A Dragon’s Cheat Sheet On How To Write An Essay (for children and children at heart).

Hook: It’s like a fishing hook. The thing about hooks is that the best ones have bait and the worst ones get stuck in your ear when your little brother tries to fly fish for the first time. Don’t poke your reader’s eye out with your literary hook — they won’t like it.

Thesis: This is the answer. Answer to what? A question. A question? Yes, a question. All theses are answers to questions. The question to be answered is usually up to the author of the essay. For students, the question is often posed by a teacher. Now, many people will argue this point, because not all essays are the same type. In general, there are five different types of essays:

  • Argumentative/Persuasive: This is the most common type. It is the one where you do research into a topic and try to argue your own points through critical thinking and examination. The essay structure I am showing in this blog post is commonly used in argumentative essays.
  • Expository: The baby sibling of the argumentative essay, this one takes the form of a small 5 paragraph piece. It has many of the same components as an argumentative essay but it requires less research and often is found in in-class writing assignments.
  • Narrative: This is where the fun begins. If a Novel/Story had a baby with a Argumentative Essay, this would be the result. Unlike a story, however, which may have many different points and themes, a narrative essay generally has one very clear point to it. Think of it as an anecdote — you tell anecdotes to make a point. This point is your thesis.
  • Descriptive: This is the only essay type that has a built-in question/command: tell me about x. What is x like? Explain X to me? This is where you describe in great detail a specific person, place, thing, etc. A long form of this may be seen in biographies or in books about any specific topic (cars, etc.).

Body of the Essay: In general, the body of most essays is made up of paragraphs. You can have as many paragraphs as you wish for your essay. In general, however, the number of paragraphs are determined by the number of supporting points you have. A supporting point is a statement that backs-up your thesis. That statement can be proven through evidence and research, summaries and quotes, etc. Furthermore, the supporting statements always are in order from strongest point to least strongest point. What is a strong point? One that is backed up by evidence that everyone agrees on.

Most argumentative essays have a body that looks like this:

Point 1/Paragraph 1

  • Evidence 1
  • Evidence 2
  • Evidence 3
  • Optional Evidence 4+
  • Transition to Point 2

Point 2/Paragraph 2

  • Evidence 1
  • Evidence 2
  • Evidence 3
  • Optional Evidence 4+
  • Transition to Point 3

Point 3/Paragraph 3

  • Evidence 1
  • Evidence 2
  • Evidence 3
  • Optional Evidence 4+
  • Transition to Conclusion

Conclusion: This is the last 1-2 paragraphs of the essay or the last section of the essay. In general, the conclusion is where you restate the thesis in a concise manner, restate your supporting points in order, and finally end up answering one additional question. That question is: So, What? This final question is to help the reader understand why you wrote this essay in the first place.

For example: the so what of this point is simple — I want to help others write better essays. Having an outline is a good place to start, so I’ve provided one.

For more on how to write essays, please check out https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/

If you have questions or would like to share an essay with me, please comment below.

And, as always, happy writing my friends.


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