Thompson Rivers University

How to Turn Your Brainstorm into an Essay

  Posted on: November 19, 2018

by Natalie Stewart

After brainstorming, you will have a lot of different ideas to organize. Here are some tips to help you turn your mess into a strong, well-ordered essay!

  • Create a working thesis
    You don’t have to create a polished thesis before you start writing; just describe your main argument in a few sentences. Later, you can come back to this “working” thesis and make it more specific and refined.
  • Group your ideas
    Once you have a working thesis, write down all the reasons you have for supporting it. If your paper is explaining something rather than arguing, write down all the important topics. Then, sort your ideas into groups. For example, in a paper about pollution, you might sort them into ocean pollution, land pollution, and air pollution.

    • Hint: If your assignment outline includes certain points your essay must cover, use those.
  • Decide the body paragraph order
    After sorting your ideas, each group will become a body paragraph. Check that each group still supports your thesis; then decide how you will organize them. Here are three main ways:

    • Time – Talk about events in the order they happened.
    • Impact – You can order them from weakest to strongest or strongest to weakest, or use the middle to ‘hide’ your weakest point.
    • Logic – If you have to explain one idea first for another to make sense later, a logical order may arise.
  • Create an outline
    You now have all the important parts of your essay! Use an outline like this one to write down your thesis and supporting ideas, so you don’t get them mixed up while writing. Keep it within view as you add details and make revisions.