Organization: Improve Your Writing


Every piece of writing needs to have a logical, consistent organizational pattern. Ideas flow when a piece of writing is well structured. Effective organization helps the reader understand your ideas.

Narrative stories nearly always have a chronological organization, usually from the earliest event to the last one. Sometimes an author will include flashbacks. Flashbacks describe events that happened before the main events. The narrator’s memories are flashbacks.

Types of Organization

Similar to the chronological pattern, a sequential organization presents items in order. Informative and explanatory documents often use this type of organization. The most obvious examples are how-to pieces, from recipes to instruction manuals. The author begins by describing the first direction and continues until the project is finished.

Sometimes a writer intends to help the reader make a decision between two options. In this case, he or she might use a compare-contrast pattern. The writer has two options. The first is to explain one option completely and then explain the other one. Conversely, the writer can compare and contrast aspects of each option in separate paragraphs. Whichever organization the writer chooses, he or she must be careful to keep the pattern consistent.

Writers often use the cause-effect organization when presenting facts to try to persuade readers to take a particular action. The writer explains the connection between a cause and an effect to convince readers to make the desired action.

Similarly, the problem-solution organizational pattern aims to persuade readers to support specific actions to solve a problem. The writer first describes the problem, perhaps food waste in restaurants. He or she then presents the action readers should take. The key to a successful problem-solution essay is to present the solution in a way that addresses all aspects of the problem in question.

When you write, be aware of the type of organization that would best fit your purpose. As always, the overall goal is to make your ideas engaging and effective.

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