Once you construct a viable thesis, develop it by writing several topic sentences to support it. At this point, do not concern yourself with whether or how the ideas of support are connected. Your goal here is to uncover every major idea you need to argue or explain to thoroughly support your thesis. (Sometimes ideas for thesis support come from your research. Review critical pieces to remember important points you wanted to discuss.) These topic sentences should represent what you believe to be the component parts of your thesis. You will create at least one topic sentence for each of the component parts. You may create a series of topic sentences that support other topic sentences.

In the end, you may have created a "tree" of ideas that all lead back to the thesis. At this point, many students want to begin writing the text of their papers. They believe they have discovered a viable thesis and the support they need to argue their position or explain their points. Before writing text, however, another important step needs to occur.

When you believe you have exhausted the necessary points of support for your thesis, begin arranging topic sentences in a meaningful order. Select an order that best fits the nature of your topic and your support. Your job is to fit the sentences into a viable order and edit the specific wording of each topic sentence to explicitly connect to your thesis. Rewrite the topic sentences until they effectively capture the "line of thought" you want to demonstrate in your paper. That line should extend from the statement of the thesis at the beginning of the paper to the conclusions you draw at the end. Be sure you have plotted that course in such a way that the reader can move without confusion from the statement of your thesis through each of your supporting topic sentences to the conclusion you draw. That course may be determined in large measure by the argument you choose to pursue.