Essay Writing Writing Process Modes of Writing Writing Process



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Essay Writing

Writing Process

  • Budget your time.
  • Understand the prompt.
  • Plan your essay.
  • Write a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Revise and proofread.
  • Rewrite clearly.

Budget your time

  • Decide how much time you will spend on planning your essay, writing your rough draft, revising and proofreading your rough draft, and writing your final draft.
  • All four of these areas deserve equal time because each step is important.

Understand your prompt

  • Read the prompt carefully and make sure you understand what it is asking you to do.
  • Make sure you write the essay to answer your prompt.
    • Narrative – write a story that tells about an event or a series of events.
    • Expository – write an explanation of something giving specific details.
    • Persuasive – write persuasively giving convincing reasons for your belief.

Plan your essay

  • Before you begin writing, plan your essay.
  • First – write down ideas about your topic.
    • Make a list of all the information you know by brainstorming.
    • Organize the ideas.
  • Second – narrow and organize your ideas before you begin to write your essay.
    • Select the idea you know the most about.
    • Create a web to organize your essay.
  • Third – begin writing your essay according to your plan.

Write a beginning, middle, and end

  • Your essay should have three distinct parts: beginning, middle, and end.
  • Your first paragraph should be the beginning of your essay.
    • Narrative – setting and characters
    • Expository – thesis statement including all parts of the essay.
    • Persuasive – thesis statement including all points of the essay.
  • The last paragraph should sum up or close the essay.
    • Narrative – conclude the story.
    • Expository – explain all points.
    • Persuasive – give all convincing reasons.
  • The paragraphs in between should give the “meat” of your essay.

Revise and Proofread

  • Once you finish your rough draft, DO NOT STOP!
  • Make sure your transitions flow, sentences are clear and varied, and sentences contain precise language.
  • Ask yourself these questions:
    • How can I make this essay better?
    • Will the reader understand what I am trying to say?
    • Does this essay flow from one idea to another?
    • Have I included unnecessary or off topic sentences?
    • Have I used correct English?

Rewrite Clearly

  • After revising and proofreading, rewrite your final essay.
  • Be sure to include all the corrections you made on the rough draft.
  • Write the final draft clearly so that it can be easily read.

Modes of Writing

Understanding the Prompt Narrative

  • Narrative writing tells about an event or a story with the person telling the story being the narrator.
  • A narrative prompt will ask you to tell about an event or time.
  • You should always include setting (time and place), sequence of events, and chronological order.
  • Key words – “TELL ABOUT A TIME” or “WRITE A STORY ABOUT”

Think of a time from your early childhood that made a lasting impression on you and write a story about what happened. Be sure to include precise details.

  • When my sister and I were growing up, my grandmother always had chickens, turkeys, and guineas in her backyard. She usually kept them penned up, but sometimes she let them out to peck in the dirt. One day my sister discovered they were not as harmless as they looked. She was reading on the back steps and not paying attention to the yard birds. Suddenly she felt something land on her head. As she began screaming…
  • I remember making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day after school when I was younger. I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because they were tasty and easy to make. I made my sandwich when I came home from school every day.
  • The first thing I did to make my peanut butter and jelly sandwich was to get out all the ingredients and utensils that I would need. I pulled out the peanut butter…

Understanding the Prompt Expository

  • Expository writing explains or informs by giving reasons, information, explanations, or steps in a process.
  • Expository writing should clearly explain the topic.
  • Expository should always include a main idea, sufficient supporting details, and a conclusion.
  • Key words – “EXPLAIN” or “HOW TO”

Think about things you like or dislike about your school rules. Explain how you feel about some of these rules. Be sure to give specific examples and/or reasons to explain your opinion.

  • We need school rules because they are important. Rules help to keep us safe and promote responsibility. They should be designed to benefit all students and to help the school be a better place to learn. However, some of the rules we have do not fit into either category, and they need to be changed. If I could change some of the school rules, I would change the tardy rule, the book bag rule, and the fifteen minute rule.
  • On Monday morning last week, I got to school as usual and was listening to the end of my favorite song on my CD player in my car. I had only been there a few minutes when an assistant principal opened my door to my car and told me that I could not sit in the car once I got to school. I tried to explain to him that I was just listening to a CD, but he got all huffy and told me to get out of my car and go to the office.

