There are many types of essays that generally take different amounts of time to complete.
This is your most common type of academic essay, the kind of essay everybody generally thinks about when the word “essay” pops up. The expository format for essays consists of the standard progression of introduction, body, and conclusion. There are, of course, hundreds of variations, but the basic way is very effective and is still the most popular.
This type of essay is by far the most commonly written. Inasmuch as this is the case, the instructions laid out in the rest of this paper are intended primarily for expository essays.
Expository essays present information in a way that is not tremendously argumentative. Instead, the writer “exposes” the topic, working with a well-constructed thesis and body to inform the reader with clarity and tact.
The persuasive essay is a horse of a different color. When you write a persuasive essay, your intention must be to completely sway the reader to total acceptance of your point of view, and the reader ought to be made acutely aware of your intentions as well. A great persuasive essay will not only convince the reader of your point; it will actually make the point seem so obvious that the reader ends up kicking himself for not being inherently aware of the point a priori.
Persuasive essays are also called “argumentative” essays, and this alternative name captures quite well the essence of this specific type of writing. With this variety of essay, the whole point is to stay focused on your point of view. In the first paragraph, you must present the controversy in a very clear and obvious fashion, and then present your take on things in a similarly concise and lucid way.
For the body of your persuasive essay, it is very important that you come up with three or four cogent points that support your argument well. Each point ought to be unique to the others, and offer enough material for one or two paragraphs, so that the writer can flesh out his argument with great skill and evidence. It is important in the body of the persuasive essay not to summarize or conclude prematurely. Leave this for the summary and conclusion. Instead, focus on effectively and fully persuading your reader as to the total truth of your argument. Leave no room for doubt, and kill the opposition, because that’s what you’re supposed to be doing.
The summary and conclusion shouldn’t be too drawn out in a persuasive essay. Your point has already been made, and all you want to do at this point is to wrap things up nicely. A very skilled writer will, at this point, reach out to the crestfallen, defeated ex-doubters and invite them into the fold of the righteous. Yes, this all sound ridiculously dramatic. But you want to lay in on heavy when you’re making your point in an argumentative essay.
If there were a maligned step-sibling to the other types of essays listed, it would be the narrative variety. Many people will argue that these are not essays at all, just very short stories. These people are wrong. They’ve probably never heard the correct definition before, and perhaps have not even read a veritable narrative essay before.
Too bad for them. Narrative essays can be very enlightening and entertaining for the reader. A narrative essay is like a very short story, except it is not usually fictitious, is generally – but not always – written from a first person perspective, and focuses on a central point as its thesis. Looking at the seven support techniques later on in this paper, one could make the argument that narrative essays are nothing more than expository or narrative essays with a didactic tone and a heavy reliance on personal experience as a support technique.
So, at its core, a narrative essay is just a personal story. No big deal. Personal stories are pretty easy to tell, so it stands to reason that writing one of these ought to be easy as well. You’ve been doing it all your life, right? Yes, well, it is all well and fine to approach your work with a light heart, but you always ought to expect the worst so that you’re never disappointed and always pleasantly surprised. Narrative essays have well defined structures, and need to be treated just like any other serious essay, no matter how fluffy they might seem to be.
Unlike other essays, you are actually encouraged to use personal pronouns in these. You are also going to be using all the devices employed in effectively laying out the arc of any story, namely the setting, characters, the plot, climax, and ending. As stated before, what is different between the narrative essay and any other old story is that the narrative essay will be centered on a main point or thesis, which will be presented in the introduction, then harped upon from time to time in the body of the work, and finally revisited in the ending. And unlike other essays, narrative ones are fueled by experiences and actions rather than by opinions and thoughts.
Comparative essays are a distinct subset, easily distinguished by their dialectical form. The name, as with most of these types of essays, defines the category quite well. With comparative essays, you are comparing one thing to another. Sometimes it is a “discussion” piece, where you are weighing the pros and cons of an individual item, and sometimes it is a direct comparison between two items.
The watchword for comparative essays is clarity. You want to make things as clear as a breezy day for the reader. Clearly state first what the items are that are being compared upon, then make clear what the similarities and differences are between them. Thoroughly examining the nuances of relationships between different things is a great way to come up with good writing material quickly.