A. Select a topic or Study your assignment (Page 1)
B. Gather ideas and organize them (Page 2)
C. Express your ideas effectively, use structure and language to do that (Page 3)
D. Practice! (Page 4)
Source: Your teacher's notes from A New English Course by Rhodri Jones adapted to your learning situation.
Printer-friendly version of all 4 pages: How to Write Compositions (3 pages)
B. Gather ideas, and organize them
There are three important elements in writing a good essay:
• Having ideas
• Organizing them logically
• Expressing them effectively
• Choosing the right subject/topic for you
• Point: What's the point of the essay?, your thesis?, your main idea? What are the secondary ideas developing the main idea?
• Relevance: Write about the subject, not about whatever.
• The beginning & the ending: a good beginning will ensure readers go on, a good ending is the last impression you leave...
• Shape or structure
• Interest & Originality
• Choose a good title: the first impression, along with your beginning...
1. Having ideas
Jot down any ideas that come to your mind. Organize them later. If ideas are slow to flow...
• It is often useful to ask a whole series of questions about the title or the theme to see if anything suggests itself: Where? When? Why? How? Who? What? Not all of these will necessarily be productive but it can help you clarify some points.
• Another means of calling forth ideas, particularly for a descriptive essay, is to take each of the senses in turn and see whether it can be fruitful when applied to the subject. The senses are sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
• You can think in categories of knowledge - political, religious, personal, physical, social, historical, geographical, economic, artistic, sexual, moral, creative, psychological. It is particularly useful for argumentative texts. Choose the most productive for your case.
2. Organizing ideas
After jotting down your ideas, organize them into a convincing whole. Keep this in mind:
• Clarity: be clear about your intentions, aims and content.
• Being relevant: necessary facts or interesting description (no beating about the bush!).
• Being fluent: arrange your content in an easy-to-read way.
You must have a plan, a pattern, a shape in mind that you can use to deal with the topic-think about structure-AND a unifying factor acting as a guide-line all through your text. Your ideas should be arranged in a logical pattern that enables you to survey your material as from a great height so that you can see the beginning, the course your essay will take, and how it will end. If some of the ideas don't fit into the framework, discard them.
How to Write an Essay/Composition: Page 1. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4.
How to Improve your Writing
How to Write/Think/Speak (< How to Learn)