How to Write a Convincing Essay
A story on HubPages starts with the statement, “I know that some people are going to call me a Bigot or Racist when they read this article, but the truth is the truth.”
That is not a convincing way to start an essay.
The writer of that story must learn how to effectively make his point. With proper methods of research and writing, he can build a seamless argument that won't leave anyone thinking he could be a bigot or a racist. He needs to learn the fundamentals of writing a convincing essay, and so do you, if you want to write authoritatively.
Writing starts with research. Learn the facts about your topic. Compile the notes from your research so that you can identify key points to stress in your essay. Plan your story by determining the proper flow for your key points, with an introduction that spells out what you will say. Write your story based on your plan. Read your finished draft and make changes necessary to enhance the flow, solidify your arguments and correct errors. Only then should you publish your work.
Before you type the first word of your story, you need to perform some research. People don't believe someone who just blows a bunch of words at them with no facts to back them up. On a more fundamental level, you may change your position after learning more about your topic. It may be a subtle change, or you may decide that your initial position is just plain wrong.
But say you decide you're on solid ground with your ideas. Research will still do two things. It will give your statements authority, and it will enable you to build a stronger case by anticipating counterarguments.
The internet is a deep resource, but remember that not all information is reliable. Anyone can say whatever they want on the internet, and they can present opinions as fact. Seek reliable sources to confirm information you plan to use.
Compile Your Notes
Assemble the information you've collected. Sort through the facts and try to make sense of them. Identify the key elements of your story based on your research. For example, I sorted out my story about bad breath and came up with sections on testing your breath, causes of bad breath and curing it.
You can organize your notes in various ways. I confess that I just shoot from the hip. Word processors allow me to flit about, slicing and dicing a story to suit my short attention span. A more organized person might highlight materials in various colors that correspond to the sections of a story. Find what works for you and go with it.
Plan Your Essay
Once you've identified the major elements of your story, you need a plan to effectively convey the information to the reader. Determine a logical order in which to present your information. Consider your target reader and that person's knowledge of the subject. The reader probably hasn't researched the topic as you have. Be sure to define terms that the average reader may not know. If you're writing about economics, don't assume that the reader knows the definition of gross national product, and don't assume he knows that it's abbreviated as GNP.
Start your essay with an introduction that explains what you will write about and why a reader might want to continue reading. For instance, I started my story on bad breath by suggesting that there may be a reason why people don't get too close to you. I explained that the problem has a solution and I told the reader about the origin of the term “halitosis”, the scientific term for bad breath.
Write the essay based on your plan. The key to a strong story is to segue seamlessly from one section to the next. It takes work to write a powerful essay, but the results are worth the effort, as readers are much more likely to understand your point. You won't convince anyone with an essay that's full of holes and non sequiturs.
Think through complex ideas and find a way to present them in a simple manner. Don't dumb down your message. Express it accurately. It's sometimes difficult to say something simply and accurately, but it's your job. Take your time and do it well.
Pay particular attention to your introduction and conclusion. The introduction should prepare the reader for what follows. The conclusion sums up your points succinctly.
Check Your Work
Carefully review your finished draft. Check your spelling and grammar. Your word processor should have tools for this purpose. Read the story again to check for smooth flow and airtight arguments. Pay particular attention to tiny details. It's exceedingly easy to miss typographical errors, especially when you are self-editing. Your word processor may not notice that you should have written “two” instead of “tow”. Let a friend or colleague read your story and point out problems.
You are finally ready to publish. Put the story up on your platform of choice and wait to hear glowing comments from readers.
One thing is for sure. After all the work you've done to present your case, no one should be calling you a bigot.