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Guide on Writing an Essay Plan

The essay plan should briefly summarize the content of your essay and organize it in a logically manner that can be easy to understand. Writing a short draft of the essay plan is very effective, and even some professors require students to hand in drafts to ensure that they themselves wrote the essay. There is a basic sample on writing an essay plan, but its content may vary depending on the type of your essay. Below you will learn how to make plans for explanatory, argumentative, and narrative essays.

Writing an Essay Plan: Main Structure

Use standard alphanumeric structure. This is the most common and easiest type of plan. Each section of the plane is designated by lowercase and capital letters, Roman and Arabic numerals in the following order:

  • Headers and paragraphs are noted with Roman numerals. Usually there are three sections in essays: introduction, main part, and conclusion.
  • Capital letters are used to emphasize important points.
  • Arabic numerals help enumerating important points.
  • Lowercase letters are used in the description of the details.

Alternatively, you can use a fractional plan. It is similar to an alphanumeric, but there are a series of numbers for the numbering of sections.

For example, before the introduction, the main part, and the conclusion you write the corresponding number with a «.0» in the end. Thus, the first section is «1.0,» the second is «2.0,» and the third is «3.0.» Simply change the number after the decimal point when numbering subsections.

Number the following subdivisions in the same way. For example, in the first section of «1.1», you can find chapters of «1.1.1», «1.1.2», and «1.1.3».

Decide whether you are going to use complete sentences or short phrases. In most cases, long sentences are much more useful, because they carry more information. They are especially useful to those who hand in their plan to the professor.

Whatever sentences you choose, do not mix them. Do not write long sentences and short phrases in one plan, if there is no such need.

You can call the sections of an essay «Introduction», «Main Part», and «Conclusion», but your professor might ask you to change it in a more original way.

No matter what structure you choose when writing an essay plan, express your thoughts briefly. In general, one point should not exceed the specified size. Long sentences should not be lumped together.

In the first chapter of an essay write the introduction. In this section you should acquaint a reader with the general information about the subject and formulate your thesis.

Your first subparagraph should contain a sentence that will attract the reader’s attention. It may be some interesting fact about the subject.

The second subparagraph should disclose the topic of the subject, background, history of occurrence or the analysis of a problem. Try to write briefly. You only need to familiarize the reader with the introduction, without making any elaborations.

If you want to develop the theme thoroughly, break the second subparagraph into additional sections.

The last subparagraph should contain your thesis. Express your ideas or opinions that you are going to develop further.

The second section of an essay should contain the main part. Each subsection of this section should acquaint the reader with your ideas.

  • Every new entry should not be called the main point. Instead describe those entries that you are researching.
  • Under each main entry provide true facts and evidence. Each new fact should also be numbered.
  • If you wish, you can include transient sentences in the subsections. They will lead the reader to the next main entry. But this is optional.

At the end do not forget about the conclusion. This section of an essay should make the reader turn to the first section and remember what the introduction was about. To do this, you can rewrite your thesis. But do not copy it word for word. The idea should remain the same, but the thesis should be rephrased.

Be sure to write a concluding statement. Usually, it encourages readers to think about the consequences, offers a solution to a problem, or explains the importance of the topic.

Writing an Essay Plan to an Explanatory Essay

Explanatory essays have a research purpose. Your task is to formulate a conclusion on the basis of the subject. The main purpose of writing this type of essay is to collect as much information as possible. This kind of essay is not like an argumentative or a persuasive essay, so there is no need for you to prove or disprove anything.

In the first chapter of an explanatory essay acquaint a reader with your theme. The main task of the introduction is to interest a reader.

As in other types of essays, the first subparagraph may only contain interesting facts to attract the attention of readers. It can be a funny story, a fact, a definition, or a quote.

The second subparagraph will serve as a starting point and a background. If you have decided to write a literary essay, you can insert a brief summary of the research into it. It can also be a brief background. Complete this section with a brief and concise thesis.

The second section should contain evidence and additional information. The main objective of each entry in the section is confirmation of the thesis.

Each new entry must support the main thesis of the paragraph with facts and ideas.

Be sure to include references to the sources used. These include quotes, paraphrased text, personal experience, and opinion polls.

Analyze the evidence. After specifying the source, explain how the source is related to your thesis.

Use transitions in writing the following subsections or arguments.

In the end of an explanatory essay you can make a quick overview of the topic. Conclusions should contain a brief overview of the material and make the reader think on the theme. Make sure to include in the conclusions:

  • Rephrased thesis.
  • Write your main ideas or evidence in the same order in which you have discussed them previously. It will be good if the reader can track the progress of your thoughts.
  • You can also add a few of new questions on the topic of an essay.

Writing an Essay Plan for an Argumentative Essay

The purpose of an argumentative essay (persuasive) is a defense of your point of view on the contentious issue. To prove your point of view, you should provide decent and strong arguments.

It is necessary to consider both sides of the argument – for and against. In the first chapter numbered in Roman numerals you should present the general picture of the issue, and only then prove your point of view.

The first subparagraph should attract the reader’s attention. In order to attract the attention you can insert statistics, a quote or an allegory. Use them to your advantage.

The next subparagraph should explain the subject or the situation in general. You can indicate why you think this issue is disputable and provide arguments.

Write a thesis. The thesis in an argumentative essay should clearly indicate points «for» and «against».

In the main part try to refute the arguments of the opposing side and protect your own point of view. Keep the balance in subparagraphs when writing an essay plan. Try to provide as many pro- and against- arguments as possible. This will have the following structure:

  • Place each subparagraph so that it expresses your opinion and has good evidence. Evidence should show the falsity of the opponent’s arguments.
  • Put your ideas with evidence in the first paragraph of the subparagraph. The second subparagraph should contain the arguments of the opponent with the evidence that they are wrong.
  • You can also change the order. For example, start with incorrect facts, and then bring your own right arguments, backed up by evidence.

In the end emphasize the importance of your arguments. It is necessary to make a brief overview of your main ideas and explain to the reader why they should be considered valid. This can be reached by the following ways:

  • Paraphrase your thesis in the first paragraph of a new chapter.
  • In the next paragraph indicate the main points in total. It is not necessary to make a detailed description of them.
  • Create your own call. Argumentative essays usually contain calls to action. By defending your position, you are pushing the reader to support your point of view.
  • Try to look into the future and imagine what can change over time. Your forecast may be both positive and negative, depending on which side you took.

Writing an Essay Plan for a Narrative Essay

This type of essay is the most creative of all. It is often used in telling stories. The main theme of narrative essay is telling a story.

In the beginning acquaint the reader with the story and its moral. You can describe details, the nature of characters, and give an introduction to the story.

In the main part of an essay develop the events in the chronological order.

Each subsection should contain new information. It can reveal the nature of the characters, or add some details.

Conclusions of a narrative essay should have a moral lesson that will be remembered by the reader for a long time.

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