Sounds too good to be true, right? Well... it is! I'm sad to be the one to tell you, but the 5 Simple Steps is true - and not true. (never believe everything you read!)
It IS true that if you know how to do these 5 steps you can write excellent essays, but learning each step is not necessarily simple!
I've promised 5 simple steps - so here they are! I'll do my best to make learning them as easy as it can be.
1. Just One Single Central Idea
What is it that you are trying to prove?
What do you want your reader to believe?
What do you want your reader to do?
This is how you determine your central idea (also known as the thesis). Your central idea is what you want to prove and your 2-4 reasons that you can use to prove it.
In order for your essay to have what scholars call "unity" each fact and proof must matter to your central argument. No rabbit trails!
2. Have Detailed Examples to Develop the Central Idea
This is part of your outline. Yes - I know. Everyone hates outlines! Trust me - your preplanning stage will pay off.
Once you know what you want to prove, brainstorm all the reasons you believe that to be true. I mean EVERY reason you can think of. Do some research if needed. You want this to be detailed and accurate.
Now sort those ideas you brainstormed into groups that prove the same reason. Which ideas belong to the same idea as other ideas? Can you come up with just 3-4 categories? These are your REASONS for believing your thesis is true. All the details that go along with each reason are your examples proving that your reasoning is logical!
Logic matters. Take a look at each of your facts/proofs and ask if it is logical and does it contribute to your central idea directly.
3. Have a Logical Flow for your reader to Follow
Take a look at your reasons. What order will they best go in to make a persuasive argument? Does one thing cause another? Will one of your points create a question you need to answer in the next paragraph? You want your reader to be led along like a trail of breadcrumbs so nothing makes them question your logic. You want your reader to be thinking, "yes, I see that. That makes sense. Oh of course if that's true then this will also be true!"
Reorder your ideas on your outline to follow your logical flow.
NOW you can write! Do a rough draft then fix it up the best you can.
4. Use Standard grammar and punctuation
Easier said than done, I know! Get help with your punctuation and grammar if you need it so that your essay is as correct as you can make it. It's never cheating to ask for help!
5. Be Creative - Show your Personality
I know, this seems odd at the end but it's really just a reminder that this is Your essay and your writing style is different from everyone else's. Does this mean that you don't have to follow the "rules"? No - but it means you can be creative and it can sound like you to some extent. The more formal the essay the less your voice can be heard. You don't want to show up at a black tie event in skinny jeans and cowboy boots - even if that is your style!
Remember that it's o.k. to get help? If you need some help, perhaps I can be of assistance. I offer: essay feedback and grading to help parents support their students' journey
virtual classes in essay writing, fiction writing, and literature
private tutoring (sometimes it just takes 3-6 sessions to get the hang of essay writing!!)
Contact me by email at DiscernToLearn@gmail.com to learn more