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The Writer's Cafe

Essay Blogging

Outlining Your Essay

The outline is probably one of the most important tools you'll use in writing your essay. It's the backbone to the flesh of your essay, so to speak.

First, formulate your thesis. Write your opening paragraph with something that will catch your audience and make them want to read more. Maybe tell a joke, or give a surprising fact. Then, write your thesis. Take the time to write a strong thesis, making your reader instantly seeing your side of the story.

Make a list of strong, main points you want to make in your paper. This is not the time to worry about order. Just get all your thoughts jotted down. You can put them into order later.

List supporting evidence underneath each main point. This is where all your research on your subject will come into play. Be sure you've done plenty of research, and if not, there's no better time than now to do some more.

An essay without an outline will be less focused, your thoughts may appear here and there. With a good outline, you can keep your thoughts into a good order, and work up to your conclusion of your paper.

The initial steps of writing an essay: identify how your audience, purpose, and content will influence your approach.

When writing the introduction, do something to get the reader's attention. Pose a question, or start out with a surprising fact. Provide background information, then present the writer's thesis. I've heard it said that generally the thesis should be stated at the end of the introduction, but I beg to differ. I think it can be anywhere in the introduction.

In the introduction, you tell the readers where they are headed. In your conclusion, you recap where they have been. The conclusion should sum up your main ideas and revisit your thesis.

Developing a Final Draft of Your Paper

In your writing, each paragraph is shaped by:

  • Purpose: the reason why the writer composes the paragraph
  • Tone: the attitude the writer conveys about the paragraph's subject
  • Audience: the individual or group whom the writer intends to address
  • Content: the written material in the paragraph
  • The assignment's purpose, audience, and tone dictate the content, which determines what paragraphs cover and how each will support a main point.

    In academic settings, the reasons for writing fulfill four main purposes: to summarize, to analyze, to synthesize, and to evaluate.

    Different types of Essays

  • Descriptive
  • Definition
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Cause/Effect
  • Narrative
  • Process
  • Argumentative
  • Critical
  • Evaluation
  • Informative
  • Expository

  • Next time I blog again, we'll go over just what each type of essay means and what they pertain to. Till then!

    Persuasive (Argumentative) Essays

    With a persuasive essay, you are attempting to bring your reader to your side of a story, or your opinion of a subject. Your introduction must be persuasive to your side of the story, and you'll need a strong thesis statement.

    You must begin by researching your topic - getting to know every nuance of the topic your writing about. You must choose your position on your topic, along with what solution you will offer, if any. You must provide convincing, specific evidence to prove your side of the topic; you must be well-versed on the topic.

    You must test your thesis - that is, your thesis must have two sides. It must be debatable. Then, you must disprove the opposing argument by providing contrasting evidence or by finding mistakes and inconsistencies in the opposing view.

    Be sure to do your research on your topic first, then do an outline, so your writing isn't scattered, going every which way. Go stricly by your outline when writing your first draft of your essay. Finally, re-read and do any revisions needed to the paper, and you've got a paper to be proud of.

    Your Thesis Statement

    Your thesis statement is the main idea behind your paper. It's your point of view, as it is, and it's what your trying to convey to your reader. You should try to make the thesis statement as interesting as possible, to hook your reader into the first paragraph and keep them reading. You would consider the big idea of your paper as the thesis statement of your essay. It states your point of view.

    Your Topic Sentences

    Your topic sentences belong to each paragraph that you write; in other words, a paragraph cannot be a paragraph without a topic sentence. The topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph and relays how that main idea supports your thesis statement. Topic sentences can be in the beginning of a paragraph, in the middle, or in the end, but in a persuasive paragraph, the topic sentences should always be in the beginning.

    Your Paragraphs

    Each paragraph you write will add related main ideas to support the writer's thesis statement. The contents for each paragraph can come from personal knowledge, from eyewitness interviews, or from research done on the internet or at a local library. Remember, each paragraph must support your thesis statement, and if you're writing a persuasive essay, you may have to argue your point as to the opposing point of view.

    Length of paragraphs may vary. Some can be as short as three to five sentences long, or half a page long. A paragraph that is a whole page long is probably too long for your essay, unless you're writing to describe something in detail, in which case long length of paragraphs would be fine.

    Your Conclusion

    Finally, you're at the conclusion of your paper, ready to wrap up all your ideas in a neat little paragraph. Your conclusion should point back to your thesis and go to prove that your opinion, or point of view, is the right point of view. Your conclusion does not half to be long, but should be memorable all the same. Write it with as interesting language as possible, so your reader will remember your essay well.

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