Essay writing is an art form in itself. However, it is an art which anyone can have a strong foundation in.
An essay is not just words or ideas on a page. Much like a novel, a painting or a musical composition, writing an essay requires a series of basic elements to come together in order for it to work.
Here are the five things you need to turn your paper into a strong, quality essay:
1. Strong Structure
More than anything else, every essay needs a strong and balanced structure. A sound structure gives you the power to make any kind of argument in a convincing manner. Without the structure, your paper just looks incoherent and thrown together.
A basic structure requires an introduction, body and conclusion. However, a quality essay will take this one step further.
Take the time to organize the body by listing your ideas properly. List your ideas in order of importance and then lay them out so that they flow into a strong argument.
2. Succinct Prose
The best writers never say in 20 words what they could have said in five. Keep your prose tight and don’t meander into the details that are not going to matter later.
As you proofread your essay, look for filler words that are frequently used. Then, check to see if the sentence still makes sense when you remove them. You’ll soon be on your way to tightening up your writing.
Finally, remember that digressions are good for dinner parties but they’re confusing for readers.
3. Up-to-Date Resources
One of the most important parts of essay writing is reading. Finding your resources before you start writing is one of the keys to success in essay writing. Allow yourself the time to look back at old resources; but, only use the most relevant readings in the essay itself.
Unless you’re writing a brief history of a subject, you should avoid including old theories that have been disproved or disregarded. Keep it current and modern and don’t linger too long in the past.
Remember, the more familiar you are with your resources, the easier it will be to draw them together to create a strong structure and succinct prose when it is time to start writing.
4. Strong Language
It is tempting to pull out a thesaurus when you’re writing an essay. However, using long, unintelligible words is not the mark of strong language. In fact, heavy jargon or unfamiliar words will actually make your paper harder to read. This is one quality that essay writing companies say they always see in work they review. Jargon and complex phrasing can even dilute your argument if you accidentally use one incorrectly. The only time you really need a thesaurus is when the word you’re searching for is not appearing.
Strong language is not about the words you use to communicate, per se. You’re using strong language when you’re able to convey meaning in a direct way that even those outside your discipline can understand.
5. Personal Touch
Finally, add some style to your piece. A good essay does not just regurgitate other people’s arguments. A good essay is distinctly yours and carries your voice through the piece.
To add your voice, you need to fully engage with the material. Spend time thinking and writing about what you think about your sources. Try to find a unique angle. Then, write about it in a way that is personal but does not compromise the integrity of the piece
Professional writers will tell you that an essay is never finished but merely abandoned.
But remember that you don’t need to be a professional essayist to write a strong essay. Just follow these five simple steps and you will write a paper that is not just fun to write but fun to read.