Writing an Essay - Essential Steps in the Process

Writing an Essay - Essential Steps in the Process

The word essay is from the French and it means attempt or trial. In some ways than an essay is never complete;, it is an attempt at giving word to thought and emotions.

Your attempts, or trials, at writing essays will be most successful if you follow the guidelines given below. It is also recommended that you read Chapters 2 and 3 in the textbook. Your text contains several checklists that will be helpful in the drafting and revision of your essay.

Review the annotation of the literary work you are going to write about. Your highlighted passages and comments made while reading the work may give you many ideas for your own essay. You may have the seed of a thesis by looking at literary devices, character development, style and tone, even setting.

Prewriting will help you narrow your topic and make it more specific. Use brainstorming, journaling or mapping to find out if you have something to say about any of the topics you found in your own notes. If you can easily write freely about a topic, that is a good bet that you may be on your way to developing a thesis. If you can see connections between items and a trend building you may be identifying your essay thesis.

Thesis develops as the central theme of your essay becomes clear. You will find that the thesis of your essay emerges at you begin to find the central idea or theme for your essay. A simple two part definition of thesis is: the limited subject of the essay and the author’s viewpoint on the subject comprise the essay.

Will you use an outline before preparing a draft or will you begin your first draft immediately? Some individuals prefer an outline to assist in the organization/presentation of their ideas. Others choose to jump in and get started. Most adult learners have a well established and comfortable preference. If you DON’T, then try a few different things: outline, mapping, journaling , and find what fits your style best. You may then decide to go right to the first draft of your essay.

Revision and Editing. It is recommended that you break the revision process up into a few steps. In the first revision, you will check your essay for content. Is the thesis clear and simple? Have you substantiated the thesis with sufficient evidence and support? Will the inclusion of literary criticism assist in making your point? Is the writing focused and efficient in the use of words. Have you made your points without needlessly retelling the story?

Did you include well constructed paragraphs that were unified and cohesive? Did you vary the structure of the sentences you used? In the second revision you will correct details. Did you make transitions that helped the flow of information for the reader. Review your essay for tone, style, grammar mechanics and punctuation. Are your verb tenses matching? Do you write consistently in tense ( first person, second person or third?) as appropriate?

Proofreading, the final check of your efforts. Once you have revised for content and correctness you will want to proofread your final effort before submitting it. Check spelling, page breaks, formatting, etc.,. If you are using a reference format, such as MLA, make sure that the in text referencing is correct and the Works Cited page is correctly formatted.

Any type of essay can be made clearer, crisper, and more concise by following these pointers.