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Narrow Your Topic


Most of the time you devote to writing should be spent on the planning stage. You need to take the time to find a good topic. Even if you are assigned a topic to write about, you need to examine it, focus it, and consider different ways of approaching it.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When you think of your chosen topic, what are the first things that come to your mind?
  2. What do you want your readers to learn?
  3. What parts of this topic seem the most interesting to you?

A satisfactory subject is single, significant, specific, and supportable.



Make sure you have a focus and are writing about one topic only.



The popularity of coffee bars and video arcades does not have a single focus.
Coffee bars are very popular in my home town does have a single focus.



Your subject should be meaningful to your readers and yourself. It should be worthy of the time and attention you will spend writing it and others will spend reading it.



Why I like cotton shirts is not very interesting.
Why it is healthier to wear cotton is more interesting and your readers may learn something.



It is better to write on a narrow, specific topic than a broad general one. Your readers want to be both informed and interested in what you have to say. Broad generalizations are not as interesting as concrete, specific details. You need to narrow your topics by one or more limiting factors like kind, time, place, number, or person.



Children in sports is too general.
Child tennis stars is a more specific topic.

You can start with a general topic and narrow down one step at a time to a more specific topic:



Television programs
Comedy programs
Situation comedies
Most popular situation comedies
Common characteristics of three popular situation comedies



Remember that you have to include specific examples, facts, figures, quotations, stories, and other supporting details. If you don't know anything about your topic, you will need to do some research.



Dogs are good pets. This sentence does not provide much information or any examples.
Dogs make good pets because they are loyal, friendly, and brave companions. This sentence provides examples of why dogs make good pets.