Understanding the Prompt Persuasive

  • Persuasive writing is designed to persuade.
  • The goal for this type of writing is to influence the actions or thoughts of others by giving examples, reasons, or opinions.
  • To be effective, persuasive writing must provide a clear position on an issue and then include logical reasons and/or examples that fully support that position.
  • Key words – “CONVINCE” or “PERSUADE”

You have been dreaming of a car of your own for several years and have saved most of the money to make your dream come true. Since you will be a junior in the fall, you would like to start the school year by driving to school in your new car. Write a letter persuading your parents to help you buy a car of your own. Be sure to include convincing reasons and specific examples in the writing.

  • Dear Mom and Dad, I need your help. I want to buy a car, but I don’t have enough money of my own to buy the one I want. I realize that owning a car would be a big responsibility for me, but it is one that I readily accept. Having more responsibility will make me a better person and allow me to prove that I can handle important obligations. If you will help me to buy the car, I will take full responsibility for servicing and maintaining it, buying gas, and paying required fees involved in owning a car.
  • Dear Mom and Dad, My friend Johnny just got a new car, and it is really cool. The car is a red Mustang with a new paint job and new leather upholstery. The car is not new, but it is new to Johnny. He took me for a ride, and it was fun. The car is also a convertible. We had the top down until it started raining, and we had to stop to put the top up. One of the snaps that is supposed to hold the top came off, and Johnny got really wet driving home. I would love to have a car like this.

Define each as Narrative, Expository, or Persuasive

  • ____Think of an incident when you were proud of yourself. Tell the story of what happened and include the details and results.
  • ____ Some friends are going to the beach for a week this summer and have invited you. There will be no adults going, so you need to convince your parents to allow you to go. Write an essay giving your reasons to persuade them.
  • ____ Think about a time when you did something that you knew was wrong. Explain the reasons you did it anyway.
  • N
  • P
  • E

Define each as Narrative, Expository, or Persuasive

  • _____ My first day of high school was awful for several reasons. I kept getting lost because I did not know the buildings. I was late to classes and was embarrassed to enter late. I spilled my food on my new top and had to walk around all day with that spot. I did not know what to expect, and everything seemed wrong.
  • _____ I heard the sound when I woke that morning. I lay in the bed and tried to decide what it was. I had never heard it before, so I decided to get out of bed and investigate. I went into the bathroom to take a shower, but when I turned on the water, the sound got even louder.
  • _____ Smoking should be illegal in restaurants and other enclosed areas. Because second-hand smoke is more harmful to those who inhale it than the actual act of smoking is to the smoker, it should not be allowed, especially in buildings. Allowing smoking in enclosed areas is the equivalent to signing the death warrants for those who are forced to inhale the toxic fumes of others.
  • E
  • N
  • P

Writing On Topic

  • It is very important to understand what mode you are writing in, but it is just as important to stay on task or topic.
  • First, ask yourself what the prompt wants you to write about.
  • Second, keep that the focus of your brainstorming and planning.
  • Third, write your essay making sure you are doing what the prompt ask of you.
  • Finally, revise to make sure you have taken out any sentences that get off task or topic.

Think of a time from your early childhood that made a lasting impression on you and write a story about what happened. Be sure to include precise details.

  • I will never forget the Christmas of 1994 when I was only eight years old. My older sister, younger brother, and I had been wanting bicycles for months. We made our wishes for Christmas clear often. I even remember our discussing it during Thanksgiving dinner; however, the day after Thanksgiving something happened to make us forget about our material desires for Christmas.
  • Growing up was fun for me because I came from a large family with many sisters and brothers. As the third of eight children, I was very proud of my family. A family as large as ours was unusual in our fairly small town. Our unusual last name added to our being well-known in our town.

