Essay writing, by Ektoras Arkomanis, November 2014
The outline is NOT a marked component. That is to say, its aim is not to hem you in, but to help you in writing your essay. So, don’t make it too formal—give it an organic form:
Include notes (typed or handwritten) that you add over time so that you don't forget your observations.
Include passages that you write, possible titles of chapters, keywords, names of key works, etc.
In short, include anything that can go into the essay under any form. As your study develops the outline becomes richer and a better reflection of your essay.
Draw arrows to connect parts, etc. Circle things, highlight, use post-it notes. Use different font sizes to reflect priorities, hierarchies, etc.
Titles are important—think of your title as ‘the banner’ of your essay. They are not always easy to arrive at. Even great writers struggle with them.
Make a list of possible titles. Keep adding to it. Keep thinking about them and fiddling with them (combining them for example). You’ll make your final decision closer to the final stages.
The title and the essay are in constant negotiation with each other. I often notice that my title doesn’t describe my essay well. But—this is more important—sometimes it works the other way ‘round: I notice that a passage/point/ argument doesn't fit comfortably under my title and then, while questioning it, I realize that perhaps I don't really need that passage after all—now I can see that it ...