Do you write essays?
An essay can have many purposes, but the basic structure is the same no matter what. You may be writing a piece to argue for a particular point of view or to explain the steps necessary to complete a task. Either way, your essay will have the same basic format. If you follow a few simple steps, you will find that the composition almost writes itself. You will be responsible only for supplying ideas, which are an essential part of the essay anyway.
Don’t let the thought of putting pen to paper daunt you. Get started!
These simple steps will guide you through the essay writing process:
- Decide on your topic.
- Prepare an outline or diagram of your ideas.
- Write your thesis statement.
- Write the body.
- Write the main points.
- Write the subpoints.
- Elaborate on the subpoints.
- Write the introduction.
- Write the conclusion.
- Add the finishing touches.
Choose a Topic
You may have no choice as to your topic. If this is the case, you still may not be ready to jump to the next step. Think about the type of paper you are expected to produce. Should it be a general overview or a specific analysis of the topic? If it should be an overview, then you are probably ready to move to the next step. If it should be a specific analysis, make sure your topic is somewhat particular. If it is too general, you must choose a narrower subtopic to discuss.
For example, the topic “KENYA” is a general one. If you aim to write an overview, this topic is suitable. If your goal is to write a specific analysis, this topic is too general. You must narrow it to something like “Politics in Kenya” or “Kenya’s Culture.“
Once you have determined that your topic will be suitable, you can move on.
Organize your Ideas
The purpose of an outline or diagram is to put your ideas about the topic on paper, in a moderately organized format. The structure you create here may still change before the essay is complete, so don’t agonize over this. Decide whether you prefer the cut-and-dried structure of an outline or a more flowing structure. If you start one or the other and decide it isn’t working for you, you can always switch later.
Tip: Make a diagram
Write your outline
Begin your outline by writing your topic at the top of the page. Next, write the Roman numerals I, II, and III, and spread apart down the left side of the page. Next to each Roman numeral, write the main ideas that you have about your topic or the main points that you want to make.
If you are trying to persuade, you want to write your best arguments.
When you are trying to explain a process, you want to write the steps that should be followed. You will probably need to group these into categories. If you have trouble grouping the steps into categories, try using Beginning, Middle, and End.
Now, if you are trying to inform, you want to write the major categories into which your information can be divided.
Under each Roman numeral, write A, B, and C down the left side of the page.
Next to each letter, write the facts or information that support that main idea.
When you have finished, you have the basic structure for your essay and are ready to continue.