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How to Write an Essay That Will “Pop”

May 26, 2015 - Posted to Writing

Content 26

Since late elementary school, you have been taught the process of how to write an essay. Year after year, the process was the same. The only thing that changed was that the topics became more complex, the essays became longer, and, in some instances, you were required to conduct some research before you could prepare an essay that would result in a good grade.

Your teachers did not mislead you. In learning how to write a good essay, you do have to go through a process; and when you write your essay, you will have to structure it in three parts – an introduction, a body and a conclusion. There are other important considerations, however, so as you prepare to write an essay, some things should be kept in mind.

Essay Type Drives the Topic and the Thesis

The essay type will determine, at least in part, your topic, if one is not specifically assigned. And it will also at least partially determine your thesis. (Yes, by the time you are in high school and in college, you will need a thesis statement – or the point you are trying to make.

Suppose for example, you are writing an expository essay, and you are going to explain how one can change the oil in his/her own car, thus saving those every 3,000-mile trips to the oil change center, where some guy pretending to be your car’s physician, gives you a dire diagnosis that is sure to cost you at least $50 more than the basic advertised oil change price. Your topic is changing the oil in a car; your thesis, however, is that it is easy to do and a lot cheaper than the oil change retailers.

Suppose, on the other hand, you are writing a persuasive essay to convince your reader that Congress must act to provide relief to students who are saddled with huge loan debt by the time they graduate from college. Your topic is student loan debt; your thesis is that something must be done to provide relief from it.

Research or Not?

Your next step is to determine whether you will need to conduct research in order to cover your topic and present your thesis in a compelling way. Let’s again look at the two examples above.

If you have been changing your own oil for a long time, you are an “expert” of sorts. You will not need to conduct any research, but, rather, will now have to organize your thoughts. For this type of essay, you will want to make a list of each step, making sure that you do not leave anything out. Go through in your mind how you change your own oil, from the beginning to the very end. Write each step down. This will comprise the body of your essay.

For the essay on student debt, you will need to take two research steps. First you will want to get some real facts to back up your thesis that student loan debt is a terrible burden on young people at a time when they are just starting out in life. There is a huge amount written about this issue currently, and you should get all of the facts and figures you can, even if you don’t use them all in the end. The other thing you may want to do is read essays that others have written on the topic. Reading well written essays will help you see how they are structured to be most effective. (www.wikihow.com/write-an-essay).

Getting Organized

You will need some kind of a graphic organizer for your essay writing. If you skip this step, your essay will be dis-jointed and lack logical flow. You may have been taught to always prepare an outline, but, in fact, there are several other organizers that lend themselves well to various types of essays.

If you are writing a narrative, for example, you know you are telling a story. Instead of an outlines, you may want to draw a number of boxes across a page. Starting with the box on the left, you may want to put in the beginning of the story; the next box moves to the next part of the story. Keep going across filling in boxes until your story ends. In this way, you won’t leave out important parts of the “plot,” and when you begin writing, each box provides a piece of the narrative.

If you are writing a comparison/contrast essay, standard outlines can be confusing. Drawing a Venn diagram, however, gives you a great visual of how things are alike and how they are different. If you are not a visual person, make two columns. One column will list all of the similarities, the other all of the differences.

Write the Body Paragraphs

Your content is organized. Now write the rough drafts of the body paragraphs. Your organizer should drive the order in which your paragraphs will occur. Don’t worry about perfection in grammar and punctuation at this point. You are just trying to get your thoughts down in logical order and provide good transitions between your paragraphs.

Now Go Back to the Introduction

You want to startle your reader with your first sentence. For example, if you are writing the essay on changing one’s own oil, you might figure the annual cost of oil changes every 3000 miles – that would be average of 6 oil changes a year vs. the cost of the oil if one does it himself.

If you are writing the essay on student loan debt, find out what the average student debt is at the point of obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree and what the monthly payments will be, and how long it will take to pay off that debt at current interest rates. (The facts are startling).

Be sure that your thesis statement is in your introduction.

Write the Conclusion

Tie your conclusion back to your thesis statement in some way. Re-package it, so the reader does not forget, and you might include some “call to action” as well. End with a “zinger” sentence if you can.

Revise

You have to polish this piece before you submit it, and you have two options:

  • Read it out loud to yourself. You will catch awkward sentences and phrases; you will catch fragments and run-ons. You will catch punctuation errors.
  • If you are the not the best writer, have someone who is read it and edit it for you. If you don’t know of anyone, use a professional essay writing service.

 

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