragraphs, you should include at least three pieces of evidence to address the topic and your evidence should be 30% while your analysis is 70% of your argument. If you develop your topic sentence with at least three pieces of evidence and analysis of it, you will need more than one body paragraph, at least two, to prove your topic sentence.

Goodbye five-paragraph essay — that is great for high school level writing, but for academic and professional writing take your time showing with your evidence your topic in your topic sentence and with your analysis, which connects your topic and opinion in your topic sentence while proving your topic sentence and thesis statement.

Once you have drafted your thesis statement and the body of your essay, read through it and consider, what you need to share with your intended audience in your introduction so they will understand the body of your essay. And lastly, for your conclusion, take heed! Rebel against summarizing what you have already written. You have one paragraph left with your intended audience, so inspire them by making a call to action, relating the topic of your essay to an aspect of the world in which we live, or leaving them with something to contemplate or reflect on. If you broaden your discussion about your essay’s topic, you will keep your intended audience’s attention while inviting them to engage in the topic in some way. And if you can, end on a positive note.

Discussion Forum

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