Consider the Document Planner to be a living document. It’s a snapshot of a fluid process. As you write, your ideas about audience, purpose, media, context, voice, tone, and persona will change, becoming clarified.
Beyond fulfilling a course requirement, what motivates you to explore this project? What are the unique elements of this writing situation? Is your context formal, semiformal, informal? Is this a class assignment; a Web site; a workplace document; an online communication; a text for a community, service, or special interest group; an essay for a magazine, newspaper, or journal; a letter to family and friends? How does the context influence what you need to do next?
2 . Purpose
What is the specific outcome your writing seeks to achieve–to entertain, inform, evaluate, persuade? Clearly define your purpose in as narrow terms as possible. What is your argument/story?
3 . Audience
What do you know about your audience? How can you find out more about them? What do you want your reader to do, understand, or feel? What counterarguments or questions should you anticipate? How interested in the subject or emotionally involved is the reader?
4 . Media
What media should you employ–academic writing, an oral presentation, a Web site, email, Instant Messenger, a magazine column, a video documentary? Why?
5 . Voice, Tone, or Persona
What voice, tone, and persona should you project as a consequence of your communication situation? For example, should you attempt to appear objective and detached, passionate and angry, or clever and satirical?
6 . Research
Can past research inform your writing project? What important texts have been written about the topic, if any? How can past research inform how you narrow your topic? What new ideas can you contribute?
How long should your project be? How can visual language underscore your message? What figures and tables or other formatting techniques are commonly used? What form of documentation is required?
When is the project due? How can you break the task down into subtasks?