Introduction: How to Write an Essay

This Instructable will outline the steps to write an essay and by the end of it you'll be able to write an essay with the best of them.

Step 1: Prewriting

Prewriting is just getting all of your ideas on paper. There are many ways, and maybe prewriting deserves an instructable of its own. For the purposes of writing an essay all you need to do is write down your ideas somewhere until you have a good idea what you'd like to do your essay on.

Step 2: The Thesis Statement & Set Up

The Thesis Statement is hugely important to your essay. It's the point you want your essay to drive home. A good thesis statement is strong.

A good example of a thesis statement is: Twain uses the growth and development of Huck Finn to show readers what is morally right.

The thing that is most important about a thesis statement is that it needs to be about what you're going to write about. If your thesis statement is about the relationship between Shakespeare and Scooby Doo, then you better stick to it. You can't throw in a paragraph about how Velma relates to Charles Dickens, because it does not fit with your thesis. Everything in your essay should work towards proving your thesis.

Note: If writing about a book you might want to include the title and author in your them statement. Otherwise you can include that info in another sentence before it.

Also multiple sentence theme statements are possible, but can mucky up the point.

Set Up
Before I write my Essay I use the following set up.

1. Attention Getter
2.Thesis Statement.
2. Evidence for body paragraphs
5. Tie in to attention getter.

I find it helps when writing to have these before i get too far into it. However, it is completely up to you.

Step 3: The Introduction

The introduction should have the follwing construction:

1. Attention Getter
3. Plan of Development
4. Transition

Somewhere in there you need to include any other information that is necessary, such as the title and author (if your essay is about a book), or the time period (if about a certain event). You need to include the setting.

1The Attention Getter
Write whatever you need to get attention as long as it relates to the essay.
Warning: Contrary to popular belief a question is not a very good attention getter. A reader simply answering no to a question can ruin one of these questions very easily.

Good ideas for an attention getter are short anecdotes or a quote (if writing about a book it's best to use a quote that is not from this book). It's important that the attention getter has some relation to the rest of your essay.

2. The Thesis
Usually a sentence or two you need to state your thesis. Let the purpose of this essay be known to the reader.

3. The Plan of Development
For the pl an of development you need to go over what your essay will be showing/explaining. You want to tell what the purpose is of each of your body paragraph. You can use anywhere from 1-5 sentences. I tend to keep mine short, and use the topic sentences of my body paragraphs to help me write my plan of development.

You want your essay to flow. One idea leads to the next. An essay without transitions will be chunky and unappealing. There's not much advice to give you on transitions except that you need to connect your paragraphs together.

Step 4: Body Paragraph

Most Body paragraphs consist of.

1.Topic Sentence
2.Lead to evidence
4.Explanation of Evidence
5.Short Recap
*note: steps 2-4 can be repeated multiple times in the same paragraph as long as it all relates and proves the topic sentence.

1. The topic sentence is like a mini thesis for this paragraph. What point is this paragraph proving?
2. You have to lead into the quote you can't just plop a quote randomly in the middle of a paragraph.
example: At a sad time for his family Bobby said, "
3. The best evidence is a quote in my opinion. Specific examples can also work. Make sure your evidence really does prove what you need it to, and that it comes from a reliable source.

4. Explain what the evidence shows. This should probably be at least 2 sentences. Make sure the reader knows how it supports the topic sentence.

5. The short recap is probably a sentence explaining what this paragraph said.

6. Once again you'll need to smoothly flow into the next paragraph.

Step 5: Conclusion

A conclusion should have the following steps.

1.Restate the Thesis.
2.Go over what you have already talked about.
3. Tie in with Attention getter.

1. just as it says
2. It's kind of like the plan of development.
3. This is where your essay gets that nice feeling because it starts in a similar way it ends. Sometimes a tie in can be hard to think of, but if you do it can pay off big time.

Step 6: Things to Remember Throughout Writing.

When writing an analytical or informative essay you should remain impersonal. Stay away from You's and I's. The only time I would recommend using I's and You's might be in a persuasive essay to a certain audience that knows you.

When writing keep the same tense. If you're writing in the past tense stay in it. Here's an example of someone who doesn't keep in the same tense.
Billy had a ball. The ball is nice. Too bad he popped it.

See how awkward that sounds. Don't do that.

It should read: Billy Had a ball. The ball was nice. Too bad he popped it.

Step 7: Revision and Rewriting.

I suggest rereading a printed copy of your essay and marking it up. Then you can make the changes print it out. For the best results you should let someone else read it.

When you go back to make the changes again, feel free to rewrite whole sections of the essay that sound like they could be improved. Don't be afraid of changing your essay too much during the revision process. The whole point is to change it.