The Science and Art of Writing (Essays) For an "A"

The Science and Art of Writing (Essays) For an "A"
As the end of the semester nears the stress level for many new and seasoned students begins to mount, final essays and research projects are due and many are still clueless about how they are going to approach their projects. The good news for those who feel they are floundering is there are very specific steps they can take to ensure their success. The information within the following paragraphs and sentences may not guarantee every writer that "A" paper but if followed they certainly will improve the odds.
Before we begin to discuss these steps it's important to note the most crucial thing a student needs to do before beginning any writing assignment is to have a clear understanding of what the instructor's guidance is. Regardless of what may be revealed in the following excerpts always remember it is the instructor who will be grading the paper, it's their assessments and opinions that matter most.

The first step in writing a quality paper is to ensure the paper is formatted correctly. Generally the instructor will expect the paper be written in American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), or some other standard format. If that is the case there are literally hundreds of online resources that can be accessed for free. Each writing style has their own specific requirements for properly formatting the cover page (if one is required), displaying the title, date and author and of course citing the in-text and reference list citations (also known as the bibliography). A writer can avoid being dinged repeatedly for minor formatting errors by accessing the thousands of examples online.

After the writer has determined what format they will use to write their paper and has bookmarked the websites they will use as a reference they need to begin gathering all of the resources they plan to incorporate as part of their paper. Having all your reference websites bookmarked, textbooks readily available and some quick reference material on hand will help prevent continual work stoppages and allow the author to settle into a nice rhythm. There is nothing more frustrating than having to breaking stride and looking for resource that is critical to your paper; have your material ready before you begin.

For this author, the next step is probably the most critical in the writing process - the outline. A simple bulleted outline can help keep the writer on topic and prevent missteps. Additionally the outline ensures the paper will have a logical flow to it and of course make sense to the reader. Any (honest) experienced writer will admit that without an outline it is possible to get lost in your own words resulting in a "writer's drift." Readers (and more importantly graders) can become frustrated by papers that bounce from topic to topic or lack focus.

Once the outline has been established and the materials are all gathered up it's time to put the mechanical processes on pause and get to business on the body of the paper. Outside of parenthetical (in-text) citations and the reference list most of the mechanical aspects of the paper are complete at this point. Sure there are other rules regarding sentence and paragraph structuring that need to be followed and of course proper grammar is a must but it's in the body of the paper where the author's ability to articulate his or her thoughts in their own way is demonstrated.

While a discussion about writing style is beyond the scope of this of this article remember that when writing an essay or research project, write a fair and balanced paper; avoid pontificate. If comparing two points-of-view be sure to give deference to both sides of the argument and avoid being biased; offending the grader is never a good idea.

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