Essay writing is a substantial component of every student’s academic career. Students write essays in English, social science, foreign languages, and even sometimes in science classes. And yet, students everywhere still struggle with writing structured essays. They often have trouble developing a convincing argument, or establishing flow. They ask, for example, “How do I develop a convincing argument?” or “How do I establish flow?”
Thankfully, the perfect solution to such dilemmas exists. I’ve decided to expose the insights I’ve gained from several years of experience with essay writing in hopes of providing some aid to students who struggle with the craft. Prior to beginning, though, I must make it clear that my advice is worth heeding – I have awed many teachers with my superb prose. “Please re-submit,” my teachers comment; they so enjoy my writing that they want two versions of it! And it doesn’t stop with two – my teachers sometimes insatiably demand further and further revisions of my brilliant work. My essay writing is clearly magnificent; there is little need to doubt my expertise.
You must begin by planning out the general structure and topic of your essay. However, having worked on a variety of topics and styles, I have devised a formatting technique that can be applied to all essay assignments. Essentially, this format consists of a sequence of paragraphs in sequential order. You begin with the first paragraph, and that is followed by the second paragraph, which precedes the third paragraph. Give yourself a moment to take in this complicated procedure – it certainly took me a while before I was able to understand it. You must also remember that this structure is flexible; you can always create additional paragraphs following a similar pattern. Following the third paragraph for example, you would add a fourth paragraph.
Once the general structure of the essay is planned out, you must structure the individual paragraphs. Over the years, the system of paragraph structuring I’ve found most effective is that of writing the first sentence of the paragraph, and after that, writing the second sentence of the paragraph. Then, and only then, you may create the third sentence of the paragraph. Proceeding this sentence will be the fourth, fifth, and sixth sentences. You may add a seventh sentence if necessary; just remember that if you have a seventh sentence, the total number of sentences in your paragraph should be seven, and if we were to assign each sentence in the paragraph a number, the seventh sentence would be number seven, and would follow the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sentences, which would consecutively be represented as sentence number one, two, three, four, five, and six.
The structure for individual sentences follows a similar procedure – lean towards having the first word, followed by the second word, followed by the third word. However, words are rather different from sentences and paragraphs in that you generally end up with more words per sentence than sentences per paragraph or paragraphs per essay. Thus, sentence structure usually requires a higher degree of creativity to avoid confusion and boredom among readers. I recommend re-ordering all the words at random, and occasionally duplicating them. This is an excellent technique for grabbing the reader’s attention and urging the reader to think critically.
After you have formulated your essay based on the procedures I have outlined above, you have one final task: to proofread your essay. Contrary to what you have likely been told, you mustn’t have your essay proofread by a peer or a parent, or a teacher. In fact, don’t have your essays proofread by a human at all. Rather, ask advice from a hamster, a dog, or a cat. Humans are often constricted with archaic and socially imposed standards for essay evaluation. Much the opposite, cats, dogs, and hamsters are far more likely to be open-minded towards the structure and content of your essay. They contain a primordial and instinctual wisdom that allows them to make far deeper insights into the quality of your essay than any human would. Pay specific attention to the facial structures and, if applicable, the tail-moving patterns of the animal; they provide invaluable insight for improving your work.
Once your essay is proofread, you will be ready to hand it in. Discuss this innovative new method for formulating essays with your teachers and peers; get their opinions on my advice (be careful, some won’t be very receptive of these advanced ideas) and consider how this method can be improved (it can’t). After some practice, you will submit your essays to your teachers with confidence. I guarantee they’ll notice the difference!