- Come up with your main argument
Now, when it comes to essay writing, this is the key. This is your starting point, so it can be as specific or as broad as you like. You’re not committed to this idea, so the broader the better. That way, you can let it develop as your essay goes on!
e.g. Renaissance Female education was primarily focused on their submission
- Write down all of your ideas related to this argument
Literally whatever you can think of to support your main points, just write it down underneath each point. Whether these are themes, particular sections of text, theory, your own thoughts, all of it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to stick to these!
- Decide on your main areas of exploration
Now that you’ve got a bunch of ideas set out, you need to split your main argument into a few smaller points (depending on your word count), each one evidencing your overall idea:
a) the promotion of domestic education
b) danger of wandering thoughts
c) limitations of female access to male roles
- Collate together all of your evidence
Now that you’ve got the skeleton of your essay down, you need to make sure you have all of the necessary information for you to get writing. This includes relevant evidence from your texts, quotes from secondary sources, statistics, important dates you need to reference, etc.
- Put your evidence in a document according to your main points
When it comes to essay writing, I highly recommend putting your evidence and plan in a different document. It definitely helps to set out your main points with the corresponding ideas and evidence beneath each one, just so you don’t get confused! This is extremely useful for reference while you’re writing and tracking where exactly you’re at.
- Write your main paragraphs first
Yep, really. Never mind explaining what you’re doing with an introduction just yet, because you might not even know!
Just get going with putting those main points that you just planned out into sentences, forming your paragraphs according to this structure:
• introductory sentence (what you’re about to be telling us)
• main point (now bring in your main point, you’re about to convince me on this)
• evidence (give me a juicy quote or statistic)
• explanation (now tell me how this supports your point)
• conclusion of evidence (finish off by telling me what this means for your overall argument)
- Write your introduction/conclusion
Yes, now is the time. I recommend writing your conclusion first, because you’ve basically already got this down. Your conclusion is essentially just an overview of each conclusion that you’ve made within your paragraphs. These then form together to create the overall conclusion.
Then your introduction. It’s essentially the same as your conclusion, I won’t lie. You just need to change it a little so that it reads more as an opening. So pop some context in there, tell me a bit about what’s going on and why this argument even exists. If it’s based on theory or research from elsewhere, let me know. Make sure I’ve got everything I need to get started with your argument.
- Insert your referencing
If you’ve been following this foolproof and quite obviously perfect essay writing guide, you will have collected all of the referencing info you need for each of your pieces of evidence.
I personally like to create references in my planning document as and when i find each piece of evidence. So if I find a good quote from my Renaissance Drama textbook, I’ll note it down and reference it asap. That way, you can copy and paste the entire reference into your finished essay document.