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From the Scratch Outline to the Essay Draft

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A sample of a scratch outline and an essay draft based on it with instructions.

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From the Scratch Outline to the Essay Draft

  1. 1. From Developing a Scratch Outline to Writing a DraftVicki Lague2011<br />
  2. 2. The Scratch Outline<br />Thesis (introduction)<br />Main Idea #1 (1st body paragraph)<br />General Statements<br />Concrete Detail<br />Interpretation (optional)<br />Main Idea #2 (2ndbody paragraph)<br />General Statements<br />Concrete Detail<br />Interpretation (Optional)<br />This is a basic scratch outline for an essay with two body paragraphs. I’m going to take you through my journey from scratch outline to draft.<br />
  3. 3. The Writing Prompt <br />Here’s a phrase writing prompt:<br />adecisionthat changed my life<br />Key word<br />Subject<br />Point<br />The key word tells you to name the subject concretely in your thesis statement.<br />Since the point is “changed my life,” I have to make sure that the decision I choose is one that is life-changing.<br />
  4. 4. The Thesis Statement<br />Going to collegeis a decision that changed my life.<br />Subject<br />Point<br />Notice that words from the writing prompt are used to create the thesis statement. This results in a thesis that is focused on what the prompt requires for the assignment.<br />If your prompt is a question or statement, you can still use words from the prompt to create your thesis. <br />
  5. 5. Start the Scratch Outline<br />Thesis:Going to college is a decision that changed my life.<br />Main Idea #1 (1st body paragraph)<br />General Statements<br />Concrete Detail<br />Interpretation (optional)<br />Main Idea #2 (2nd body paragraph)<br />General Statements<br />Concrete Detail<br />Interpretation (Optional)<br />Now, it’s time to generate some main ideas for my essay.<br />
  6. 6. Using Reporters’ Questions <br />Why did my life change?<br /> I went to college.<br />Where?<br />Who?<br />What?<br />How?<br />When?<br />How?<br />An easy way to find main ideas is to ask reporters’ questions about the thesis. <br />Most of the time, you should ask why about your thesis: “Why did my life change?” The answer is simple: “My life changed because I went to college.” In this case, asking why just brings me right back to the prompt’s subject. So, I have to ask a different question. <br />
  7. 7. Using Reporters’ Questions<br />Why? <br />Where?<br />Who?<br />What?<br />How? <br />First, I quit my job to study full time.<br />I also discovered that I could earn good grades.<br />When?<br />How?<br />How did my life change? I quit my job to study full time. Is there another answer? Yes! I also discovered that I could earn good grades.<br />With two answers, I have two possible body paragraphs. If I were actually going to write an essay to support this thesis, I would find as many answers as there really are. Later, when I’m revising, I can decide to leave some out if I wanted to. <br />
  8. 8. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Thesis: Going to college is a decision that changed my life.<br />Main Idea #1: First, I quit my job to study full time.<br />General Statements<br />Concrete Detail<br />Interpretation (optional)<br />Main Idea #2: I also discovered that I could earn good grades.<br />General Statements<br />Concrete Detail<br />Interpretation (Optional)<br />Topic sentences with transitions.<br />Once I have main ideas, I need to list support for each of them.<br />
  9. 9. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Thesis: Going to college is a decision that changed my life.<br />Main Idea #1: First, I quit my job to study full time.<br />Couldn’t study and work at the glass bottle plant <br />Exhausting work<br />Rotating shifts<br />Parents agreed<br />Didn’t have to pay board any more<br />Parents agreed to pay my living expenses<br />General Statements<br />
  10. 10. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Thesis: Going to college is a decision that changed my life.<br />Main Idea #1: First, I quit my job to study full time.<br />Couldn’t study and work at the glass bottle plant <br />Exhausting work<br />Rotating shifts<br />Parents agreed<br />Didn’t have to pay board any more<br />Parents agreed to pay my living expenses<br />I will have to add concrete details as I write the draft.<br />Specific details<br />
