One may begin with general observations on the topic, and then follow what is sometimes called the funnel organization to zero in on the thesis, which stands out in its position as the final thought of the first paragraph. All body paragraphs must support this all-important idea.
Organizing and Transitioning Effectively
A good thesis also suggests by its wording how the support that follows is organized. For instance, if the thesis says there are three reasons why businesses fail, the reader moves smoothly forward with the expectation that there will be three body paragraphs or sections, and each will explain one of these reasons.
Indeed, as fairy tales suggest, there is magic in the number three, a short essay usually has three body paragraphs. The idea that there are three, and that these three are then laid out one by one gives the reader a comfortable structure to move through.
To make it even easier for the reader to follow the argument, the essayist employs effective transitions that clearly show the relationships between the ideas: within sentences, from sentence to sentence, and from paragraph to paragraph. In this way the reader is able to mentally tick off the writer’s points one by one.
Once the body of the essay has been developed, the writer completes the argument in a paragraph of conclusion, referring back to the claim made in the original thesis.
Developing Solid Ideas by Using Written Outlines
Written outlines are great tools for essay writers. Outlining helps ensure that the content is organized, balanced and parallel, and shows where more support is needed. It also immediately reveals a weak or unworkable thesis or confused organization. The writer saves time and effort by making necessary revisions at the outline stage, since is much easier to revise an outline than a draft.
If the writer discovers while attempting to outline that the thesis cannot be adequately supported, there is no problem. After all, writing is a thinking process. A thesis is not written in stone. As the writer outlines and thinks about the topic, old ideas are developed and new ones come to mind. The writer simply works these into the outline.
Writing the First Draft
Outlining an essay is like framing a building. When the framing job is complete, the writer can fill in the structure. When the support is clearly outlined on paper, this is a straightforward and simple task. The introductory paragraph with its refined thesis is drafted, and the support paragraphs fleshed out. The constructed essay is now solid and stable. The writer completes a concluding paragraph that refers back clearly to the thesis, and the essay stands.
All that remains to be done is the finishing work. Just as a carpenter planes rough wood, the essay writer smooths out the language and sentence structure for clarity and flow. The work is carefully checked to ensure that if conforms to standards of grammar and mechanics, and voila! The building is complete. The reader is impressed. The carefully built essay is an imposing structure.