Writing Checklist


  1. Did you make an outline? Hint: If you are having trouble organizing ideas, review lecture notes and see how the theme was developed in class. Consider using lecture notes as a model for your paper.

  2. Take out a separate piece of paper. List all the topic sentences in your paper. These sentences do not need to be phrased exactly the same, but the ideas you're trying to capture must appear in both the introduction and conclusion in the order they appear in the body of the paper.

  3. In reviewing your outline, make sure all your arguments build off the previous idea and lead the reader into the next one.

  4. Do you provide the complete name of author(s) and title(s) of work(s) ?

  5. Any necessary plot summary should appear in the introduction. Make sure you keep it brief!

  6. Do you include the main idea/argument also known as thesis statement? Underline it!

Thesis Statement

  1. What your objective is?

  2. How you will prove WHAT you said? To satisfy this point, you must introduce the main argument (or section) of the text to which you are responding.

  3. Why you are making this argument?

Body Paragraph

Do your body paragraphs...

  1. Introduce the main idea of the paragraph in the topic sentence?

  2. "Unpack"/ Develop main idea?

  3. Present evidence?

  4. Analyze evidence? Answer the question, "How does this example support the main idea of this paragraph?"
Remember: Avoid plot summary. Deal with plot summary in the introduction.


Every argument needs support and often quotes provide that evidence. There are, however, some general rules about quotes that writers should follow:

  1. Every quote has an introduction. Examples: According to DuBois, ".........." (130). Boggs states, " ............" (130).

  2. For every line quoted you should have at least one line of analysis.

  3. Do not simply rephrase the quote. Answer the question, "Through these words/images (pick out specific words/images) what message does the author convey?"

  4. Tie your analysis back to the main idea of the paragraph.

  5. Do not end a paragraph with a quote.


  1. Does your conclusion address the questions, "What's the relevance of everything I argued?" "Did I prove the why/so what part of my thesis?"

  2. Do you have a title? Does your title shed light on your thesis?

  3. Check for common errors (see attached list).

  4. Spell check

  5. TURN in a ROUGH DRAFT to a tutor and instructor.