How to Write a Good (Basic) Essay

1. Write a five-sentence summary about the whole paper, and try to make it mimic what your paper will look like when you’re done. The first sentence, like the first paragraph, is your introduction. The next three (or two, or four, or thirty, or whatever) sentences should be your “body” sentences, like the body paragraphs in a standard essay. The last sentence should be a conclusion sentence, like the conclusion paragraph, but don’t be too descriptive. Save that for later.

2. Copy your whole introduction and paste it below where it is now. Delete the first and last sentences and put paragraph breaks in between each sentence. Leave that sentence up while you type that particular paragraph. It is your thesis sentence for that particular paragraph. Leaving it up there will help keep you on topic, since paragraphs are only supposed to have breaks when the subject changes, not when there’s a “break in the conversation.”

3. Copy your introductory paragraph again and paste it below the rest of it all. Now, plagiarize! Well, plagiarize yourself. Take the words you wrote in the introduction and pretend like you’re trying to hide that you plagiarized it from the first paragraph. As long as you don’t mind that your work is being passed off as someone else’s, your other personality won’t mind borrowing your ideas.

4. Now, go back and revise the whole paper. Make sure you smooth out sudden changes in direction, such as hopping to a topic that has little or no relevance to the one you were just discussing. You are free to mess with the format you created using the first three steps because it is just a framework.

5. Wait a while, maybe have a sandwich or something. Then come back and revise the whole paper again. Trust me.

6. Wait a while, don’t have another sammich, then come back and revise the whole paper again.

7. Repeat step #6.

8. Repeat step #7.

9. Repeat step #8.

10. Get the idea?


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