Get Your Readers’ Attention!

Writing Tutorial

Get Your Readers' Attention!

Intro

When you’re required by your instructor to write an essay, what can you do to make your essay memorable from 30, 50, or even 150 other essays your instructor has to read? If you are free to state your opinion, state it from the heart. If you are assigned to submit an essay over material covered in the course, make sure you know the material, can show in your essay that you know the material, and don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for information. Anticipate questions the reader might have and cover them in your essay.

Sample Problem

Example 1: Who is your favorite author or poet and why? Be sure to include important works and facts about your writer.

Example 2: How is the Boston Tea Party influential to the birth of the United States of America? Use key figures in America’s history and explain how they made a contribution.

Solution

1) DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE NIGHT BEFORE THE ASSIGNMENT IS DUE!

The day the essay is assigned, consider topic ideas, or if the topic is given, how you would like to tackle the topic and WRITE THEM ALL DOWN, no matter how ridiculous they seem. Try to look at the topic from another angle. Don’t be afraid to be different from your class.
Example 1: “My favorite authors are The Brothers Grimm because…” – I could have chosen any single author, but why? That’s what everyone else is doing. I could try to earn points with my instructor by going the extra mile on an author or writer we have covered in class if that author made a good first impression, but if not done right, this approach could appear like I’m being lazy or do not possess the skills to think for myself. This approach is risky. I would consult my instructor if this is the approach for you, to discuss with them how they would like me to complete the assignment.
Example 2: We have already been asked a question for which we now need to answer. Do not be afraid to throw in extra facts you might find that pertain to the question being asked, reread vocabulary and key points discussed in class and utilize them, and most important, go outside of your textbook to find more information on the subject matter. I suggest the library.

2) Set realistic goals to work on your essay in some capacity every day, and write them down where you can see them every day. Either set a content goal – have a certain amount completed each day and stick to it, or a time goal, which works better the further away your deadline is, of how much of your day you will dedicate to your assignment without distraction: Set goals to complete your essay one day before it is due, if possible. This allows for unplanned catastrophes like misplacing files, computer mishaps, printing or format trouble, and proofreading by yourself and someone else you admire

3) Assess how much research is needed to complete your essay and allot the appropriate time

4) Consider opening your mind to the topic and research different views if necessary, to set yourself apart from how your classmates might complete the assignment while adhering to assignment stipulations. Go out of your way to show you know the topic. This is your chance to voluntarily recite terms you have learned in class. Take advantage!
Example 1: I would probably research and submit, the births and deaths of the Brothers Grimm, locations for these, probably their first work, my favorite of their works, why it is my favorite, maybe a little known fact about another work, a list of works they have completed, any works they might have completed apart from the other, their last work, when it was completed, and if significant, how close to their deaths were they when they completed their last work. Outside interests or other careers they may have had and education information are also contributing information to the essay requirement.
I haven’t been asked to submit a little known fact about another work or any works they may have completed separately, but it shows I did the research, I know my topic, and I am able to supply more information than just that which is required without going overboard.
Example 2: Here, I would start with when, where, and what the Boston Tea Party was. From there it’s not very far of a stretch to discuss any number of influential individuals within the birth of the USA. I would absolutely give myself time to do plenty of research on several key individuals and key events they were involved in to support my decision in choosing these individuals, and depending on length requirements, choose two to four or five to show I know what I’m talking about.

5) Explain the assignment to someone else (even your instructor) and give them your ideas on how you want to undertake the essay. Contemplate their feedback and make sure your essay is your own

6) Formulate a proper outline, careful to keep each idea and subject separate. Outlines are very important! They are the backbones to our essays. Without them, well, I’m sure you can imagine humans without backbones. These are rough, but organized, scribbled, but crucial pieces to the puzzle that is your homework assignment. For help on completing an outline, visit: http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/outline.html

7) Be thorough in your research and understand your findings: Be careful not to contradict yourself

8) Track your references and cite properly because plagiarism is a serious matter! Help with references and proper citations can be found here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/2/

9) Write your essay!

10) Use a thesaurus to avoid word repetition and redundancy, and a dictionary to verify you are using the correct vocabulary
Example 1: “The original releases of some of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales was not widely accepted originally because they were too significant. Eventually, they changed the offensive works to be more widely accepted by more people.”
I have original and originally and another “ly” word (adverb) uncomfortably close and I used the word “more” twice in one sentence which appears juvenile at best. Additionally, I have used the word “significant” here which can be defined as “important or critical”, “telling or meaningful”. It doesn’t appear that this word is the word that fits when I needed a word that describes that those who first read the initial works thought the stories were shocking, disgusting, ghastly, and horrifying. The word “significant” does not fit. Let’s change the sentences to:”The original releases of some of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales was not widely accepted at first because they were too gruesome. Over time, the Brothers Grimm altered the offensive works to be widely accepted by society.”

11) Be concise in your points. Avoid fluff – too many adjectives, repeating ideas: Sentences that do nothing to support the topic are best removed
Example 2: “The Boston Tea Party occurred in Boston, Massachusetts on December 16, 1773. The men typically wore white wigs which was fashionable for the period. The men involved in the demonstration dressed up as Native Americans, boarded three big ships carrying fresh, new tea belonging to the Dutch East India Company, and threw it overboard into the water.” Now the mention of the wigs, while pertinent to this era, does not belong in an essay examining the Boston Tea Party, and should be omitted. “Big” ships seems to be a bit of a common understanding because we used the word “ships”, we can understand that ships are big therefore, “big” can be omitted. “Fresh” and “new” are not only somewhat of a redundancy, we don’t know for sure if the tea was “fresh” or “new”. Ships don’t move very fast therefore, we can assume, the tea was neither “fresh”, nor “new”, so these terms can be omitted. What is the last mistake in this example? If you found “overboard into the water”, you’re correct! We have already established that the tea was on three ships. One can easily deduce that these ships were in the water, therefore, “into the water” can be omitted. Our new sentence is as follows: “The Boston Tea Party occurred in Boston, Massachusetts on December 16, 1773. The men involved in the demonstration dressed up as Native Americans, boarded three ships carrying tea belonging to the Dutch East India Company, and threw it overboard.”

12) Spellcheck and proofread your essay. Have at least one other adult read it, and respect their criticisms and make sure to answer any questions you, or they, might have in your essay. If someone has the question, your instructor probably will as well.

13) Verify your references are correct

14) Verify you have adhered to all assignment expectations

15) Read one final time and decide on an appropriate title, if necessary



About The Author

"Be Courageous And Try To Write In A Way That Scar
I am a non-traditional student majoring in Psychology, at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas where I am a Junior. I am originally from Portland, Oregon, born of parents who are writers, one of whom has been published. I have previously tutored community college students in Writing and Englis...
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