Often people disagree about the precise nature of planning. For some people, merely thinking about a paper before sitting at their computer comprises this moment in the writing process. For other people, planning is a comprehensive period that includes reading, annotating texts, collecting notes, reading over an assignment, brainstorming, freewriting, outlining, and even mapping out ideas. Our methods for getting to that end can often determine our success and satisfaction with writing. On this page, we have created links to help writers with various issues that come up at this point in the writing process. Please advise us if you have suggestions for improving or adding to our links.

Planning Strategies (Purdue's OWL)
Planning: Reading, Thinking, and Writing (Writer's Place)
Planning, Freewheeling, Adjusting (Paradigm's OWL)
Topics (Purdue's OWL)
Writing About Literature (Purdue's OWL)
A Guide to Writing Research Papers (Capital Community College)

General Reference Links:

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary
Mirriam-Webster's Thesaurus Online
Encyclopedia Britanica
Includes Columbia Encyclopedia 6th ed., American Heritage Dictionary 4th ed., Roget's II: The New Thesaurus, American Heritage Book of English Usage, Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, King James Bible, Oxford Shakespeare, Gray's Anatomy, Strunk's Elements of Style, and World Factbook
SUNY Stony Brook's Research Databases
The Internet Public Library
Find and read full-text online books, magazines, journals, newspapers, etc.

Discussions of timed essay exams

Writing Essay Exams
One of many useful discussions provided by Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL).


Timed writing exams make this part of writing particularly stressful, but it is even more important when time is short. Prewriting covers everything from thinking about the question to outlining your essay. Although some of these are not specific to timed-writing contexts, the general principles for brainstorming, getting started, and outlining are the same.

Coping with Writing Anxiety
This and the following three links come from Purdue's OWL.
Planning (Invention)
When you start to write
Thought Starters (Asking the Right Questions)
MIT Online Writing & Resource Center
MIT OWRC Resources for Writers
A Handbook for Amherst Students

Strategies for helping you get started

Paradigm Online Writing Assistant
Much more than prewriting, but the discussion of invention and arrangement tactics is very sound.

(links to other sites will open in new window)

Program in Writing and Rhetoric • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-5340 • 631.632.7390
Writing Center • 631.632.7405 •
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