Five steps to writing a good essay

Understanding the production conditions, doing good planning and the final review are some of the five steps to writing a good essay text.

At all times, we are in contact with the reading and the production of texts, from a brief commentary in a social network to journalistic texts, academics, novels, etc. That is why, in the school, the discipline of Writing / Production of texts should aim, above all, the development of language skills and competences so that the students become subjects capable of being placed in the world in and by language.

We know that writing a good text may not be an easy task, since, in addition to knowledge about the language mechanisms necessary for the construction of the text, it is necessary that the author considers his interlocutor and how he should carry his message to him .

With that in mind, we have selected five steps for you to write a good dissertational text of any discursive genre that aims to convey a message / idea / information, to argue and / or convince someone.

1) Read and understand the writing proposal

Generally, in order for the work of the students to be well oriented, teachers have the habit of preparing a written production proposal / writing with the criteria that must be followed. As the writing proposals are not the same, the first thing to do is to understand the commands of the activity, that is, to understand what and how it should be done. That way, before you even start the draft, consider:

  • a) What kind of text and / or discursive genre is suggested in the writing proposal?
  • b) What subject / topic should I write about?
  • c) Are there motivational texts on the subject so that I can read and inspire my writing?

→ If the writing proposal does not present a collection with motivational texts on the subject, look for two or three texts that can clarify some information and let you know the subject / topic. In order to be able to write on any subject, especially with the difficult task of making the interlocutors / readers well informed, it is imperative that we know the main facts and opinions about the subject matter.

d) During the reading of the motivational texts, highlight the main ideas of each paragraph and the most relevant information so that you can insert them in your own text. After selecting information, we go to the second step:

2) To write any type of text, the author must consider its conditions of production. To do this, the author of the text should answer the following questions:

  • a) What to say?

→ It is the subject / theme suggested in the writing proposal. Remember that because line space is usually small (on average, 20 to 30 lines), you should make a “cut” in the theme, that is, as it is not possible to talk about everything else, emphasize only the key information / facts. If the drafting proposal suggests the theme “Politics in Brazil”, for example, choose to place more emphasis on a historical period, or a region of Brazil, or corruption, or the electoral system, or democracy, and so on. onwards.

  • b) Why say?

→ It is always good that the author justifies the choice of the subject and tells the reader what the reasons were that led him to write about the subject / subject and to take it to the reflection by the readers.

  • c) Who to say?

→ It is essential that the speaker (author of the text) considers who his or her interlocutor is. This is because the relationships we establish with people, as well as the local (institution) where verbal interaction occurs, determine what I can and can not say and how it should be done. For example, giving a bad news to a family member / friend is quite different from giving the same news to anyone we do not know and we do not maintain ties of affection. The author must observe the level of formality, the age group, the social position, the position occupied and the profession of the interlocutor. Depending on the level of formality, it is also necessary to look at the appropriate treatment pronouns to designate each of the interlocutors.

  • d) How to say

We know that we can not say everything to anyone and anywhere. Therefore, it is necessary that the speaker recognizes the level of intimacy / formality that he / she should establish with his / her interlocutor and also what is the circulation support of the text, that is, where the text will be published / published. From this, the author must select the level of language appropriate to the support and also to the person of the speaker (colloquial, cultured etc).

3) Do a textual planning / text project

→ All paragraphs in the text should be planned before the author even begins to draft the text. We can divide the texts into three main parts: introduction, development and conclusion. Let’s look at each of the following parts:

  • a) Introduction (What to say / Why say?)

→ 1st Paragraph: Let us suppose that the type of text suggested in the proposal is the dissertation and that the theme is “Politics in Brazil”. In the first lines, the author should make clear what the subject is to be debated. For this, the author can choose to draw a historical overview of the theme (as it was in the past and how it is in the present) and conclude the introduction by making projections about the theme for the future (“what could happen if the presented problem / situation remain the same “). Or, if you prefer, the author can initiate the text by doing a critical analysis on the subject at the present time and its effects in the society. Another way of concluding the introductory paragraph is to draw the reader’s attention to the relevance of the theme in contemporary times, by inviting readers to reflect and debate.

  • b) Development

→ 2nd Paragraph: The development of the text is very important. In it, the author inserts the most revealing information he has selected on the subject, either from the reading of motivating texts, or from the knowledge acquired throughout his school education and his life. In the first paragraph of the development, the author can expose the negative points on the theme (if there is one) and, in the following paragraph, the positive points (if any) and vice versa. If the text is argumentative, the author should present his / her position and cite veridical examples that can prove the affirmations and information on the subject and, in this way, convince / persuade the interlocutor / reader.

→ 3rd Paragraph: Depending on the amount of information and arguments on a particular topic, the author can open a second paragraph of development to expand the reflection. In this case, it is interesting that the author mobilizes other voices in the text, that is, make quotes (direct or indirect) from other authors so that he can agree with or refute his ideas / opinions.

  • c) Conclusion

The conclusion must be quite elaborate, since it is the end of ideas. Many students treat the conclusion as a synthesis of the text, which is not true. There is no need to repeat / summarize all that has been said in the previous paragraphs. The conclusion is the space for the author to conclude his reflections and to make projections for the future on what can and should be done about the problematic discussed throughout the text. The author can give suggestions on how to solve or mitigate the problems presented, exposing how it is possible to intervene and improve our social practices.

4) Assign a title to the text

If it is not the conclusion the space to synthesize the central ideas of the text, we can say that the title represents this place. The title should summarize the reflections of the author while it should be inviting for readers to feel motivated to read the text in full, as with newspaper headlines.

5) Review the draft and make the text clean

After writing the completion paragraph, the author should reread his draft text and revise it. This is a very important stage of written production, since in it the author is able to read, analyze the final result and revise his work. We can say that this step is important also because in it the author must make a self-critic about his work and understand that there is still time to make the necessary modifications.

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