It’s essential to prepare an outline before you begin to write. Eliminating this step is false economy. The time you save will be more than counterbalanced by the time consumed in deletions and revisions that will be required if you charge ahead with no plan in mind.
The most satisfactory form of outline sets forth each point in a full sentence, rather than merely suggesting it by a key word. The full-sentence format has three advantages: (1) it helps you understand your own organization at a glance; (2) it often flushes out redundancies, weak links, and inconsistencies; and (3) once you’ve completed it, it allows you to feel as though the brief is halfway written.
At this outline stage, you will jettison the weakest arguments. If the call is a close one, you may decide to defer the cut until you’ve seen the argument fully fleshed out.
Inputs: Antonin Scalia & Bryan A Garner