  11. 11. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Main Idea #2:I also discovered that I could earn good grades.<br />My new “job” was to study to get the best grades possible and help around the house<br />Came home after class everyday and studied that day’s work<br />Prepared short answers to the study questions for history class <br />Read any reading assignments<br />Completed math assignment<br />Stopped in time to help Mom with dinner<br />Helped prepare dinner and set the table<br />Washed and put dishes away<br />Relax for the evening with family<br />General Statement<br />
  12. 12. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Main Idea #2:I also discovered that I could earn good grades.<br />My new “job” was to study to get the best grades possible and help around the house<br />Came home after class everyday and studied that day’s work<br />Prepared short answers to the study questions for history class <br />Read any reading assignments<br />Completed math assignment<br />Stopped in time to help Mom with dinner<br />Helped prepare dinner and set the table<br />Washed and put dishes away<br />Relax for the evening with family<br />Specific details<br />
  13. 13. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Main Idea #2:I also discovered that I could earn good grades.<br />My new “job” was to study to get the best grades possible and help around the house<br />Came home after class everyday and studied that day’s work<br />Prepared short answers to the study questions for history class <br />Read any reading assignments<br />Completed math assignment<br />Stopped in time to help Mom with dinner<br />Helped prepare dinner and set the table<br />Washed and put dishes away<br />Relax for the evening with family<br />Some concrete details for the draft. Make more concrete and add more details.<br />
  14. 14. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Did OK in high school, but didn’t have high grades to get into college<br />Had no idea what was going on in chemistry, but passed anyway<br />Just passed math classes<br />Did better in English classes<br />Now, getting high grades in all my classes<br />Really understood what I was doing<br />Had to repeat high school algebra, but got A’s in math classes, including pre-calculus<br />Easily got A’s in all my classes<br />General Statements<br />
  15. 15. Filling in the Scratch Outline<br />Did OK in high school, but didn’t have high grades to get into college<br />Had no idea what was going on in chemistry, but passed anyway<br />Just passed math classes<br />Did better in English classes<br />Now, getting high grades in all my classes<br />Really understood what I was doing<br />Had to repeat high school algebra, but got A’s in math classes, including pre-calculus<br />Easily got A’s in all my classes<br />Specific and concrete details<br />At this point, I have completed the P and O in POWER. Now I can start W.<br />
  16. 16. The Draft -Introduction<br /> People make decisions every day. Some are minor, like which shirt or dress to wear, while others are major. Once in a while, important decisions change people’s lives in fantastic ways. That happened to me years ago when what seemed like an obvious decision sent my life in a whole new direction. Going to college was a decision that changed my life.<br />General to specific lead-in.<br />Thesis<br />
  17. 17. The Draft -Body <br />I decided that info on why I quit was needed, so I wrote a new, unplanned body paragraph for my first topic sentence.<br />First, I quit my job to study full time. Actually, it was not that simple. My life changed even before I started college. I was bored working a dead-end, first shift job at the local textile factory and did not want to spend the rest of my life packing giant spools of yarn into cardboard boxes that dried out my hands and numbed my brain. I had to get out, but had no skills. I knew going to college could get me a better job, but I also had no money, so the first thing I had to do was save some cash.<br />Topic sentence<br />General, specific, and concrete details<br />
  18. 18. The Draft -Body<br />The key work “quit” from the topic sentence ties this paragraph to the previous one. <br /> I quit the textile job and found a better paying one at the glass bottle plant. I knew I couldn’t count on my parents to pay my tuition and books, so I put my college plans on hold for a year and a half and saved everything I could to pay my way. It was a hot, dirty job inspecting and packing glass bottles. However, it was also $5.00 an hour more than the old job. The work was exhausting, though, mostly because of the rotating shifts. For five days, say Sunday through Thursday, I would work on first shift from 7 AM to 3 PM. Then, after two<br />General, specific, and concrete details<br />
