Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

Essay greatness:

Five minutes ahead

Essay greatness: <p>Five minutes ahead</p>

Warning: It's getting late. Teens need more sleep.Yawn. We know the feeling. It’s late, and you’ve got an essay to write. And it's going to keep you up all night.

Don't panic. In five minutes, you can be cruising to essay greatness.

We're going to show you how to plan so you know where you’re going when you're writing. We're going to show you how to write an essay that your teacher can follow. And we're going to show you how to create a road map of the most direct route to your destination—a great essay.

Essay Greatness: Five minutes ahead

Caution: Know your thesis. A good essay starts with a great thesis.First, decide on your thesis statement. A clear thesis statement is more than just the starting point of your essay-writing journey. Your thesis statement is the GPS that keeps you on-course from your essay's first word to its last. (If you don’t have a thesis statement yet, you can read all about how to create one here.)

With your thesis statement in hand, you may want to press the pedal to the floor and blast ahead. Not so fast. Your thesis statement may be keeping you on course, but you'll want to make sure that the person reading your essay understands where you're going, and why. (Remember: Your teacher is not a mind reader.)

Take your teacher for a ride. Here's how:

With three facts that support your thesis statement. Facts that show that your essay really proves what your thesis statement says it's going to prove. They're called supporting points. Think of your supporting points as your essay's road signs: They reassure your reader that you really do know where you’re going.

How to Write an A+ Essay: Thesis Statements

In How to Write an A+ Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide, I take you through the development of a thesis statement based on
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.

Super-easy example. Let’s say you’re writing an essay on why summer is the best season of all four seasons. You need three points to back up your argument. Ideally, each point should build on the one that came before it.

First step: Write out the thesis statement. Second step: Write your three supporting points. (They don’t have to be complete sentences, or perfectly-crafted ones. You just want to get them down.) Ready? Here we go.

Of the four seasons, summer is the best.

Supporting points:
1. It’s hot, so people spend more time outside getting exercise and are healthier.
2. It’s hot, so people eat more salads—and get healthier.
3. There’s no school, so people spend more time with friends and are happier (and therefore healthier).

One Thesis. Three supporting points.

There they are. The key components of an essay that drives from opening statement to conclusion. You'll want to make sure your essay has those components locked in place. So ask yourself these three questions:

1. Do my points support my thesis? If no, either rewrite your thesis so that it’s supported by these points, or pick different supporting points that actually do help explain your thesis. If yes, proceed to:

2. Do my points build on each other—each one delving slightly more deeply into my argument? If no, shuffle your points until they do build on each other. Or rephrase/reframe your supporting points so that they create a clear path for your reader, leading to your final destination: agreement with your thesis statement. If yes, proceed to:

Make your essay shout. Make your essay sing. Click here.3. Do I have examples from my research, or from the book that I’m reading, to help me explain, develop, and substantiate these points? If no, consider new supporting points, or go back to your book or research materials and find examples you can use. If yes, proceed to:

Congratulations! You have the road map for your essay. You know what you're writing about, and you know how you’re going to prove it. All that’s left are supporting examples and analysis. Got another five minutes? Actually, it doesn't even have to take that longHappy travels!

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