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Transcript of Essay Writing
In your INTRODUCTION you should:
1) Capture the reader's attention, confidence and interest.
2) Establish focus.
3) Provide context.
4) Indicate purpose/direction.
In other words, every introduction should have:
These are supporting paragraphs (usually 2-4) that develop your argument through examples and detailed explanations and build upon each other.
Each body paragraph should have
-A topic sentence
-Explanation of the evidence
The conclusion should follow the "reverse funnel" format. In other words, it should start specific and gradually become more general. Often it helps to think of your conclusion as an opportunity to explain the importance or significance of the topic at hand, or to leave the reader thinking.
Format and MLA
All papers should be in MLA format
This is a statement that gets the reader interested in your topic. This should NOT be a cliché or super obvious such as “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” “According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary…” or "Since the dawn of man, there has been..." These are not original thoughts – they are overused! If you’re stuck on a hook, write the rest and come back later to complete it.
Transition to the TAG
When writing an essay based on a work of literature you need a TAG statement. TAG stands for TITLE, AUTHOR, and GENRE. All of these must be included in the sentence that follows your hook. Make sure the title is formatted properly and the author’s name is properly spelled.
In a literary essay, this would be one or two sentences that briefly summarize the text(s), focused only on the theme or topic you are studying. In a persuasive essay, provide the reader with some basic information and the context of the issue.
Thesis Statement or Claim
Use your thesis from your prewriting and revise if necessary. A thesis statement should clearly state what you are proving in this essay so make sure it matches your body paragraphs.
Make your thesis strong by making it "L.A.M.E."
1. Limited: Your thesis cannot be too broad.
2. Arguable: A reasonable person must be able to disagree.
3. Meaningful: Make it interesting!
4. Exact: Your thesis must be clear, concise, and avoid vague language.
The topic sentence is the first sentence in the paragraph. It establishes the focus of the paragraph and uses language from the thesis.
The reader must be able to see a direct relationship between the topic sentence and the examples used to support it.
The evidence of an essay is factual information. The evidence you present MUST be relevant to your thesis. It MUST support the topic sentence. Often evidence is presented as a cited quotation or paraphrase. All evidence must be integrated into the paragraph and "I.C.E"ed:
Thesis Link or "Clincher"
This should be the last sentence of your body paragraph. It sums up the main idea of that paragraph and "links" it back to your thesis.
Introduce the Quote
You must first provide the reader with context for the quotation. From where/whom does the quote come? In what context? It should also be integrated into the paragraph. A quote should never stand alone "floating" in the middle of your paragraph. I call this a "drop quote." Instead, it should be "tied down" or "rooted" to the paragraph using your own language. Try using a "signal phrase" or "quote stem."
Faber explains that Beatty will never give up trying to destroy the lives of those around him because
"people who don't build must burn" (Bradbury 89).
Cite the Source of the Quote
All quoted material must appear in parentheses and be followed by a citation. This generally will be the author's last name followed by the page number; however, depending on the source, this may vary.
Ex. Faber explains that Beatty will never give up trying to destroy the lives of those around him because "people who don't build must burn"
Explain Your Evidence
Specifically, how does the evidence you've presented support your thesis?? This analysis should be the bulk of your paragraph.
It is not enough to present the evidence and let the reader make his or her own inferences--you must interpret the evidence and explain why it is relevant to your argument and how it proves your thesis.
What is a paragraph?
1. No less than 6 sentences!
2. Supports one topic or main idea; sticks to the point of the paragraph
Restatement of Thesis
Restate your thesis but in a new way--this is NOT a "copy/paste"!
Refer Back to Hook
After you leave the reader thinking, refer back to the hook in your intro. Do not just rewrite your hook. Build on it. Add to it. Discuss the same idea, but in a new different way. Bring your essay full circle.
Address the "So What?" to Leave Your Reader Thinking
should have a creative and original title centered on the page below your heading but before your introduction
should have a proper MLA heading in the top left corner (Name, instructor, course, date)
If hand written in class, it should be neat and legible.
If written at home, it should be typed in size 12 Times New Roman Font, double-spaced with 1" margins. Don't forget page numbers!
If typed at home, it should also include a "Works Cited Page" in proper MLA format...all you have to do is enter the information into Noodle Tools! More on that later...
So this is what MLA format looks like...
Make sure the genre--the type of text-- is correct (novel, drama, poem, short story, essay, article). A BOOK IS NOT A GENRE. Never use the phrase “In the book…”
“Quotation marks” for short stories, essays, articles and poems,
or underline for novels and plays, Capitalize the First Letter of Each Word in the Title Except for “Small” Words like Articles, Prepositions, and Conjunctions.
A successful paper will often keep the reader thinking long after he or she has put the paper down. Ask yourself… "So What??" Highlight the main points of your essay by saying something interesting about the essay topic to keep your reader thinking. You might address why the essay topic is important, how it affects something or another aspect of the text, or make a real world connection. (2-4 sentences). WARNING: DO NOT present new evidence in your conclusion that was not already explained in your body paragraphs!
Prewriting and Outlining
Always start with prewriting and outlining.
: One sentence identifying the specific point you will be making in your essay. Feel free to use language from the essay prompt. Be sure it directly answers the question. Try a complex-split thesis format (i.e. "While..., in fact..." or "Although...., ultimately....").
: One sentence laying foundation for the first body paragraph (one specific way you will prove your thesis).
: One sentence about the second body paragraph (another specific way you will prove your thesis—it should be different from the first but still related).
Mini-thesis #3, 4, 5, etc.
: One sentence about the next body paragraph(s)
So I wrote a paper… now what??
Read it! Preferably aloud. Now ask yourself: Does it need
a little work
a lot of work
If it needs a lot of work, consider
it and taking a new approach.
If it need a little work,
hange a word, sentence, or paragraph.
dd a word, phrase, sentence, or paragraph.
earrange words, sentences, or paragraphs.
liminate words, sentences, or paragraphs.
Now, is it almost perfect? You are on the
of being done, just
by checking for:
Give it to other people to read and get their feedback, too. Consider their suggestions. Repeat these steps as necessary.
Satisfied that this is your absolute best work?
Never announce your intentions or beliefs using the first person: i.e. "In this essay I will prove..." or "I believe that..."
Stay in the third person. You and I are not part of the essay!
How to Organize
Each body paragraph should have a distinct purpose and focus. Although each paragraph supports the thesis, they all do so in separate ways.
In an essay where you are synthesizing two or more texts, separate your body paragraphs by TOPIC,