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1. Writing an Essay Outline

Writing an effective essay begins with a good essay outline. Sometimes, instructors may also ask simply for an essay outline – as it represents the crux of an essay in a snapshot.

Are you confused about how to write an essay outline? Follow the steps below:

  • Write the title of the essay in bold at the top of the page.
  • Understand the type of essay you need to construct whether it is argumentative, descriptive, or discursive. Be aware of the category before starting the essay, this is imperative.
  • Begin to write points to include in your essay accordingly. Write your topic sentences in bullet points, leaving a few lines after each point. This is an important step because the premises of the entire essay depend upon each topic sentence. These points need to be clearly defined as they hold the ability to make or break your essay.
  • List the minor ideas that you may have for each point underneath. These add depth to each argument/point. However, do not add too many ideas since each topic sentence will essentially depict one paragraph, and too many ideas (especially loosely related ones) in a single paragraph may confuse the reader.
  • Make special arrows for additional examples/information. If you wish to add statistics, use a different colored pen for them, and label them with the point you wish to connect them with.
  • Write the main idea for the conclusion; bullet points or very briefly is your choice.

Your outline is ready, representing in a list-like manner, how the essay will be written; from points to transition to the very conclusion.

2. Writing an Essay Introduction

The introduction sets the tone for the essay and decides whether the reader will resume reading or simply put the write-up down.

For a good essay introduction, follow the steps below:

Begin with a catchy phrase. The beginning of the first paragraph is perhaps the most important. If you manage to grasp the readers’ attention with the first sentence, they are bound to read forth. For this, you can use various tactics. Begin with one apt for the essay of your choice:

  • A quotation,
  • A fun fact,
  • A mind-boggling statistic,
  • A question,
  • A personal anecdote; yes, a story can work well as a start, especially if it is something the reader can connect with.
  • Generally target the topic. This refers to giving any background information necessary, to reach upon the topic, explaining any technical terminology, etc. This step can also be take as contextualizing the topic.
  • Express the purpose of the essay. More like a thesis statement of the essay, this part is very important to get right. You need to address the topic of the essay in a way that the reader can easily grasp your position (in case of an argumentative essay) or aim.
  • This thesis statement should not be more than 2-3 lines long and will mark the end of the introduction, following which the body of the essay shall commence.

3. Writing an Effective Essay

  • Understand the essay prompt. This is an essential step to start writing the essay. Knowing what and who you are writing for is incredibly important. Highlight keywords in the essay prompt like ‘Argue’, ‘Compare’, ‘Contrast’, ‘Explain’, etc. Since each keyword is tackled differently, it is important to know how to form the entire essay.
  • Choose your topic. If you are not already given a topic and you have to find it, it is best to opt for a topic you are already well-versed with. For example, choosing a topic about medical expertise may not be a wise choice if you do not have a science background.
  • Brainstorm. Your teachers may have told you brainstorming is the key to producing an effective essay. This does hold much truth. Make a spider web diagram and begin jotting down ideas related to your topic. These can be write in a jumbled or systematic manner, depends upon you and the way the ideas ‘come’ to you.
  • Produce an essay outline. If you are writing an academic essay, some teachers require an outline to be submitted alongside the draft. Even if they do not, you should create an outline for yourself as this would systematically arrange your ideas with proper transitions. Thereby, making the feat of essay writing appear as surely a piece of cake.
  • Write the introduction. The introduction should give the background information, as well as technical information required to proceed to the main points of the essay. It needs to include a thesis statement and be effective enough to grasp the reader’s attention.
  • Write the body paragraphs. These will include the main points of your essay or the main arguments in case of an argumentative essay. Use one paragraph to address one or related claims. Create a new paragraph for a different claim. Do not simply hint at a point and move to the next one to be able to write a large number of points. A better way yet would be that even if you write lesser paragraphs or produce lesser arguments, each point is clearly be explain and given its due importance – thereby convincing the reader and making your essay an effective one.
  • Write the conclusion. Like all things need a good start, they also need a good end which ties all loose ends and produces a quality conclusion. To write a good concluding paragraph, summarize your main arguments in a few sentences. Follow this up with your opinion or address the prompt of the essay directly. For example, if the essay included a question like “Has Social Media Disconnected Us?”, the conclusion should specifically include an answer to this question.
  • Re-read, edit and improvise. Check for any grammatical or structural errors and rectify them. Submit/Publish your final essay draft.

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