Essay Writing Plan

essay-writing-planI have no idea why teachers have, for generations, made essay writing seem like a big dark secret. Only the best and the brightest seemed to be able to cut through the fog and emerge with an A for their efforts. In fact, building an essay is not unlike constructing a house.

Long after I had crippled along and, through trial and error, created an essay writing plan that worked for me, I observed a teacher instructing average-ability learners on how to build an essay. The plan was brilliant in its simplicity. She had cut through the BS and presented her class with an easy, no-fail essay-building method. I will be forever in her debt and so too will the countless gifted students to whom I have taught her plan.

Step One: Build a Knowledge Base

Having read the essay prompt, begin the writing process by researching your topic. Find out everything you can. Use varied resources: the Internet, books, journals, DVDs, and the library’s reference section. Take notes. Immerse yourself in the topic. Make note of any resources which would be good to use and quote from in your essay.

Step Two: Formulate a Statement, Argument, or Thesis

Now you know what the prompt is asking you to do and you have background information on the topic. You are ready to create your essay statement, argument, or thesis. Write the main statement and the points you are going to use to support this statement, argument, or thesis.

Step Three: Percolate

Give yourself time to think about your statement, supporting facts and how you are going to formulate your essay. Think of creative ways to get your ideas across.

Step Four: Create an Outline

Entire blogs have been written on this topic. Use the essay outline available on Wordsmith or use another. The point is: Create a well-organized outline with enough of a frame work for writing your essay. This is the under-structure which you will flesh out to create your essay!

Step Five: Beginning to Write: A Killer Introduction

Now that you know how your essay is going to be constructed and you have an outline, it is time to write an awesome introduction. The introduction should grab the reader’s attention, set up the issue, and lead into your thesis, argument, or statement. Your introduction is a buildup of the issue. Its purpose is to bring your reader into the essay’s argument. You might use statistics. You might relate an anecdote. You might tell the reader why this topic is important to you.

Step Six: So What’s Your Point?

This is where you formulate paragraphs based on your outline. Each individual paragraph should focus on a ONE idea that supports your thesis. Begin paragraphs with topic sentences, support assertions with evidence, and expand on your ideas in the clearest, most logical way possible. Speak to your reader as if he or she were sitting in front of you. Think of your essay as talking to the reader.

Step Seven Creative Conclusion

Finish your essay by creating an excellent ending sentence. End on some memorable thought, perhaps a quotation, or an interesting twist of logic, or a call to action urging your reader to right a wrong or join a cause.

Step Eight: Citations

Make sure all your sources are properly cited in the text in the style requested by the instructor.

Step Nine: Resources

Using the style required by the instructor, list the sources you consulted and those you ultimately cited in the text. You can use a bibliography generator to ensure your resources cited list follows the correct style.

Step Ten: Polishing

Read over your essay. Make sure it follows the correct format. Check spelling, grammar, punctuation. Make sure your arguments are clear and persuasive. Make sure you have used connecting words to join your thoughts. Have someone else—a friend or family member, or an editor here at Wordsmith Essays—read over your essay for you.

If you follow this essay writing plan, producing polished and powerful work will not be the mystery it once was.

photo credit: skl8em via photopin cc


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