Think about things you like or dislike about your school rules. Explain how you feel about some of these rules. Be sure to give specific examples and/or reasons to explain your opinion.

  • At my school, we have many rules for students to follow. We have rules telling us what we can and cannot do in the classroom. We have rules telling us what we can and cannot do in the halls. We even have rules telling us what we can and cannot do outside the school building on the school grounds. Of all these rules, I do not agree with the rules that tell us what we can and cannot do in the halls and on school grounds.
  • Out of all the rules at our school, the ones that I dislike the most concern the dress code. We should be allowed to dress any way that we like. The dress code does not allow us to dress individually and express our creativity. I think most teachers would agree that creativity is important and should not be suppressed. Just think about what would happen if students could no longer be creative.

You have been dreaming of a car of your own for several years and have saved most of the money to make your dream come true. Since you will be a junior in the fall, you would like to start the school year by driving to school in your new car. Write a letter persuading your parents to help you buy a car of your own. Be sure to include convincing reasons and specific examples in the writing.

  • Dear Mom and Dad, Since I have been saving my money for so long to buy a car, I hope you will agree to help me. I don’t have quite enough saved yet, and I would be forever in your debt if you will help me buy the car I want…I have worked very hard to save the money, and I will continue to work to be able to pay for the upkeep on my car. I will be very responsible and buy my own gas and oil…
  • Dear Mom and Dad, I really want a car. I have saved my money, but I don’t have enough. My friend Susie got her parents to help her buy a car. Susie has proven to be a really careful driver. She obeys all the traffic signals and is careful to look both ways before pulling out into traffic. She got a job, and I want to get a job too. A job would help me buy the things I want and need so I want have to be dependent on you…

Select the correct essay that stays on topic

Think of good friends and qualities they have. What are the important characteristics you look for in a friend? Explain the most important qualities a friend should have. Remember that you need to give clear reasons for you choices and use specific details in your response.

  • Friends are important to everyone. A friend is someone who keeps my confidences. She would not repeat things I have told her to others. When I am talking to a friend, I do not worry about what I am saying. I should be able to say what I think and how I feel. I do not tell others what my friends tell me, and I do not want them to share my feelings to others…
  • Friends are special people, and I pick mine carefully. A friend does not have to be perfect, but there are some important qualities they should have. A friend should be someone who can listen, someone who is positive, and someone who is loyal…

Much has been discussed and written about whether wearing seatbelts should or should not be required in private vehicles. Write and essay to persuade occupants of private vehicles that wearing seatbelts should be mandatory. Remember to give convincing reasons and specific details to support your opinion.

  • Wearing seatbelts should be required in all private vehicles because they keep all the occupants much safer during an accident. Wearing seatbelts keeps the occupants from being thrown from the car and being killed by something outside the car…
  • Wearing seatbelts should be required, but I cannot stand them. They do not fit properly, so they are grossly uncomfortable. Seatbelts are constructed so that they fit too close to my neck, and they have rubbed me raw by the time I get to my destination.

Understanding the prompt: Purpose, Audience, and Language

  • Purpose – Writing always has a purpose: to entertain, to inform, to persuade.
  • Audience – Who is reading what you are writing.
  • Appropriate Language – Formal language is the type of language you use in writing. Conversational English is not acceptable in written English.

Appropriate Language

  • Uses complete sentences
  • Uses complex sentence structure and proper punctuation.
  • Uses correct spelling and standard words.
  • Does not usually contain contractions.
  • Uses clear, precise words.

Acceptable Standard English

  • Another vicious fowl was my grandmother’s bantam rooster. He was a tiny rooster, but he had big, sharp spurs on his legs, and part of his legs were covered with feathers. He did not like anyone buy my grandmother. He would try to flog anyone who got separated from Grandmother while he was loose in the yard. My sister was terrified of the rooster. When she went into the yard, she would hang onto the pocket of my grandmother’s apron. However, she loved to collect feathers…

Informal Language

  • Another bird mean as a snake was my grandmaw’s bantie rooster. He has big old spurs on his legs. Part of his legs was covered with feathers. He didn’t like noboby but Grandmaw. He’d try to get everybody while he be loose. My sister were scared to death of him. When she had went in the yard she would hang on grandmaw. One day she was fixin to pick up a feather…

Correct the following sentences.

