The essay is a kind of creative task; it is a genre (literary-critical, historical-biographical) of prose, combining the author’s position with a casual, often paradoxical exposition focused on colloquial speech. The main features of the essay are a specific topic (problem, question) and the expression of individual impressions, the author’s thoughts on the topic (problem, question) with emphasis on the author’s personality (his feelings, worldview), casual narration (conversation), attention to detail.
The purpose of writing an essay is the development of independent creative reckoning and the ability to express your own thoughts. A quality essay should consist of an introduction, where the problem is posed, theses (the author’s ideas on the topic), each thesis must be supported by evidence supporting the author’s point of view, and a conclusion that once again fixes the problem and sums up the essay.
An essay writing skill assumes a fairly high level of language skills. Let’s look at some very useful essay writing tips to prove that this is really so.
General Features of the Essay
- Lack of a classical plot. You can, of course, give examples from life and literature, but all this will only illustrate your eloquent thoughts.
- The uncertainty of form. Here you can freely express your ideas. Describe everything that comes to mind, analyze and sum up what was said.
- The volume of the essay is quite small, but it has no clear boundaries.
- In the center of your reckoning, there must be some actual problem or an insoluble problem.
- Exceptionally subjective opinion. No essay can claim the only correct opinion or point of view, even in spite of a thousand proofs and arguments. Most likely, this is only one of the faces of the indicated issue.
- Imitation of a live conversation. Provoke the reader, call him with questions, raise the burning topics in such a way as if you are here and now. Your monologue should be filled with live juices and be outside of time and space.
- Emotionality and imagery. The brighter the language, the more interesting it is to read your pen samples.
Genre Characteristics of Texts of Essays
In the modern world, the essay has firmly taken its place in the journalistic style. The main function of the journalistic style, which distinguishes it from other functional styles, has always been the function of influencing the listener or the reader, his feelings, consciousness in order to convince him of the correctness of the stated positions or to evoke in him the necessary reaction to the topic under discussion. To achieve this goal, the journalistic style assumes the use not only of a logically reasoned argumentation of the proposed provisions but the use of various linguistic means to create emotional tension that emphasizes the importance of the problem.
One of the first fundamental genre features of the essay is the identity of the author. Thus, one of the factors in the development of the essay in journalism is the growing interest of the audience precisely to the author’s personality, to his opinion, position, and sensations. The most important quality of the text, written in the genre of the essay, is frankness, with which the author sets out the theme that thrills him and sincerity when he shares his feelings and emotions. It is these qualities that can affect the reader’s emotions, or induce people to act that the author deems desirable, but the author does not express them too openly because this can trigger a backlash, which may give the reader a feeling that he is being instigated with a certain opinion against his will.
And to achieve the desired effect, the author builds his narrative clearly oriented to the reader, using all available stylistic techniques to create an atmosphere of casual conversation, so that the reader is included in the author’s reflections, involuntarily began to perceive them as his personal. Consequently, the author, who refers to the genre of the essay, must be an extraordinarily erudite person, with a solid baggage of scientific and theoretical knowledge and rich life experience, possessing the entire spectrum of language as a system to entice the reader, but not to suppress it with his intellect.
Stylistic Features of the Genre of Essays
The lexical fullness of the text of the essay and the stylistic devices used by the author depend more on the topic that the author touches on, and on his individual style. Essays written on scientific, economic, political topics will undoubtedly be more abound in terms and cliches, and the specificity of the lexical and grammatical series will largely differ from the essays written on philosophical, aesthetic, ethical and other topics. With a tendency to move closer and then away from the two poles (the scientific style and style of artistic prose), the language of the essay differs from the language of scientific articles and reports, and from the language of fiction. The specificity of the essay texts lies in the communicative function of influence and persuasion, where the main task becomes not just to state the facts, as in the scientific literature, but also to express and prove the correctness of one’s position, emotionally, colorfully, interestingly to the reader. To create imagery and emotionality of speech, the author uses numerous stylistic devices, choosing those that most correspond to his creative individuality.
It’s difficult but start in advance. The earlier you start to reckon about the topic of the essay, the more time you will have to collect the material. When your brain is set up to reckon about a question, the information seems to fall on its own. The same happens when you learn a new word: it begins to seem that it occurs more often in the text. The thing is that you become more receptive to a certain type of information, paying more attention to it. To begin with, it’s best to sketch out what you know from the essay topic: perhaps you know even more than you thought. This will give you ideas in which direction to move on to cope with the task of how to write an essay. In order to act purposefully, draw up a plan and formulate a preliminary set of questions. When you begin to study the material, you will have new, more specific questions, and you will be able to search for answers already on them.
How to Overcome the “Fear of an Empty Paper”
Even the most experienced writer at the beginning of work on a new creation sometimes feels indecision and fear. But, the main thing is not in desire and not in ability: just start writing. It does not matter where you start: the main thing is not to stop writing and for the time being do not worry about style and spelling. Make preliminary sketches of the main thoughts of the narrative and after that go on to design the structure of your future creation. If you write on a computer, for you it will not be difficult to swap fragments of the written, differently grouping them. If you prefer paper and pen, leave space in one or two lines between theses so that you can finish something later. You can even take scissors and cut the sheet into strips to simplify this process. Try to compose the future of the essay in order to develop the main idea. If as a result, you get the beginning (introduction), the middle (the main part of the essay) and the ending (conclusion), then you did everything right.
General Structure of the Essay
The introduction should contain some kind of comment on the topic of the essay, it could be definitions of key concepts or an explanation of how you understand the question. Also in this section, you need to list which aspects of the topic you will be considering and why. Remember that the essay is not a novel, so you need to select only a few basic arguments that reveal the topic. The introduction should give a clear idea of what will be discussed later, and the teacher should see that you give an answer to a specific set of questions posed.
So, a good introduction should:
- demonstrate your intention to answer the question posed;
- show that you understand the topic;
- outline the structure of your answer and the main aspects that you will consider (your plan);
- confirm that you have done some research, and refer to one of your sources;
- fully consistent with the topic;
- be concise and take about 8-9% of the total volume of the text.
Start an essay with a key phrase that will indicate the direction of your answer. You can also use words and expressions that will underline your work plan.
The main part should disclose each of the arguments using examples and illustrations. Information should be clearly divided logically (for this, the text is divided into paragraphs). You need to reckon through the structure of the essay and make sure that the main part logically leads to the conclusion.
The conclusion must sum up the ideas expressed. Here it is necessary to give an answer to the question formulated in the topic of the essay or, depending on the topic, indicate the prospects or consequences of the problem under consideration. Also, in this section, you can formulate related topics worthy of further reflection and express personal views if they are supported by the arguments that you cited earlier.