The dreaded essay. Whether assigned by a malicious English teacher or a nefarious boss, they are the bane of countless people. I used to be one of those people; until, that is, I came across a system that breaks down essays and makes them easier than falling off a log. Nowadays, I’m even writing essays for fun! My secret is looking at an essay like a recipe. You have to break it down into the basic ingredients together to make a quality essay that isn’t overwhelmingly stressful to write.
The first ingredient you’ll need is a thesis. This is the last sentence of your first paragraph, and the most important sentence in your entire essay. This is the sentence that the essay is based off of, your essay in miniature, basically. It consists of a restatement of the prompt and three main ideas that support that restatement. For example:
Prompt: Is writing fun?
Thesis: Writing is fun because it passes time, relieves stress, and unleashes creativity.
Make sure you think carefully about your three main ideas – they’ll be making up the meat of your essay.
Next are your body paragraphs. If you came up with a good thesis, these should be easy. The three ideas become the main points you address in your body paragraphs. In the first sentence, you state the main idea of the paragraph. For the middle of the paragraph, come up with reasons that support the main idea, and add details that tie into it. In the last sentence, you’ll want to create a “bridge” between this body paragraph and the next.
Your next ingredient is the conclusion. In your first sentence, you should restate the thesis in different words. The middle should summarize the body paragraphs with one or two sentences for each paragraph. Finally, you wrap it up with a sentence that ties up any loose ends and lets the reader know you’re done.
You’re nearly finished with your essay. Now, you need to go back to the beginning. See, since the thesis is the last sentence in your introductory paragraph, you need the rest of that paragraph. This part serves as an introduction to what the essay’s all about, and as an incentive that gets readers wanting to continue reading your essay. This is called the hook. For a hook, you can tell a story – fictional or not , state and explain a quote, or use a question. However, be careful when using questions; those that can be answered with a “yes” or “no” need to be avoided at all costs. You’ll want a question that forces your readers to think, thus getting them interested in what you have to say.
Writing an essay doesn’t have to be any harder than putting together a sandwich. All you need are the right ingredients to make something tasty. However, if the ingredients are bad, there’s no hope for the final product. As long as you put care and thought into each piece of the essay, however, you should wind up with a quality piece of writing.