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How to Write a Good Essay – It’s All about the Process

October 21, 2015 - Posted to How to: Essay writing tips

Content how to write a good essay   it s all about the process

How to Write a Good Essay – It’s All about the Process

Every essay has a topic and a purpose. That purpose will determine the type of essay you will write, but whatever the type may be, the same step-by-step process should be used.

Step 1 – Understanding the assignment

Read through the assignment carefully. What is the broad subject area in which you are to choose a topic? How long is the essay to be? What type of essay are you to write – expository, persuasive, comparison/contrast, narrative, descriptive, definition, argumentative, cause/effect?

Step 2 – Topic Selection

This is a bit more difficult than you may think. Your topic must, first of all, fall within the broad subject field you have given. Second, it must “fit” the length requirements of the assignment. This step may involve a bit of research to determine what will be included as body paragraphs and to ensure that the topic is neither too broad nor to narrow.

Step 3 – Research (if required). Obviously, if you are writing a personal narrative, no research is necessary. However, with persuasive, argumentative and cause/effect essay types, it may be necessary to gather evidence to support your points

Step 4 – Develop a thesis statement. Ask yourself why it is important to write about this topic or what do you want the reader to understand. The answers will help you develop your thesis statement.

Step 5 – Organize you information either with an outline or some other type of graphic. You need to know exactly what will go into each body paragraph of this essay, even if it is a narrative. In the case of a narrative, in fact, you will need to decide where logical break points are in the story you tell. Sometimes it help, as you divide up your paragraphs, to write a topic sentence for each one and then just list the details that will go in that paragraph. The point is you don’t have to have a formal outline to organize your thoughts and/or points.

Step 6 – Write your body paragraphs. Be certain that you have a topic sentence for each paragraph, you evidence or point presented in correct sentence structures, and then a transition sentence to the next paragraph. For a basic essay, you should have 3-5 body paragraphs, depending on the topic and your instructor’s requirements.

Step 7 – Write your introduction. Take some care and give this some thought. You want an opening sentence that will “hook” your reader right away. Sometimes, this may be a startling fact. For example, “14 million children in America go to bed hungry each night,” or “almost 75% of the people receiving food stamps assistance are veterans and/or senior citizens.” These are little known but pretty startling facts. The remainder of your introduction should introduce the topic and provide your thesis statement.

Step 8 – Write your conclusion. Have you developed a greater understanding of something as a result of this essay? Is there something you want your reader to do? What is the “takeaway” from the information you have provided or the story you have told? Your conclusion should tie back to your thesis statement in some way.

Step 9 – Edit your rough draft. Or, if grammar and composition is not your great strength, have someone who is an English whiz edit it for you.

Step 10 – Write your final copy, making sure that you have followed the format instructions of our instructor and that you have cited and information or data you have taken from resources.

This does seem like a tedious process, and in many ways it is. But if you will commit to it each time you have to write an essay or paper, you are going to get good grades on them. And, if you don’t have the time for this process, use an academic writing service – grades on essays and papers end up being a big part of a course grade.

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