Easy steps for writing a strong outline for a 5 paragraph essay

Writing an essay is not just a task you complete for submission. It is training in discourse. Your essay can be an exposition, a debate, a narrative or a persuasion. The purpose of an essay is to present your thoughts and ideas in a clear and organized manner to the reader. At the end of reading a good essay, your reader should be able to understand you point of view. Your job is to convince the reader or inform that of an alternate position on a topic.

Essays are generally structured on the 5-paragraph format. The first paragraph is the introduction. You start with the topic of your essay and tell the reader what your point of view is, what are your reasons for it and how exactly you are going to present them in the subsequent paragraphs.

The body of your essay is the three paragraphs where you state each of your main points provide supporting evidence and link your point to the main topic. The conclusion is a restatement of the introduction where you ties everything together and present it to the reader.

To write a good essay, it is advisable to write an outline first. The outline of your essay can be in a linear or pictorial format. You write your topic first and the ideas stemming from it in a flow chart or a mind-node style picture. Your goal is to have all your thoughts and ideas organized on one sheet of paper. This gives you a bird’s eye view of the essay you are going to create. You can add and subtract ideas on this outline as you brainstorm and research.

The outline is the sketch that you make before you paint it with colors. Details at this point are unnecessary. You can just write down all the main thoughts you have on the topic and let your mind wander around these thoughts to come up with more ideas.

A tip on writing the outline: Color-code it. Use different colors for topic, main points, and supporting points and evidence. This will make your mind more organized and allow for clearer thinking. Color-coding will also make the job interesting and easy to decipher later.

Writing a strong outline makes for a strong essay. You can decode your diagram once all your background work is done. You will now find it easier and natural to write it in a flowing essay with smooth transitions from one paragraph to the next.


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