Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Steps to Write an Essay


Don’t you just hate when a teacher asks you for a “five paragraph” essay? Or an essay with so many “words.” Limitations do not help your essay, so what makes a good essay? First, you have to think about how you relate to the essay prompt – stop thinking about what your teacher is asking for. No self respecting teacher will limit you to a certain amount of words, sentences, or paragraphs, but also remember that an essay can NOT be one long~ paragraph.

Remember to plan, always plan. Always. There are three stages to writing. And no, writing is not the most important one of them. The stages are:

  • Pre-writing: planning is pivotal for the essay. You must first come up with a thesis statement, that is, in your own words, summarizing what you will be talking about throughout the essay, in other words, explaining your argument in one sentence. From the thesis statement you will start to gather ideas, you will list all the ideas, the things that you think relate to the prompt of the essay. You don’t have time to waste so just list all those ideas in a separate sheet of paper.

    After you are done listing those ideas, you will group them. Get the ones that may relate to each other; now with a cluster of ideas forming a group, which you will now proceed to organize logically. Once you are done organizing your group in the order in which you will discuss them in your essay, you will come up with a topic sentence which summarizes the paragraph; from that topic sentence you will have to find details which support that topic sentence (which in turn supports the thesis statement).

    The introduction of the essay must include the thesis statement; it must also sustain the attention of the audience. Your teacher might say that the thesis statement must grab the reader’s attention, but… if they’re reading your essay —even if it is the first sentence — that means you already have their attention, you just have to keep it.

    The conclusion of an essay must be clear, if the essay was very long you might want to point out the things that were discussed throughout the essay, but in essence, the conclusion must have a sense of closure. What does that mean? It means your audience should know that this is the end of your argument without you having to spell T-H-E E-N-D at the end of the paper.

  • Writing: Ironically enough, this is the least important of all. Now that you have the structure of the essay planned out – remember that you don’t have time to be sitting around doing nothing, you might be timed to write this essay! – just write! Write as fast as you can, forget about errors for now, just write the body of the essay as fast as you can! Hurry before time’s up and you fail because you couldn’t finish!

  • Revising: This is just as important as the pre-writing stage. I told you to write as fast as you could, to forget about errors along your ruthless path to finish this essay as quickly as possible. Now then, it’s time to go back and correct those mistakes. Yes, you still have to proof read your essay, and no it wouldn’t be easier to proof read as you write, you are being timed, you don’t have time. Leave revising for last.


So there you have it, three simple steps that will help you organize your ideas, help you make your essays more “anatomically” correct. And next time your teacher sets forth a limitation of words, lines, or paragraphs, just remember, they’re only human.

Until next week, this is your writer, James Fenix, reminding you to tell your friends about this blog! Remember to “like” the official James Fenix fan page! Also remember, if there’s a topic you want me to discuss, please comment in this space or leave your comments in the Facebook page, I will get all the messages you send there, trust me.

Until next week!

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