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Student Name AP Language and Composition, p. # Ms.

Roos Due Date Title: A Few Words that Describe the Topic Since the dawn of time, students have begun their papers with knee-jerk generalizations about their topic. No one knows who taught them to do this originally, but there is surely a special circle in hell reserved for that person. Therefore, once you have written these pointless sentences and gotten them out of your system, go ahead and delete them. Now you are ready to begin your essay with an interesting statement, perhaps even a query that goes to the heart of what your essay will be about. If necessary, begin by providing background information necessary to the argument you intend to make. This includes identifying the section(s) of the book/essay you will be writing about or the conflict in question. Your essay should be about the implicit meaning of the book/essay, something that needs to be supported with analysis of the stylistic elements. Plot summary, description, and highly subjective opinions are not strong arguments. After you have laid out your argument, you will take your reader through a series of paragraphs that attempt to prove your point or persuade your reader to a certain point of view. Only one supporting idea should be presented per paragraph, and each idea should be supported with evidence. This evidence might consist of a quotation from a written source, such as the book, an article or a scholarly essay, (Author Last Name 15), or it might consist of close analysis of a portion of the text, such as a rhetorical or scene analysis. *Essay written by Dr. Kara Lynn Andersen, Brooklyn College, Assistant Professor, for Film 1015

Last Name Page Number Avoid including paragraphs that go off on tangents or discuss material presented in class because you think your instructor would like for you to regurgitate what he or she has said to you. You should only write about aspects of the text or topic that support your argument. If you have a really great idea or neat observation that doesnt fit in, you will have to delete it, or save it for another assignment. Trying to flesh out your papers with bull**** is a classic student writer technique, but the only thing you accomplish by doing so is making your instructor think you are not very bright. Once you have a draft of your essay you are ready to begin the revision process. Make an outline of what you have written so far and check that you have a clear argument that is supported by all of the following paragraphs. Identify the topic sentence of each supporting paragraph. Check to see whether each topic sentence is supported with evidence and analysis. Read each sentence carefully to make sure it is clearly written and error-free. There are two techniques you can use to help you with this. The first is to read the paper aloud to yourself. You will notice many problems your eyes just gloss over when you read silently to yourself. Another approach is to read the essay backwards, last sentence first, then second to last, and so on. This forces you to focus on sentence structure rather than paragraph structure. Lastly, check the format of your paper. Make sure the font size, margins, line space, and headers all meet MLA guidelines. Your paper will also need a conclusion. Again, avoid the temptation to finish with a vague generalization about how the stylistic elements really build purpose in the book (or any other vague statement). Adding really or truly to a statement of the obvious does not magically transform it into an interesting statement. (I wish it did. Writing would be a lot easier that way.) Your conclusion should also not be a summary of what you just wrote. Instead, the

Last Name Page Number conclusion should extend your original argument into new territory, or reveal something that could not be seen at the beginning of the paper. End with a bang, not a whimper. Works Cited Last, First. Book Titles Are Italicized. City: Publisher, Year. Last, First. Essays and Parts of Books Go in Quotation Marks. Book Title. Ed. First Last. City: Publisher, Year. pp-pp. Last, First. Article Titles Go in Quotation Marks. Publication Title. Day Month Year. Date Accessed, if applicable. URL if applicable. Page number if applicable.

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