- Purpose and Thesis
- Body of Information
- 1. Purpose/Main Idea
Your best essays will be about the things that light your fire. What do you feel passionate about? What topics do you find yourself arguing for or against? Choose the side of the topic you are "for" rather than "against," and your essay will be stronger.
Do you love gardening? sports? photography? volunteering? Are you an advocate for children? domestic peace? the hungry or homeless? These are clues to your best essays.
Put your idea into a single sentence. This is your thesis statement, your main idea.
Check out Grace Fleming's How to Choose an Essay Topic.
Choose a title for your essay that expresses your main idea. The strongest titles will include a verb. Take a look at any newspaper and you'll see that every title has a verb.
You want your title to make someone want to read what you have to say. Make it provocative.
Here are a few ideas:
America Needs Better Health Care Now
The Use of the Mentor Archetype in...
Who Is the She-Conomy?
Why DJ Is the Queen of Pedicures
Melanoma: Is It or Isn't It?
How to Achieve Natural Balance in Your Garden
Expect to Be Changed by Reading...
Some people will tell you to wait until you have finished writing to choose a title. I find a title helps me stay focused, but I always review mine when I'm finished to ensure that it's the most effective it can be.
Your introduction is one paragraph, that states your thesis (your main idea) and introduces your reader to your topic. After your title, this is your next best chance to hook your reader.
The introduction of the essayThe function of the Introduction is to serve as a 'map' of the essay, outlining to your reader the main argument and points which you develop in your essay. Most introductions begin with an orientation in the form of a brief general statement that leads the reader into the topic showing how the specific topic relates to bigger issues or to the discipline field. This is followed by your thesis statement, which is your concise response to the essay question, then an outline of the argument presented in the essay. You may find it useful to think of an essay's introduction as funnel shaped moving from the general to the specific.
4. Body of Information
The body of your essay is where you develop your story or argument. You have finished your research and have pages of notes. Right? Go through your notes with a highlighter and mark the most important ideas, the key points.
Choose the top three ideas and write each one at the top of a clean page. Now go through again and pull out supporting ideas for each key point. You don't need a lot, just two or three for each one.
Write a paragraph about each of these key points, using the information you've pulled from your notes. Don't have enough? Maybe you need a stronger key point. Do a little moreresearch.
You're almost finished. The last paragraph of your essay is your conclusion. It, too, can be short, and it must tie back to your introduction.
In your introduction, you stated the reason for your paper. In your conclusion, you want to summarize how your key points support your thesis.
- By observing the balance of nature in her gardens, listening to lectures, and reading everything she can get her hands on about insects and native plants, Lucinda has grown passionate about natural balance. "It's easy to get passionate if you just take time to look," she says.
Good luck! Every essay will be easier.