Please write at least a 5 paragraph essay responding to one of the the following. Remember that affective narration is much more than “this happened to me one day.” Good narration always makes some type of connection to the audience (has a purpose to the writing that is worthwhile for the reader). Essays must be MLA formatted, including an interesting title.
1. Describe a time when you quit a job or hobby that others thought you should continue. Discuss the principal feature or this activity, your frustration with them, and the main aspect of the job or hobby that others valued. In retrospect, do you think you made a wise decision?
2. Think of a story that is often repeated by your family members because of its special significance or its humor. Retell the story to an audience who does not know your family, and explain to your reader the story’s significance.
3. Think of a time when you received a very special, but intangible, gift – such as love, happiness, wisdom. Tell the story of how you received this gift, who gave it to you, and why it was memorable.
The following information is discussing body paragraphs only. Introduction paragraphs and conclusion paragraphs serve a special purpose and thereby do not adhere to the following principles.
Of course you know what a body paragraph is in an essay. However typically we never really think about what makes a good paragraph good; thus we often don’t write very good paragraphs! And since paragraphs are basically the individual blocks of any written piece, if we are not writing solid paragraphs, our overall essay is going to crumble! So in our effort to improve our writing skills, it is worth our while to spend just a few minutes recognizing what a good paragraph is, and how to create one.
We know that every paragraph is designated by beginning with a space indentation, or a tab. Why do we do this? We must indent so as to signal to the reader when a new paragraph and new idea is going to begin. The author does not need this signal, for the author can easily follow the ideas because, after all, they are his or her ideas. Realize that paragraphs are there strictly for the readers’ benefit. With that being said, to adequately evaluate a paragraph we must see it from the reader’s point of view, not as the writer. If a reader sees a paragraph that is too short, maybe just 3 or 4 lines of type, the impression given is that there really is not much here that is significant or worth the time. Conversely, if the reader sees paragraphs that are exceedingly long, maybe taking up a page or more of type, the impression is that this is just too much information and will become burdensome. You do not want your writing to give off either one of these impressions! Thus, for starters we should realize that a paragraph has to be significant in length to be worth the reader’s time, yet not too lengthy as to become unmanageable. Though there is not an exact number of sentences as to what constitutes a well-written paragraph, a good guideline is somewhere between 8 – 10 sentences (and notice I said sentences, not lines of type).
We should also know that there are three characteristics that are inherent in any well written paragraph: unified, developed, coherent.
The prefix “uni “means one, and therefore a unified paragraph is one that has one clear point to it. After reading that one block of writing, the reader should be keenly aware of the one point the author is trying to make. This one point is a subtopic of the thesis statement (which is found in the introduction paragraph). Developed means that all questions a reader may have in regards to that one paragraph point are answered. If the point of a paragraph is to tell my reader that I had a good time at a party, the reader is going to want to know why and how I had a good time. If I write that I had fun because I was with my friends and because the location of the party was exciting, now my readers are going to want to also know who my friends are and what about the location made it so interesting. Finally, coherent means that the sentences within the paragraph flow naturally. It does not read as if sentences are just placed side by side, but rather as if one idea naturally flows into the next. If there is good coherency to the writing, the reader can forget that he or she is in the process of reading because the ideas of the writing are carrying the reader along. Coherency in writing can be achieved, in part, through the use of transitional words, such as those found on page 57 in your textbook.
Now that we are aware of how the paragraph should come across to the reader, let’s step back to being the writer again. When you are in the drafting stage of the writing process, remember that your only goal is to get black on white. Because we are not intending, at this stage at least, to create good writing, we have no pressure on us. But, we do need our draft to take the form of an essay, meaning we need to write in paragraphs. So we keep in mind that each paragraph needs three types of sentences: a topic sentence, detail sentences, and a concluding sentence. So let’s just plug those in. Working from your outline, your topic sentence simply states the one idea you intend to communicate to your reader. The detail sentences simply elaborate on that idea, and the concluding sentence simply reiterates the topic sentence. For example,
The party last night was so much fun. (topic sentence) My friends and I had a blast singing and dancing to the music the DJ played. There were also a ton of new people that I met that I found to be really funny and interesting. The party was held at a beach house, so it was amazing to be able to see the ocean during the event. At one point, a few of the party guest, including myself, even went for a refreshing swim. (detail sentences) I am so glad that I did not miss out on this awesome party. (concluding sentence)
There, my paragraph is drafted and I am ready to move on to my next paragraph. Looking back at my outline, I take the same approach of just plugging in sentences. Now, is the writing good and ready to be submitted? NO! But, in the drafting stage we are not concerned with creating good writing, just with trying to get something on paper to work with. When we are in the revision stage, we will look back at these paragraphs and see if they are unified, developed and cohesive, but that is too much to think about in the drafting stage. One thing at a time!