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  1. #1
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Formal outlines for english papers, opinions?

    "How does history affect the development of literary and intellectual culture, in American Realism?"
    THis is the question I am to answer for an english paper. Obviously you could write a book about this, so you have to narrow it down. So i went with the Civil war, how does it affect the development of intellectual.....in American Realism.

    Now this seems like a paper i can actually write about, granted its not something i would do by choice but it can be done.

    One thing that really put a damper on this was that I have an outline for it all due tommorow. THis outline is basically "the meat" of the paper, all the facts, all the statements. Now the thing i find is that I NEVER use these things. Ever. I research, write my sources, and store it in the mind. Then when i am writing the final product, it all comes together after several revisions. So whenever an outline is assigned, like this one, i feel like I get it done for the sake of getting it done.

    What are peoples thoughts on formal outlines like this?
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  2. #2
    That darn Yankee TexasGuy's Avatar
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    I sometimes use formal outlines as todo lists. When i was into writing i used to use something called Word bubbling. It's probably not something that is taught in main stream schools.
    Life is about hanging onto what you think is important and finding out what really is important.
    "Stop Ruining my joke!", "No, a joke implies humor attached at no additional cost"
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  3. #3
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    For anything under about 10 pages, I usually hate outlining, prefering to just organize in my head and then write. Just like phantomcow2, evidently. On occasion, though, I find writing down an outline to be helpful. Very rarely, I admit.
    If you notice this notice then you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing.

  4. #4
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    The only time I have ever found an outline healpful was with the book I am writing... yes and that is over 300 pages. Anything small it is not even worth the trouble IMO!
    Just your average club rider... :)

  5. #5
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    its great to know i am not alone! At least i can feel better about explaining hte low quality
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  6. #6
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - anal rententive technical publishers require formal outlines down to at least (c) head level... after going through this process too many times, i have renounced the vocation and am on extended sabbatical...

    - outlines are both a demonstration of knowledge and proof of concept, but IMHO, should not be set in stone ; often these outlines can get in the way of producing a better product...

    - good luck with your assignment...

  7. #7
    Senior Member librarian's Avatar
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    PLAY THE GAME...SUCK UP...BROWN NOSE
    ie. know what the teacher/professor wants and play to him. Sometimes you have to decide if you want is to learn or get a good grade. When an employer or university looks at your records all they see is grades. I'm not saying that is the only thing they base decisions on, but if you get weeded out you never see anyone to show your personality.

    Two examples from college.
    In Englsh 101 we were given an assignment to write about Frost's poem "Stopping by woods on a snowy eve." I had just seen an interview by Frost in a library class and heard him say that the poem was just about enjoyment of watching it snow. Of course when I turned in my first assignment ever done in college I got an F because according to the professor "any fool can see that the poem is about suicide." After that I learned to play to the professor and got straight A's.

    Back to the outline. For a final in one of the Library classes, after talking about the importance of making an outline all year, we were just told to prepare a report to a mythical board of directors on the changes that we would make to the library where we were taking over as a director. No matter how good the students work was, the professor took off 50% if they did not turn in an outline. Know the teacher's quirks and play to them.

  8. #8
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by librarian
    PLAY THE GAME...SUCK UP...BROWN NOSE


    In Englsh 101 we were given an assignment to write about Frost's poem "Stopping by woods on a snowy eve." I had just seen an interview by Frost in a library class and heard him say that the poem was just about enjoyment of watching it snow. Of course when I turned in my first assignment ever done in college I got an F because according to the professor "any fool can see that the poem is about suicide." After that I learned to play to the professor and got straight A's.
    I'm sorry you took the wrong lesson away from that experience. The lesson you got is that you should humor your professor, when the real lesson is you should base your assignments on more than a random soundbite!

    Poets and other artists often don't like being asked to explain their work - I guess they feel it destroys the point of creating the art. So Frost was not giving the straight goods when he was interviewed. As well, artists sometimes deliberately make their work amibiguous, so different people can take different meanings from it.

    I'm posting this more for other readers than for you, as I'm sure you actually know all this, and related the anecdote more for entertainment than instruction.

    Regards
    Robert

  9. #9
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    As said before play the game.

    I personally don't use outlines very much. But they can be very useful. But they are not useful if they are 'all the meat'. An outline should be just that an outline. A list of points to cover. Not the meat, just where to go to get the meat.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by librarian
    In Englsh 101 we were given an assignment to write about Frost's poem "Stopping by woods on a snowy eve." I had just seen an interview by Frost in a library class and heard him say that the poem was just about enjoyment of watching it snow. Of course when I turned in my first assignment ever done in college I got an F because according to the professor "any fool can see that the poem is about suicide." After that I learned to play to the professor and got straight A's.
    Yes any fool can see that! Of course fools always see what they want to see, even when it is not there.

    Teachers like yours are why so many people learn to hate literature. This kind of rend got so bad in England that C.S. Lewes made the serious proposal that exams for British schoolboys should be limited to determining that the boys had actually read the works assigned.

  11. #11
    Senior Member skiahh's Avatar
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    I'm not a big outliner. In fact, I find outlines help me figure out what I'm NOT going to write!!
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