Essay writing should be interesting because you have no other choice but to finish writing it and that’s why you have ended up in this page. I was clueless at school until one of my teachers tested our imagination one day. I remember it was the Sinhala Language teacher who used to question us differently.
If we read the story of little red riding hood, she would ask us afterwards; what color shoes were little red riding hood wearing? How was grandma’s hair? What flowers did you see in the forest? Those of us who had imagination that runs wild (like Calvin and Hobbes) could answer these easily, to the wonder of the non-imaginative girls who would be standing open-mouthed, filling their silence with hundreds of errrrs.
One fine day this teacher said that I have a fine imagination and that was when my essays took shape.
From grade 5 onwards I write the impossible but there was a downfall in my writing, something was lacking. That something got corrected by my grade 10 teacher, Mrs. Navaratnam. (I can write a whole article on my English teacher’s character) Mrs. Navaratnam was a kind woman, what I mean is ‘one of a kind’. We never understood what she wanted from us, never knew what interested her as the entire class (except a couple of students) will end up with the English papers filled with more red ink than their own blue ink.
She would praise us in front of all the grades IF we got good marks and this was very rare. She is a very good example of a teacher who knows her limits but I pray that she doesn’t end up reading this article as I am sure, she will flag this. She knew what she was doing, I have never seen a mark above 60 in her subject, likewise never heard of any of her students failing the GCSE examinations.
Let me share some of the tips she gave us. We learnt these tips and tricks with lots of insult, blinking back tears and gulps. But you get it for free in the comfort of your home. Remember that if you get anything with hardship you will benefit from it and anything got with ease will be useless. We learnt it the hard way so here I am helping out other students.
Essays are a classification, definition, description, compare or contrast, sequence, explanation, evaluation or narration.
Your essay can be factual or narrative but before writing an essay we have to do some brain storming. You should write these points on a rough sheet and think about or write each point.
- Decide on a topic
- Write the skeleton of your essay
And your essay is ready for submission.
DECIDING ON YOUR TOPIC
Sometimes we are expected to write essays on the topics provided. Then we should always choose the topic that we have knowledge about and that will be interesting for the reader.
If my topics are
A journey to the North Pole
An interesting day
If I have enough knowledge about skating I would go for that, as very few students choose factual essays. As a teacher I get fed up of reading essays on the same topic and when I come across different topics ah…I am all excited. This is the case of any teacher or examiner. Another tip that Mrs. Navaranam gave us is that we needn’t restrict any essay to a group. Th essay on 'skating' can either be factual or narrative i.e. You can write a detailed essay about skating or write an incident related to skating. Please ask your teacher for help about your examination board as this may vary.
If you were told to write on any topic choose a topic that will be interesting for your reader and that which you are fully aware of.
The topic says all so try to make the topic seem interesting and your topic should make a person read the essay. Catchy topics are the best. You must have noticed that newspapers have capturing topics which are half the times not what the article is about but it does have a connection to the article. Recently in my country a hen laid a chick! Guess what the topic of a famous newspaper read, ‘What came first? The chicken or the egg?’ I read this article thinking that is was a scientific discovery but alas it was this incident.
2. WRITE THE SKELETON OF YOUR ESSAY
Students and well as writers start writing as soon as an idea crops up. This can be disastrous as you can get stuck in the middle of the essay. When I ask my students to write on ‘A journey by boat’ in minutes they are all scribbling away and after 5 to 10 minutes I see them cutting and chopping their essay some tearing away the page and some staring blankly at the board. What do you think happened? As soon as they read the topic they get an idea..ah..I am going to Iceland by boat and they start, but they don’t know, what comes next.
This is why there is a rough sketch. If you get an idea lets develop it. If I am going to Iceland by boat well and fine, let me think about how to start and what happens on the way and how this journey ends. After I have all the facts I am ready to scribble, not before that.
You need not write the entire idea but just jot down the points.
Take a look at this
Topic – I never thought this will be the last time I see Anne
My idea I am Anne frank’s friend and I will tell about how we were together. The last time I meet her. About the war and how Anne’s frank is missing and I hear after a few years that she is dead.
Introduction – Who is Anne?
Body – War starts
Everything is a mess
Last time I see Anne
We keep in touch
No replies from her
I still remember the fun we had
Conclusion – Hear about her death
I have explained below, narrative writing.
Now I am going to start my essay remember to write an interesting introduction as the reader’s first impression lies here.
It was just another day; the sun was up making the breeze blow heat on our faces. I walked along the trail left by a leaking carriage. I tried to walk faster but my bandaged leg was troubling me. The only highlight of today was meeting Anne. She is my best friend and advisor. I have a secret to share with her and ask her for her opinion. I did not have a shade of doubt that this was going to the last time I get to see Anne.
The best way of staring a narration is with some action. For kids I tell them to use some noise, like
TRIIING TRIING….TRIING TRIIING….the phone started ringing. I knew that it is Mr. Whoopie, the ghost that spoke to me last night. He told me that, he will give me a call to tell me how to carry out the plan. Yes, I am planning to do something. Something, which will make my father come back home.
Now, this is an interesting beginning giving some idea about the rest of the essay but withholding the information and creating interest. The noise at the beginning of the essay is to wake up the dead mind. J The introduction is only 1 paragraph keep it to 6 lines.
The body takes up 60 percent of your essay. Your essay should have enough body to make it interesting so give your readers some nice information. The main plan lies in the body, everything that you want to write, has to be included leaving only the result to write in the conclusion.
The body of the essay can be divided into many paragraphs of about 6 lines each.
The conclusion like the topic is only one paragraph and should consist of 5 to 10 lines. The conclusion is where you release your reader’s attention. Give them a nice surprise, something that they weren’t expecting. There are different kinds of ending but for now the ‘everyday ending’ will do just fine. This is how every fairy tale ends. You can solve your problem etc. in an easy way in the conclusion.
Other types of ending that you might like to know are.
- The big twist/ sting in the tale ending
- After the fact ending
- The inconclusive ending
- Long view ending
- Explicit ending
- Implicit ending
- Tie back ending
Never forgot to proofread your essay. You will definitely find a few grammatical or spelling mistakes that can jeopardize your rank.
Read more tips before you start writing. Read tips on how to improve your writing style and how to make your essay interesting.
HOPE THIS HELPS. Please do leave your comments below.