Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Organizing the Info

We've finished brainstorming. Now it's time to organize the info, to decide what we'll discuss first. Sometimes this won't be difficult because the topic will determine the organization, such as a paper on a process, or a journey. Or perhaps you are comparing and contrasting two things. But sometimes, many times, we aren't writing that sort of paper. And it can be difficult to decide in what order all the info goes, and because it's difficult, because I need this reminder more than any other, I'll end this blog with a quote from William Zinsser's On Writing Well:

"Different subjects call for different approaches. Your job is to present your material in the way that serves it best: to find the right voice and the right framework. Maybe you should be strongly present in your story; maybe not. Usually the material tells you at the start how it wants to be narrated. But after that the writer must be in charge, shaping and organizing. Organizing is the most unsung and untaught of the writing skills, but it's just as important as knowing how to write a clear and pleasing sentence. All your clear and pleasing sentences will add up to chaos if you don't keep remembering that writing is linear and sequential, that logic is the glue that holds it together, that tension must be maintained between every sentence and every paragraph, and that narrative--good old-fashioned storytelling--is what should pull the reader along without his ever noticing the tug. The only thing the reader should notice, subconsciously, is that you have made a sensible plan for the trip and know where you're going. Every step should be inevitable" (Zinsser 244).


Zinsser, William. On Writing Well. 4th ed. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1990.

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