Essays are basically exercises in thinking and learning. An essay makes the writers analyze, criticize and get information on their own. For most students, essays are very intimidating. And most students have not been taught were to start or how to write an essay. This makes essay writing very hard for students to master. The best way to start is make a master plan. A master plan lays out the steps that are going to go into the essay. Basically, there are about four steps to writing an essay. They are brainstorming, making a rough draft, editing, and finally making the final draft.
Once a topic for an essay is decided upon, the next step is to brainstorm. One of the simplest techniques is clustering. Clustering is done by making a circle or a horizontal line in the middle of the page. The topic is placed inside the circle or on the line. From the center of the shape or line, lines should be drawn out into the page. They should be spread out. At the end of each of these lines, another circle or horizontal line should be drawn. In each shape or on each line, the main ideas about the topic, or the main points that need to be made should be written down. If trying to persuade, the best arguments should be written down. If trying to explain a process, the steps that need to be followed should be listed. They should be grouped into categories. The most common format starts with the Beginning, then the Middle, and finally the End. From each of the main ideas, three or four lines should be placed out into the page. At the end of each of these lines, another circle or horizontal line should be drawn. In each shape or on each line, the facts or information that support that main idea should be listed. When finished, the basic structure for the essay is completed.
Now that the basic structure is made, a rough draft can be started. Within the essay, there are three main parts to it. They are the introduction, the body, which are the supporting points to the thesis statement, and then finally the conclusion.
The first part of the essay is the introduction paragraph. This paragraph is normally five to seven sentences long. The introduction should be designed to attract the reader’s attention and give the reader an idea of the essay’s focus. The first sentence of the essay should be a general statement about the topic of the essay. An attention grabber is usually a good way to start. Some examples of attention grabbers are, startling information. This information must be true and verifiable, and it doesn’t need to be totally new to the readers. It could simply be a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point that needs to be made. Another attention grabber is an anecdote. An anecdote is a story that illustrates a point. The anecdote should be short, to the point, and relevant to the topic. This is a very effective opener for an essay. Dialogue is another good attention grabber. An appropriate dialogue does not have to identify the speakers, but the reader must understand the point the writer is trying to convey. Finally, summary information is yet another good attention grabber. A few sentences explaining the topic in general terms can lead the reader gently to the thesis. Each sentence should become gradually more specific, until the thesis is reached. If the attention grabber was only a sentence or two, add two or three more sentences that will give support to the thesis statement. The last sentence to finish the introduction is the thesis statement of the essay.
The next section of the essay consists of the supporting points or the body of the essay. There should be at least one paragraph for each main point. There is usually three supporting points to prove the thesis statement. Therefore, there should be at least three paragraphs. Each body paragraph will have the same basic structure or components. The first component is an opening statement. This statement usually starts with one of the main ideas, in sentence form. Next, should come about three examples or points to prove the main supporting points of the thesis statement. Some elaboration for each point needs to be listed. Elaboration can be further description or explanation or discussion of the topic of the essay. The last sentence is the closing sentence. That sentence sums up the whole paragraph.
The final section of an essay is the conclusion. This paragraph basically sums up the essay. It brings closure to the reader, summing up the main points or providing a final perspective on the topic. In the first sentence the thesis statement should be restated in different words. The next few sentences are the supporting points, which are restated in a summary form. The final sentence usually is the closing sentence. A good way to end is by using an anecdote. One important point that needs to be made about the conclusion is that no new information should be added.
Once all the paragraphs are completed, a rough draft is available for editing. The next step is the editing process. The order of the paragraphs should be checked. As well as checking, which of the paragraphs, is the strongest, and which paragraph is the weakest. The writer might want to start with the strongest paragraph, weakest in the middle, and end with the second strongest. If the paper is describing a process, then the essay needs to stick to the order in which the steps must be completed.
Checking the writing is the next step. Nothing can substitute the task of revising the work. By reviewing what has been done, weak points that otherwise would be missed can be improved. The paper should be read and reread. The following are a few points or questions that can be looked at when revising the essay. Does the essay make logical sense? It’s best to leave essays for a few hours and then read them again. Does it still make logical sense? Do the sentences flow smoothly from one another? If they do not make logical sense, adding some words or phrases helps make them flow, and make sure a spell checker or grammar checker has been done on the essay. It will not catch all errors, but it will catch some.
When the editing process is finished, the final draft can be done. When a final draft is prepared, it’s a good idea to make sure that all of the instructions that have been given were followed. Checking the instructions for the assignment and checking to see that the margins are correct; are a few things one should check. Has the essay been titled as directed, has the lines been double-spaced? Are a couple of questions that should be asked when finalizing the final draft. Once the writer has checked the work and perfected the formatting, the essay is finished.
“Guide To Writing Essays and Other Projects.” TMD 13 September 99. 30 January 2001 *http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/ugrad/bos/essays.htm*.
Rool, Terry. “Rools for Riting Good Inglish.” TPOC December 2000. 30 January 2001 *http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/ugrad/bos/rools.htm*.