Essay Writing Process

Essay Writing Process
Your essay will lead your reader through your organized thoughts on a single topic. Before you begin writing your essay, it's a good idea to gather the nuts and bolts of essay writing. Learn about the different steps of essay writing and how to both outline and format your essay. Knowing the basics makes the essay writing process easier.
Brainstorming Your Essay
Whether the topic is your choice or it is assigned, a good way to begin the essay writing process is to brainstorm.

An easy way to start brainstorming is to use a list or a tree (example below). Another popular brainstorming technique is to radiate your ideas out from the center of a circle. Start with a title. If the topic was assigned, use the topic as your brainstorming title, such as "Essay on Hamlet" or "Essay on Logical Thinking". If you need to choose a topic, use the reason you are writing the essay as your brainstorming title, such as "Personal Experience Essay" or "Essay for History".

Brainstorming is creating a list of whatever comes to mind. For instance, a list on "Essay on Hamlet" might look like this:
Essay on Hamlet
"To be or not to be"
- Soliloquy
- Often Quoted
- Great Quotes

- Themes
- Revenge
- Tragedy
- Characters
- Claudius
- King Hamlet's Ghost
- Hamlet
- Marcellus and Barnardo
Mel Gibson
- Actor
- Movies
- Starred in Hamlet the movie.

William Shakespeare
- Playwright
- Poet
- English Author
- England
- London Bridge
- Nursery Rhymes
After you have brainstormed your essay, choose an idea and ask yourself:

How is this idea in line with the subject matter? Mel Gibson played Hamlet in a movie.
Can I create an interesting title and strong thesis/premise from this idea? "Mel Gibson: Hamlet or Ham?"
Where can I find the evidence I need to support this idea? Internet sites, books about movies, books about Mel Gibson, watching the movie, interviews about the movie, movie reviews, press releases about the movie.
What type of evidence might support my premise? Comparison with other actors, other versions of Hamlet, Gibson's background as an actor, movie reviews.
What conclusion can I draw from this idea? Whether Mel Gibson made a good Hamlet or not.
Which type of essay would work best with this idea?
A description
A comparison
Cause and effect
A narrative
Explaining a process
An argument
A critique
Start writing an essay with an outline, using the different elements of your essay as a template.
Title: Your topic (e.g. "Mel Gibson: Hamlet or Ham?")
Introduction: Premise and Supporting Points.
Point 1: Supporting Evidence
Point 2: Supporting Evidence
Point 3: Supporting Evidence
Conclusion: How your evidence led you to your conclusion
Works Cited
The Essay Introduction
The introduction is the first paragraph of your essay and introduces the essay topic to your reader. Although your essay topic serves as your title, it isn't necessary to repeat it in your essay introduction. The essay introduction presents your topic and tells the reader what supporting points follow within the essay body.
For example:
Mel Gibson made his mark in cinema with an ability to show the dark side of a character's nature without losing his sense of humor. Robust, physical, and upbeat are some of the words that Roger Ebert used to describe Mel Gibson's Hamlet in a 1991 Chicago Sun-Times Review. Ebert went on to say, "I think it will surprise some viewers with its strength and appeal. " Believing this film to be made over too many times, this viewer was pleasantly surprised at the new face that Gibson's performance brought to Hamlet.

The Essay Body
The body is where you develop the topic that you introduced in your introduction. Start a new paragraph everytime you discuss a new point. Make the body "flow" by introducing the next paragraph of your essay at the end of the previous one. When you're satisfied that you have made your points, move on to the essay conclusion.

If you are using outside sources, cite your sources and add them to your works cited page as you use them.

The Essay Conclusion
Although it's often overlooked, the conclusion is an important part of your essay. It's the last paragraph of your essay and your last chance to drive home your point of view as well as an indicator of how well you've organized your thoughts. Generally the conclusion is a summary of your essay body and/or any closing thoughts or ideas.

Once you are sure that your essay "makes your point" and that you have caught and corrected any errors in formatting, spelling, punctuation, and grammar, your "first draft" magically becomes your finished essay.

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