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Composing a Good Literary Essay Outline: a Quick Guide​

Literary essays are one of the most common types of papers you’re going to face in school. However, that doesn’t make them any easier to write. It’s always difficult to compose such a paper since you have to combine both the plot description and you analysis of it. If you don’t know where to start, try creating a good outline. It will help you structure your thoughts, and put you in the right mindset. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to compose a strong literary essay outline:

  1. Determine the subject.
  2. The first step to take towards a solid sketch is to decide what you’re going to write about. Pick something you’re interested and knowledgeable in. It can also be a good idea to write about a book/story/novel you would be able to analyze in your future bigger papers.

  3. Figure out main ideas. Try writing down some of the thoughts you had while reading the story you’ve picked.
  4. In your essay, you will have to list several points about the subject and support them with the examples from the text. Think of as many ideas of the book as possible. Then, select a few that you’ll be able to provide the best evidence for.

  5. Think through your essay structure.
  6. It is very important that your paper is built properly. Make sure your main paragraphs are connected and follow a certain logic. You can use any order you like: chronological, geographical, or any other way they were presented in a story. Simply make sure your reader will be able to follow and understand.

  7. Extend the gist.
  8. Now that you’ve selected your main points, you will need to develop them. Add some supportive sentences to each idea, proving your point or describing the plot. You can also use quotes in your essay to provide examples, but don’t overuse them. Your paper is a literary analysis after all, not a selection of author’s thoughts.

  9. Revise your outline.
  10. This is a very important step to take. Read through your literary essay outline again to see if it makes sense as a complete thing. If you notice any inconsistencies or mistakes, don’t hesitate to re-write the sketch. Often students start out, having one concept in mind, but end up developing it into something completely different. What is more, by reading through your work again you can get a more deep understanding of how your actual essay should look.