  • I won’t go to the bask your homeboy is throwing.
  • I didn’t expect to lay eyes on you when I got back.
  • He’s no dummy’ he’s got lots of smarts.
  • What up?
  • When he run in front on the car, we had thought that dog was a goner.
  • Y’all come to see us.
  • If I come by McDonald’s, will you hook me up with chow?
  • I ain’t going nowhere with you.

Planning an Essay

  • Brainstorming using a web.
  • Brainstorming using a list.
  • Narrowing the details.
    • The magic number is three.
    • Expository – Three good details or examples that explain your topic.
    • Narrative – Three main events to form your story.
    • Persuasive – Three good reasons supported with examples or data.

Think of a time from your early childhood that made a lasting impression on you and write a story about what happened. Be sure to include precise details.

  • Christmas
  • morning
  • Summer
  • vacation
  • Going fishing
  • Grandparent’s
  • house
  • Childhood
  • memory

Think about things you like or dislike about your school rules. Explain how you feel about some of these rules. Be sure to give specific examples and/or reasons to explain your opinion.

  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Tardies
  • Signing out
  • Early
  • Dress Code
  • School Rules

You have been dreaming of a car of your own for several years and have saved most of the money to make your dream come true. Since you will be a junior in the fall, you would like to start the school year by driving to school in your new car. Write a letter persuading your parents to help you buy a car of your own. Be sure to include convincing reasons and specific examples in the writing.

  • Responsibility
  • Run errands
  • Helpful
  • Have fun
  • Freedom
  • Go on trips
  • Getting my
  • Own car

Writing a Narrative Introductory Paragraph

  • For a narrative essay, you want to give general information that leads into your story, or you may choose to use the introductory paragraph to begin your story.
    • Leading – I have many pleasant memories of growing up.
    • Beginning – One autumn day, I got the idea to play cops and robbers when I found two really long sticks in the woods behind my grandparents’ house.
  • The next sentences should tell more about the student’s memory.
    • I have many pleasant memories of growing up. Most center around playing at home with my brother and sister.

Writing a thesis for your narrative introductory paragraph.

  • The last sentence of your introductory paragraph should be your thesis statement.
  • A thesis statement is the controlling idea for the entire essay.
  • To write a thesis statement, you must first determine the focus of your essay.
  • For a narrative, the thesis should introduce the story that will follow in the remainder of the essay.
    • I have many pleasant memories of growing up. Most center around playing at home with my brother and my sister. My favorite memory is the time we used the sofa and chair cushions to build pretend houses.

Read each prompt and decide which is an appropriate thesis statement.

  • Think about things you regret – what you did or did not do and how you wish you could redo them. Pick one incident and write a story about what happened. Be sure to narrate an event or series of events and include specific details in your response.
    • I broke an important promise to my best friend when I did not get up early to go help him.
    • I wish I had not said what I did and hurt her feelings.
    • Most people do things that they wish that they had not done.
  • Think about a time someone helped you in some way. Write a story about what happened. Be sure to include specific details in your response.
    • My sister helped me many times when I was in need.
    • They all came together in a van to my house.
    • My mother helped me make the dress even though she was sick.

Writing the Body Paragraphs for a Narrative Essay

  • For your narrative essay, it is important that you narrate an event or a series of events by telling what happened with a time frame.
    • First body paragraph will tell what happened first.
    • Second body paragraph will tell what happened second.
    • Third body paragraph will tell what happened third.
  • You may have as many body paragraphs as you need to tell the story. Just make sure you are on topic.
  • Use specific examples and details of the story.

