The essay “Title” promises in its thesis to help its readers write better essays that are ‘enjoyable for your audience and yourself’ (para. 1, sent. 4), by teaching them how to organize, focus and revise. The body paragraphs do seem to support the thesis since each paragraph focuses on one of these three tools. The first three body paragraphs focus on the concept of organization, first through the development of an outline, then through the thesis statement and finally on the organization of the workspace. A single paragraph is dedicated to focusing the ideas of the paper and another is given over to the importance of revision and editing. This is followed by a paragraph that illustrates what one should be reading for during the revision process and another paragraph that talks about the importance of proofreading for grammatical and typographical errors. While the important elements of the thesis statement are present within the paper discussion, there is no proper conclusion, which would be the first revision recommendation I would make.
The paragraphs also do not seem to follow a logical sequence, particularly in the discussion regarding organization. The author offers three main points regarding organization presented as outline, thesis statement and work space. A better organization of these ideas might begin with the organization and preparation of the workspace as this should be in place before one can begin writing anything. The development of the outline or the thesis statement might come next depending upon the type of paper being written. If the author already knows what their argument is going to be, they may already have a close idea of what the thesis is to be, in which case they may wish to organize their outline a second. If they have a vague idea of their subject, it may be better to develop the outline first and then refine the thesis from this more organized thought. Therefore, either paragraph could be second and third, but the distinction should be made and the dual role of thesis statement and outline should be made clear – that these are effective for both organization and focus. This reorganization is my second revision recommendation.
By making it clear that the thesis statement and outline have a dual role of helping to organize and to focus, the segment on focus that seems to be very short as compared to the other segments will seem expanded. The paper could use a bit more focus in other areas as well, which could be accomplished by the removal of extraneous examples such as that found in the last sentence of the fifth paragraph. This could also be accomplished by the removal of extra statements such as the ‘do not disturb’ statement found in paragraph four, sentence five. Tightening up the writing would be my third recommendation for revision.
If these three revisions were made – the addition of a proper conclusion, the reorganization of some of the ideas and the tightening up of the writing – I believe the paper would be much stronger.
Writing a Better Essay
The quality of an essay depends to some extent on a person’s vocabulary and knowledge and more upon their willingness to use available ‘tools’ of writing. Assuming you want at least a moderately acceptable piece of work, there are a few ways in which you can make sure any essay you come out with will be able to effectively communicate your ideas. The main keys to writing a successful essay are organization, focus, and revision.
The first step to writing a good essay is found in organization. This does not refer just to the organization of your thoughts and topic, but also the organization of your workspace in order to ensure greater focus while writing. In many ways, focus and organization are accomplished through the same steps, as will be illustrated. Before sitting down to write, make sure that your desk is uncluttered, that you have everything you may need and that the room in which you are working is as free from outside distractions as you can make it.
While brainstorming on the topic of the essay, you can begin organizing the essay by developing a clear outline of your essay and where you want to go with it. This can often help you in better understanding your topic. Only through sorting through your ideas can you pick out the ones that would be the most interesting and rewarding for your readers. With the basic ideas in mind, you can then further organize your main points in order to develop a more effective and convincing argument.
The next step in the organization of your topic is to write a thesis statement, one that directs and controls the content and shape that your essay is going to take. A thesis statement should cover all of the main points you plan to go over in your essay. However, it shouldn’t be too general or broad based. For example, “The French Revolution and its impact on France’s politics, economy and society” is a thesis statement suitable for a 300-page book and not for a 300-word essay.
Having organized your thoughts and your essay through providing yourself a clear workspace, an ordered outline and a decisive thesis statement, it can be illustrated how all of these activities also contribute toward the focus of the essay. The organization of the workspace included removing potential distractions from the work area, thus increasing your ability to focus on the task at hand. By ensuring that this work area contained all the materials and supplies you might need for the accomplishment of your writing process, you have focused on the topic more specifically.
A clear focus is important, not only in your writing process, but also in what you are writing. Stay within the bounds of your thesis but, remember, what you write in your first draft is not being chipped in stone. You can always go back later and revise it. For now, just try to enjoy the experience of writing. Don’t be afraid to explore within the boundaries you have set for yourself within the thesis statement as it is explored through the outline.
While the outline is intended to help bring focus to the paper, you should not worry if you do happen to wander a little as you might just discover some new ground you could cover. If necessary, either the essay or your thesis statement can be reworked. Some focus is necessary, however, if you expect to get the paper done within a reasonable period of time. For this reason, it should be remembered to stick to the outline as much as possible as a means of keeping the argument and focus strong.
The last stage of the writing process is the revising and editing process, which should also take place in a series of steps. Prepare to take your rough draft and go over it in detail. This is perhaps the most important and time-consuming stage in your work. It is the moment when you have to decide what areas of your essay need revision and what should be cut out altogether. The most important thing you should do at this stage is to read and reread your essay, and not just to yourself. Read it out loud to an imaginary audience. This will help you get a feel for how your essay sounds and allow you to pick out any inconsistencies that may exist.
After this rough revision to ensure that the material is clear, it is then necessary to ensure that the essay has a natural flow and progression of thought. You want to try and avoid jumping suddenly from one point to another. There should be a smooth transition between each point. If a transition feels too forced or obvious, it may indicate that your essay needs to be reworked or reworded. Ensure that the points you’ve made are clear but not overstated. The best way to spot these errors is to ask a friend to read your essay for you. If he or she can understand the point that you are trying to make, then it is safe to assume that your intended audience will be able to do the same.
Once the essay is organized to your satisfaction and flows smoothly, it is time to make one last revision check for the mechanical elements of the paper, punctuation and grammar. It may be a good idea to have a friend check for these since they can be particularly difficult to detect in your own work. Typos, grammar mistakes and punctuation errors are common and can reduce points quickly. Remember, you can proofread your essay as many times as you feel it is necessary, but try not to overwork the piece.
If one follows these basic rules of writing, ensuring that they organize, focus and revise their writing, it is relatively certain that they will be able to produce an essay that makes a clear communication. Even if your vocabulary is not that great or your usual style of speaking is more erratic, following the above steps can make sure you have said what you wanted to say in a way that is clear to your audience.