1.3 Brainstorming and prewriting
Pick a topic you really care about and feel like you have something to say about. Get out a piece of paper, and start brainstorming. Lists of ideas can be a good start, but spider diagrams can be the best way to get your thoughts together in one place.
The brainstorming stage is where your core argument should start to take shape, not when you start writing and definitely not something to shoehorn in midway through.
Try and think of an original angle on the subject matter. Rather than summarising what you’ve already read, heard or discussed, think about ways in which those discussions might be extended. Don’t just regurgitate your source material; instead use these cues as a launch-pad for your own ideas.
Critical writing is about engaging in debate and championing original, exciting perspectives on texts that have been read and analysed a thousand times already. Remember, only you have your perspective. And a thesis looking closely and evocatively at one distinct part of your theme is far more likely to succeed than a broad overview.
If, in your wider reading, you come across something that contradicts your idea, don’t shy away from it. As long as you have sufficient material to back up your argument, be prepared to confront the critics head-on.