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  • Hiroto Hayashi

Tim's Times

It’s essay time, and you have the general idea for what you want your paper to turn out like but every time you put fingers to the keyboard, everything ends up jumbled and basically incoherent; what do you do? A lot of the time, the only way to produce truly good writing is not asking what the reader wants to hear but deciding what you want to say. I know, I know a lot of time writing for school is hard or the book you have to read is “boring” but look, that paper isn’t going to finish itself.

Here’s my trick. Say I’m writing an essay on the Twilight series but really did not like reading it. (And really, I just remember the movie) What I’ll do is pull out the aspects of the book I did enjoy and write an essay partially based on the book and partially based on the things I care about. That way, I’m mixing my own opinion using proof to support it from the novel and the writing gets much clearer because it’s something I genuinely am involved in.

Say the prompt is, “Using specific elements of fiction from the novel “Twilight”, prove in a well-constructed essay that the main character needs to get over her creepy, dead, vampire boyfriend.” If I don’t care about talking about their relationship at all, I’ll take it in a slightly different direction.

Hmmmm, relationships… vampires… psycho people……. Psychological! That’s it! I personally enjoy learning about psychology and how the brain works and I remember that she was really, really depressed after he left her behind. So now that I have my intersection of ideas, I can write a paragraph based on character development and symbolism saying that her depressed state was symbolic of her vampire boyfriend and caused her to act in certain negative ways! Yes! By following with more ideas I end up with a compelling essay with ideas that are unique and fresh. I might even end up impressing some people.

When you start thinking in slightly unorthodox areas for answers to your questions, what ends up happening is that more and more of your personality has a chance to show up in your writing.

Another way to write essays is to think about the time when you had a similar experience and channel that energy into the current topic. Maybe for this prompt I remember a relationship I had that really wasn’t good for me, and I still feel upset about it. Channeling the frustration of not getting out when I should have will make my points much more vivid in the actual writing because this character is doing the same thing I did. Get out girl! He’s a DEAD end! (See what I did there?)

But my point is, a good written piece is not going to come from following things like PEA every day and using the same structure for every essay because the writing gets boring and flat if you always follow the same format.

Have fun with it and focus on the things that you know you can argue or describe. This is what I’ve found to be some of the ideas that have helped me.

Just use the school format as a guide and let the words fill the blank lines from workings of your unique and intelligent mind.

You got this.

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