Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Two important questions

Never underestimate the ability of writers to put too much time and effort into research. When the information is overwhelming, the writer may become stuck because he or she doesn't know where or how to begin writing. Many writers develop a thesis (or the main idea they want to support). But often, writers don’t know exactly what is the most important idea.

Anyone can develop a thesis and main points in two easy steps.

Step 1: After reviewing their research, writers should ask themselves what they believe to be true. The answer to that question may be their thesis. If, after researching cars, I find that the 1968 Charger is the best muscle car ever made because that’s what all the experts told me, and I believe them, then that can be my thesis. Use a declarative statement (what you believe to be true). Use one idea or thought to keep it simple. Here are some other examples:

GiGi’s cafĂ© makes the best pies in town.

(Your home town) is the best (or worst) place to live.

Daniel Boone was a great frontiersman.

Getting an education is essential to getting ahead.

Honesty IS the best policy.

Florida beaches are the best.

The economy is improving.

Step 2: The next question is: Why do I believe that? Why is GiGi’s pie the best? Flakiest crust? Sweetest filling and lots of it? Biggest slices? Why do I believe getting an education is important? Why IS honesty the best policy? These are opinions that can be backed up with research.

Asking two questions (what do I believe to be true, and why do I believe it?) can serve as the basis for developing a chapter, article or nonfiction book.

Write soon,



  1. Mary--It's also the start of an argumentative piece. Thanks for showing writers how to distill what could be an overwhelming mound of information into something manageable and usable.

  2. Thanks, Sioux. I've been there, sitting in front of a huge amount of information not quite sure what to do with it. Asking these two questions have helped me get organized enough to get started!

  3. Great suggestions, Mary!

    Critter Alley

  4. Thanks for posting this, Mary. Your posts are always helpful.