When I am given an essay project my mind goes directly to schoolish behavior and my reality shifts from the real world to an academic stance. It gets the job done. When I was in school the academic writing stance got me the A, but it wasn’t very fun.
There is a way to have fun while writing essays and get good grades at the same time.
1. Read the book.
If you read a summary of the book, then at best your essay will be a shallow representation of the story. Of course it’s not impossible to do this. You might even make a decent grade, but think of the possibilities if you read the book first. Even an abridged version will give you some depth to draw from for your essay. Besides that, the story is entertaining.
2. Choose an approach.
Of course if you are writing this essay because a teacher told you to and she gave you explicit instructions about the kind of essay or the approach she wants then you must do as she asks.
If she has given you cart blanche then choose a topic from the book that is interesting to you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a topic in the story that I am curious to know more about?
- Is there a topic that would be fun to talk about?
- Is there a topic that I want to explore how I feel about it or what I think about it?
- Is there a theme that would be fun to talk about?
- Do I want to write about one literary element like the characters, themes or landscapes?
- Do I want to write about the techniques the author used like symbolism or satire?
This step helps me to narrow the focus of the essay. I run into problems when my focus is too broad because I either write about everything, running the risk of confusing my audience or my writing skill level is not mature enough to handle such a broad topic, making the essay too wordy and it ends up boring my audience.
3. Define your destination.
This step is rather short but important if you want to lead your audience to a clear destination. Ask yourself one question. What is it that I would like for my audience to know? Write this as one complete sentence.
4. Ask questions.
To discover the finer points of your essay, pretend that you are talking to your best friend. After you explain step 3, your destination imagine some questions that she might ask you. Make a list of these. Then, choose three that seem the most fun to talk about or that give you plenty of room to expand upon. Now you have three points to talk about that point back to your thesis statement.
What is the toughest part about writing your essays? What is the toughest part about teaching your children to write essays?