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Transcript of The Outline
A Writing Center Workshop
What belongs in an outline?
The Introduction &
Why is the outline also known as the skeleton?
The outline is the backbone of the essay: it holds the essay together. Similarly, your skeleton is what keeps your body together. Without your skeleton, how would you move around?
You really have to have a working thesis and main points nailed down before beginning the outline process. Without the thesis, there is no way to know what the essay's purpose is. This is why the thesis is the "head" of the outline or skeleton.
A hook and background information can also be part of the outline, but you don't have to give these your full concentration until you begin drafting.
The "body" of the essay
Main Points & Supporting Details:
The Body Paragraphs
The vertebrae are like main points, and the ribs, which stretch out from the vertebrae, are like the supporting details. These make up the "body" of the essay.
The supporting details branch out from the main points.
A tip about main points
Remember that, for as many main points as you have, you must have the same number of body paragraphs. The main points should appear in the same order in the body paragraphs as they are presented in the introduction.
What does the essay stand on?
At this point in the essay, the reader should feel like the essay is substantial; not only do we stand on our feet, but we also walk, kick, and swim with them. What should the audience do with the information in your essay?
Summarize your main points and restate--not REPEAT--the thesis.