Step 1: Brainstorming



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Step 1: Brainstorming

List all the potential ideas you could write about for the essay


Example:

The Amityville Horror 2005 Movie

  1. What causes evil to happen?

  1. Why did the father go crazy and not the mother?

  2. Why was the little girl the one who saw Jodie? (the ghost)

  • Children and ghosts (Sixth Sense); they are innocent; they can see angels (City of Angels)

  1. Can houses be haunted

  • Various demons

  1. Why buy a house where there was a murder?

  2. Why do people want to buy a house? Have something that’s your own (save on rent)

  3. Why stay so long in the house?

  4. Why do people want a family?

  5. Why was this a good movie?

  6. Why was this a lousy movie?

  7. Why move to the house?

  8. Why do people like horror movies?

  9. History of the house

  1. Katch em kill em (famous sayings about ghosts or murderers)

  2. Compare this version to the other version and/or the book (comparisons make us think about new ideas)

  3. Compare with another movie like the Shining or a movie about families like the Brady Bunch


Step 2: Topic Selection

Don’t pick a topic that is too obvious or too easy—pick something challenging (tip: avoid things teachers won’t like—if your teacher is a feminist, don’t write a pro-life paper)



  • Comparisons work well

  • Ask a tough question

  • Sort your ideas

  • Don’t rush the process

  • Good writing is good planning

  • Reorganize your list of ideas


Example

What causes evil to happen?

  • “houses don’t kill people, people kill people” George

  • Violence—axe murder scenes


Step 3: Create a Plan for Writing


Examples

Version 1

What causes evil to happen?

  • “houses don’t kill people, people kill people” George

  • Violence—axe murder scenes

History of the house (it was haunted)—the reverend had placed a curse on the curse/Native American’s dying


People are crazy—the wife thought George was crazy
Boredom
Anger—George got mad at the kids
Jealousy
Frustration—George spent lots of money on the house and couldn’t afford it
Greed—The family tried to buy a house for much less than it should have been worth—they were profiting at the expense of the people who died there
Version 2

Comparisons—It helps to come up with 3 THREE main points


Pick 2 movies or a book and a movie

What 3 things do these movies have in common?

What are 3 ways the book is better than the movie?

In what major ways are the book and the movie the same?

What concept are the 2 films (Amityville and Shining) trying to prove

-families have to fight someone crazy

-houses can possess people

Step 4:Write out your main idea

This is called a thesis statement: it is what you are trying to argue)—tell your reader here is what I will do in this paper—here’s what the paper is about
Example

Main argument: In this paper I will use The Amityville Horror to prove that there are three main causes of evil in the world.


In this paper I will show how The Amityville Horror and The Shining fit the same basic model of horror movies.
In this paper I will give three arguments for why the 2005 Amityville Horror remake is superior to the original film.
Step 5: Create a MAP

Under each main point, list a few things you might talk about (this is a simplified outline)

--you might write about all or some of these points

--you can organize the points later

--you can decide which points are good and which should be cut later

--think of this as organized brainstorming

--sometimes new ideas come to you as you organize and you can see how ideas are related
Example
Main idea: evil has 3 causes

1. History of the house (it was haunted)



  • the reverend had placed a curse on the curse

  • Native American legends

  • Demonic possession

  • Other famous haunted house

2. People are crazy

  • the wife thought George was crazy (they went to the doctor)

  • Pride—George did not want to go visit the psychologist

  • Temporary insanity

  • Drug related illness

3. Anger

  • George got mad at the kids (splitting the wood and making his son hold it)

  • Frustration causes anger—George spent lots of money on the house and couldn’t afford it (he complained about this to his wife)

  • George said all of my money is in the house

  • Greed—The family tried to buy a house for much less than it should have been worth—they were profiting at the expense of the people who died there


Step 6: Tackle the paper one part at a time
Pick one topic.

Write out a rough idea of what you will say in this part.


Example

One cause of evil that can be observed in the Amityville Horror is craziness. There are several examples of crazy behavior in the film: hallucinations, denial, cold sweats/feverish conditions, radical mood changes.

The first important issue to look at are hallucinations.
Step 7: Trust yourself—You can do it!

There is nothing magical about writing a good essay.

The key is to pick something that is hard/challenging to prove.

Then break the idea into smaller parts.



Anyone can do this.

You already know how to do all this.


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