How to Write a Short Essay

This article is about how to write a short, three body paragraph essay, with three paragraphs in all. Just sort of tips and my personal process,  this is for a WOW assignment.

Step One: Research.

If you’re writing a review or critique, this is just reading the book or other piece, or for an essay on a certain topic, this takes more time, gathering information you need from websites and books.

Step Two: Outline.

This actually helps a lot. So for a basic five paragraph essay it looks like this:

I. Introduction paragraph.

II. Body Paragraph 1

III. Body Paragraph 2

IV. Body Paragraph 3

V. Conclusion

My outline is usually just like above but I write what the main argument or point of each paragraph will be, what information will where, quotes, etc… Then when I write the rough draft, I just put the information into sentences, and the hardest part for me is actually writing the concluding paragraph and finding something to say that I haven’t already.(ok if you know me I don’t write a ‘rough’ draft, I edit as I go).

Step Three: Writing it out

The Introduction paragraph is telling the reader what the essay is about. The first sentence is the “hook”, it grabs the reader’s attention and makes them curious to read the rest of the essay(or if it’s your teacher or someone similarly obligated they have to read it anyway ;). Then the intro has context, just enough information to fill the reader in on the topic, and in a review the book (or thing you are reviewing) name and author.

The Body Paragraphs are the meat of the essay. Usually I have a different topic or argument for each, and each paragraph also has one introduction and one conclusion sentence each, again to say what the paragraph is about and then concluding the main point of the paragraph. Basically it’s a smaller version of an essay itself.

When looking for arguments for a book review, sometimes it helps to look at reviews online on Good Reads or Amazon. This is sort of cheating but it helps to develop my thoughts, and gives me new perspectives on the book and the author’s writing. Also sometimes it is really good to read about the author, sometimes the time period in which they grew up or wrote the book gives a lot of insight into the book and why it was written.

The Conclusion is, like I said, the hardest part for me to write. I usually put my thoughts out already in the body paragraphs, and so really for me the conclusion is finding creative ways to reiterate what I’ve already said. Some rules for the conclusion; Don’t introduce much if any new information(that’s what the body paragraphs are for), and don’t use any personal pronouns(ugh this can be hard. But you need to be the “authority” on the subject… I know).

Sum up your thoughts on the book as a whole, what you liked and what you didn’t, say whether or not you would recommend the book, and then cap it off with a concluding sentence, which should mirror the introductory ‘”hook”.

Step Four: Finishing

And Yay! You’re done! Now all you have to do is go over and polish the essay:

Get rid of those unnecessary sentences!

Make sure you don’t repeat anything!

Don’t use the same words or phrases twice in the same paragraph! 

Check Spelling and grammar(have someone else read it!)

And of course if you’re going to read it out loud to the class, practice a few times out loud so that you don’t stumble over complicated sentences.

And now you have an essay!!! Now go to bed, ‘cause you’ve stayed up late the night before it was due frantically writing it up. Such procrastination ;)

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