How to write an awesome essay


Natalie Larimer, Staff Writer

When you start to write an essay, do you ever get extremely intimidated by the blank screen staring at you? It is one of the most distracting things I can think of when I try to do homework. So, to help you guys out (and also myself) I am writing this piece to hopefully get you past the blank screen with the question, “How do I write an awesome essay?”


When writing an essay, never write the intro first. Doesn’t it seem like it would be a lot easier to write an intro about something you’ve already written? Every time I attempt to write an essay, I get on a roll with my body paragraphs and completely ignore my intro and look back later and they don’t correlate at all. If you write your intro after writing the rest of the paper first, you tend to have a better thesis.

I like to think of a thesis statement as a trailer for a movie. You want to take the highlights from your paper and smash them into one sentence, but don’t include the counter-argument. If you are watching a trailer for a movie, you want to see the part where Ferris sings in a parade, not when Cameron is kicking his dad’s Ferrari because he’s so mad (by the way, I am referencing the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and if you have not seen it I assume you live under a rock).

When you write your thesis statement, don’t say “even though…” or “in spite of…” or anything that makes it sound like whatever you’re arguing has more of a bad side than a good side. Instead of those, write “because…” statements. A trailer for a movie wants to show you a sneak peek of the movie and why you should watch it. A thesis statement introduces the topic you are going over and why the reader should agree with your stance.


Now to the body paragraphs. First, never ever start a paragraph with a quote. Topic sentences are like the thesis of the paragraph. Include the highlights. Back to the movie trailer, if this paragraph explains how Ferris convinced Cameron to come with him, show Cameron in his car getting ready to go meet Ferris, not Cameron lying in a bedroom full of medicine and used tissues.

Counter-arguments are my least favorite part about essays. When mentioning a counter-argument, make sure you can shoot it down in your next paragraph. If you say that Abraham Lincoln was a racist (which he was. It was hard not to be back in those times), then you have to have a counter-to-the-counter-argument up your sleeve such as, “Lincoln may have been a racist, but he still believed slavery was morally wrong and that is why he issued the Emancipation Proclamation.”

Always assume that the reader of your essay has no idea what you are talking about. In doing this, you are very descriptive. Also, include a little hint of voice in your essay. It’s okay to have a funny sentence in the middle of a historical argument (appropriately though. Don’t make jokes about the Holocaust or anything). If you make somebody laugh, they tend to like you more. If you make a teacher laugh at an essay, they are more likely to be an easier grader, improving your score one pun at a time.


Last thing I’m going to mention. Your conclusion should be just like your intro but worded differently. Start with a thesis-like statement, and then explain how the points you argue in the paper support the thesis. If you include the counter-argument, then make sure you stay in control over the reader’s opinion. Good luck with your future essays and go watch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” if you have indeed been living under a rock.