Writing a Conclusion Paragraph for a Narrative Essay

  • The conclusion should give the reader a sense of completion.
  • For a narrative, a simple conclusion finishes the story.
    • We had so much fun playing in our houses and using our imagination that we did not want to quit. When it was time for dinner, our mother made us put the cushions back where they belonged. Reluctantly, we obeyed, but we all looked forward to the next time when we would be able to swipe the cushions from the sofa and chairs to build more pretend houses.

Characteristics for a Narrative Essay

  • Must include a beginning, middle, and ending.
  • Introduce your characters in the first paragraph.
  • Use clear, specific details about one event or series of events.
  • Second Hole Rule - Don’t reveal the big moment until the second hole of your paper.
  • Use transition words throughout to move smoothly between each scene.
  • Use dialogue.
  • Use SMILEY FACE TRICKS!!!!

Transition Words for Narrative Essays

  • After, before, since, during, finally, later, when, until, next, immediately, suddenly, as soon as, at last, on Tuesday, last month, yesterday, by afternoon, meanwhile, afterward, while, at once, first, second, once.

Smiley Face Tricks

  • Magic 3 – Three examples in a series.
  • Figurative Language – Similes, metaphors, personification.
  • Specific Details – Sensory descriptions.
  • Repetition – Words chosen to make a point.
  • Expanded Moment – Expand the actions or details.
  • Humor – Funny details can add spice.
  • Hyphenated Modifiers – Different way to describe.
  • Full Circle Ending – Wrap up the paper using a phrase from the beginning of the paper.

Your Turn – Write a narrative essay

  • Think about a time when you were afraid. Using precise details, write a story about the incident.

Your turn – Write a narrative essay

  • Think about something you desperately wanted when you were younger. Write a story telling what you wanted, why you wanted it, and whether or not you were fortunate enough to receive it. Include precise details.

Your turn – Write a narrative essay

  • Think back to a time when you were younger. Write a story narrating a time when you were “bad” and were punished for it. Be sure to include specific details.

Final Draft

  • You have written three narrative essays, and they have been peer reviewed.
  • Select the best one to edit and revise to turn in for a test grade.
  • Writing Checklist
    • Did I stay on topic?
    • Does my essay tell a story?
    • Did I write a thesis statement?
    • Did I include characters?
  • Writing checklist
    • Did I include specific details?
    • Do I have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
    • Did I write the story in order?
    • Did I use transition words?
    • Did I check for grammar problems?
    • Did I use SMILEY FACE TRICKS?
    • Did I write clearly?

Writing an Introductory Paragraph for an Expository Essay

  • The first sentence in an expository essay can be very general or very specific including a detail about the prompt.
    • We need school rules because they are important. (General)
    • Our school has too many rules for students to follow. (General)
    • Rules are necessary in a school setting, and the dress code is an important part of the school rules. (specific to prompt)
  • The next sentences should give more information the reader needs to know and transition into the thesis.
    • We need school rules because they are important. Rules help to keep us safe and promote responsibility. They should be designed to benefit all students and to help the school be a better place to learn. However, some of the rules we have do not fit into either category, and they need to be changed.

Writing a thesis for your Expository Essay

  • In your expository thesis statement, you should narrow your ideas to three. (one for each body paragraph)
  • Make sure to list your three ideas in the thesis, which should be the last sentence in your introductory paragraph.
    • We need school rules because they are important. Rules help to keep us safe and promote responsibility. They should be designed to benefit all students and to help the school be a better place to learn. However, some of the rules we have do not fit into either category, and they need to be changed. If I could change some of the rules, I would change the tardy rule, the book bag rule, and the fifteen-minute rule.

Read each prompt and decide which is an appropriate thesis statement.

  • Think of a favorite movie or television program. Explain which movie or program you liked and give specific reasons why you enjoyed it. Be sure to support your reasons with specific details.
    • My favorite television program is Survivor because I like to watch different types of people interact with others.
    • My favorite movie of all time is Crocodile Dundee.
    • I did not like the movie Spirit because it was childish, slow, and animated.
  • Think about winning a million dollars in a lottery and what you could do with all that money. Explain what you would do with a million dollars. Give one or more examples of what you would do and support with specific details.
    • The second thing would be to buy a large new house.
    • A million dollars would make me so happy.
    • With a million dollars, I would build a new house, buy a new car, and donate to the animal shelter.

