Good morning bbs. We are so close to the weekend! Today I’m attending a protest & having lunch with a colleague so my work #goals are minimal:
-Complete reverse outline process to re-organize my book chapter

Don’t know what a reverse outline is? Ooh baby are you in for a treat!
Thread on #writing & #revision: A reverse outline is a way to see the structure of what you’ve written in a draft in order to reorganize it. You start by marking up a pdf or print copy of your draft & numbering every paragraph. My book chap has 33 paragraphs.
Once you’ve numbered, make a list from 1 to whatever number of paragraphs you have. Re-read each paragraph & write a short summary (a phrase, not even a sentence) describing what each paragraph is about or doing.
Examples would be: “Summarizes novel,” “Explains Kafer’s political-relational model,” “Defines XYZ term,” “Applies XYZ term to the text,” etc. Sometimes two paragraphs are doing similarly things so you might have a Part 1 & 2 of the same description.
But if you can’t succinctly describe what a paragraph is accomplishing you probably have too much going on in your paragraph in the first place. This process therefore also helps you see where your draft is missing transitions or topic sentences.
Once you have made the list, the result is a numbered reverse outline of the structure of your draft. It’s a bird’s eye view of how you have built your argument thus far.
You can then use the reverse outline to fix wonky paragraphs, cut things that don’t really fit or rearrange topics into an order that makes your argument flow more effectively.
I use this process with my writing intensive classes, my grad students & my own work. It’s super valuable for those of us who use first drafts as a way to think through things. Even if I started with an outline to write the draft, it always changes as I write!
I also find that a reverse outline helps me clarify my ideas, hone my arguments & create a more accessible, readable article/chapter that flows well. So important for all of us, but especially those trying to reach outside of academic audiences.
Folks have complimented my book #BodymindsReimagined for being structured in a way that lays out my ideas & arguments clearly, step by step, bringing the reader w/ me. That structure is thanks to repeatedly using reverse outlining. It can be time consuming, but SO worthwhile!
Do you use reverse outlining? If you’ve never done it, try it & let me know what you think! Have a fabulous day yall!
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