  19. 19. The Draft -Body<br />days off, I would switch to second shift. It almost felt like two and a half days off because I did not have to report until 3 PM on Sunday. The work week for third shift was Sunday through Thursday again, from 11 PM to 7 AM on Friday morning. I was exhausted from working, but Friday was one of my days off. I had to stay up as long as I could to get the most out of my day and get used to being awake for the next first shift. Most of the time, I felt sick to my stomach from lack of sleep. I knew I could not study and also continue<br />More general, specific, and concrete details<br />
  20. 20. The Draft -Body<br />Repeated key word<br /> to work at the plant. I finallyquitagain, but after one and a half years, I had saved up lots of cash to pay my way to college. <br /> It was such a relief not to work at the plant anymore and spend my time studying. My parents agreed that I should quitwork and that that as long as I went to college full time, I would no longer have to pay room and board. Instead of my helping them out financially, they would help me out. <br />More general, specific, and concrete details: This paragraph is quite long, so I picked a logical spot to break it up again.<br />I have three body paragraphs to support my first topic sentence.<br />
  21. 21. The Draft -Body<br />Notice the transitional phrase most importantly, which indicates order of importance to organize my main ideas.<br />In my first year in college, my most important discovery was that I could earn good grades.In college, my new “job” was to study to get the best grades possible and help around the house. I came home after class every day and studied that day’s work. First, I prepared short answers to the study questions for history class. The professor told us he would choose from the study questions for the midterm and final exams, so I wrote up the answers and memorized<br />Topic sentence<br />General, specific, and concrete details<br />
  22. 22. The Draft -Body<br />them. After every class, I had new questions to write up and memorize and reviewed the answers I had already written. Also, I made sure to read any reading assignments for my next day’s classes. Finally, I completed my math assignment. Math had always been hard for me, so now I took my time and tried to complete every problem that had been assigned. When I could not finish the problem, I made a note about it so that I could ask questions in class. I kept working<br />More general, specific, and concrete details<br />
  23. 23. The Draft -Body<br />until it got close to dinner time. Then, I stopped to help Mom. We cooked together. I set the table and did the clean-up after dinner. Sometimes, I had time to relax with my family, but often I had to return to my room to finish the rest of my homework. <br /> The work did pay off, though. I had passing grades in high school, but didn’t have the grades to get into a good college. Chemistry had been a mystery to me though I passed anyway. I had no idea<br />More general, specific, and concrete details: This paragraph is quite long, too, so I picked a logical spot to break it up.<br />
  24. 24. The Draft<br />how that happened. I had just barely passed most of my math classes, sometimes by only one point. I was better in English, but could not get a good score on the SATs with high school English classes alone. Now, however, I really understood what I was doing, or at least was smart enough to ask questions when I was stumped. I did have to repeat high school algebra because I could not remember any of it, but this time, I got A’s in all my math<br />More general, specific, and concrete details: This paragraph is quite long, too, so I picked a logical spot to break it up.<br />
  25. 25. The Draft<br />classes, including pre-calculus, where I stopped taking math. In fact, with all that studying, I easily earned A’s in all my classes. Here I was in college, a so-so high school student who had a 4.0 GPA! <br /> When I started going to college, my life certainly changed a great deal. I was living a lifestyle I had worked for, meeting new people and looking forward to a good career someday where I would be fulfilled rather than bored. What I<br />End of second body paragraph<br />Start of conclusion<br />
  26. 26. The Draft<br />did not know that first year was that my good grades would earn me a seat at Brown University and this high school graduate who could not wait to leave the classroom would eventually spend most of her working life teaching in one.<br />End of conclusion<br />The concluding paragraph goes back to the idea that making a decision can lean to fantastic and unexpected results, an idea I used in my lead-in. This circles the paper back to where I began and is a much more interesting way to end an essay that to simply restate the thesis and summarize the main ideas.<br />

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