Writing Body Paragraphs for an Expository Essay

  • For every point in your thesis, you should have a body paragraph.
    • First paragraph – tardy rule
    • Second paragraph – book bag rule
    • Third paragraph – fifteen minute rule
  • Use specific examples and details.
  • Stay on topic – use your thesis as your guide.
  • Keep a logical order.
    • Least important to most important.
    • Most important to least important.
    • Make sure the order in your thesis is the order you follow in the body paragraphs.

Writing a Conclusion for an Expository Essay

  • The conclusion ties together what you have already said.
    • Summarize by restating your thesis and main points. (Do not repeat your thesis word for word)
    • Explain why the points or events are significant.
      • Schools must have rules to function properly, but the rules need to be fair and impartial to all involved. The rules for tardiness, book bags, and missing fifteen minutes of a class do not fit in the fair and impartial category. They need to be changed so that only the students who abuse the rules are the ones who are punished. Everyone should not be punished for the abuse of a few.

Characteristics for a Expository Essay

  • Clearly identified subjects
  • Use a specific organizing structure to provide logical flow.
    • Least important to most important
    • Most important to least important
  • Use specific examples and details to explain your point.
  • Integrate quotations, facts, and statistics into the text if relevant.
  • Show connections among facts and ideas with transition words.
  • Use smiley face tricks

Transition Words for Expository Essays

  • First, second, third, finally, also, in the same way, likewise, on the other hand, in the meantime, although, even though, for this reason, in fact, to emphasize, as a result, therefore, due to, all in all, additionally, for example, for instance, next, in addition, another, besides, moreover, as well as.

Your Turn – Write a Expository essay

  • Think of good friends and the qualities they have. What are the important characteristics you would look for in a friend? Explain the most important qualities a friend should have. Remember that you need to give clear reasons for your choices and use specific details in your response.

Your Turn – Write a Expository essay

  • Think about the funniest person that you know. In your essay describe this person and explain what makes them you choice as the funniest. Be sure to support your examples with details

Your Turn – Write a Expository essay

  • Think about a job or chore that you hate to do. Explain the job or chore and why you hate it. Be sure to give specific details.

Final Draft

  • You have written three expository essays, and they have been peer reviewed.
  • Select the best one to edit and revise to turn in for a test grade.
  • Writing checklist
    • Did I stay on topic?
    • Does my essay explain?
    • Did I write a thesis statement?
    • Did I write my ideas in order of the thesis?
  • Writing Checklist
    • Did I include specific details?
    • Do I maintain my point of view?
    • Did I use one clear controlling idea?
    • Did I use transition words?
    • Did I check for grammar problems?
    • Did I use SMILEY FACE TRICKS?
    • Did I write clearly?

Writing an Introductory Paragraph for an Persuasive Essay

Writing a thesis for your Persuasive Essay

Read each prompt and decide which is an appropriate thesis statement.

Writing Body Paragraphs for an Persuasive Essay

Writing a Conclusion for an Persuasive Essay

Characteristics for a Persuasive Essay

Transition Words for Persuasive Essays

Your Turn – Write a Persuasive essay

Your Turn – Write a Persuasive essay

Your Turn – Write a Persuasive essay

Final Draft

  • You have written three persuasive essays, and they have been peer reviewed.
  • Select the best one to edit and revise to turn in for a test grade.
  • Writing checklist
    • Did I stay on topic?
    • Does my essay explain?
    • Did I write a thesis statement?
    • Did I write my ideas in order of the thesis?
  • Writing Checklist
    • Did I include specific details?
    • Do I maintain my point of view?
    • Did I use one clear controlling idea?
    • Did I use transition words?
    • Did I check for grammar problems?
    • Did I use SMILEY FACE TRICKS?
    • Did I write clearly?


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