Patterns of organization

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There are several ways to organize your writing. Not every pattern will work for every writer or for every piece of writing. It is important to organize the writing in an order that is interesting, but more importantly it must be logical. In other words, it has to make sense to the reader. Everything must fit together, much like the pieces of a puzzle.

The examples that follow are only a paragraph in length and only serve as short models of each pattern. However, the concept for each pattern is the same regardless of the length.

Chronological Order

Chronological order is the order in which the events occurred, from first to last. This is the easiest pattern to write and to follow.


It seemed like an ordinary day when she got up that morning, but Lynda was about to embark on the worst day of her life. First, she fell in the bathtub because her mother forgot to rinse out the bath oil. Then she spilled orange juice on the outfit she had spent hours putting together for school pictures. When she changed, she messed up the French braid her mother had put in her hair. As she walked out the door, she dropped all of her school books and her math homework flew away. Once she made it to the car she thought everything would be all right. She was wrong; her father didn't look before he backed out of the driveway and ran into the neighbor’s truck. Lynda’s side of the car was damaged the most, and she ended up with a broken arm. That night, she cried herself to sleep.

Cause and Effect Order

In this type of order, the cause (or reason) is usually discussed first. This then leads to a discussion of the effect (or result.)


Because toys have become electronic devices, some children today are unable to entertain themselves. Gone are the days when children invented their own adventures and used sticks as swords. cookie sheets as armor, and refrigerator box as a fortress to defend. The electronic age has delivered children all sorts of gadgets and gizmos that are supposed to be realistic. Some toys even have buttons to push so prerecorded messages can be played to begin scripted adventures that require no imagination. No imagination? No wonder some children today have short attention spans.

Problem to Solution Order

In this type of order, the problem is presented first. Details about the problem, including its cause, follows. Next, a suggested solution will be discussed, including details that support the solution.


Several students receive poor grades on writing assignments, not because they lack the ability to communicate, but because they can not seem to manage their time when it comes to a large project. They do not know where to begin, and therefore put things off until the last minute. To solve this problem, students need to develop a timeline for completing the project. If they divide the assignment into manageable “chunks” or parts and then set a schedule for completing each part, they will be able to finish the entire project before the deadline. Without the pressure of not knowing where to begin, the students will be able to focus on the assignment and communicate their ideas effectively.

Spatial Order

This type of organization takes the reader from one spot the next, as if the reader were looking at something. It is very descriptive.


I couldn’t believe my eyes when we finally emerged from the storm shelter. Where the barn once stood there was now only a few tufts of hay. The path that led to the house was scattered with branches and debris. The house! The entire roof was gone. The north wall was caved in and we could see right into the house. Well, what was left of it. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I noticed that most of our belongings had been sucked up into the great vacuum and scattered across the countryside. We heard a loud cracking and moaning as the west wall gave way and collapsed, sending up a wave of dust. And yet, there in the middle of the front yard was mother’s prized rose bush. It swayed in the breeze as if nothing had happened. Seeing it made me realize how lucky we were to be alive. We stood there in dismay, our arms locked around one another.

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