Step 1: Brainstorm your topic
– Write out your essay ideas on post it notes and then group the post it notes based on the theme of the story
– Think about which themes apply to the essay the most and then toss the rest
– Rank the stories within each theme from top to bottom
– Grab some friend, tell them the essay question and the top story to each theme and see which stories they think highlight you the best
– You have your topic/top topics!
Step 2: Figure out the flow
Sometimes, the story you thought would work so well, doesn’t work when you start detailing it. Good stories have a clear beginning, middle, and end with sign posts throughout to tell the reader where he/she is headed. To check if your story flows, write out the structure of the essay using this form.
Topic sentence 1:
Bullet points for the paragraph
Topic sentence 2:
Bullet points for the paragraph:
Step 3: Obtain peer review
Grab a different set of friends and ask them to look through the structure. The benefit of having the structure is that it’s difficult to hide a bad story without being able to use flowery language, Ask the following questions:
– Does it address the essay question?
– Does the story make sense?
– Can you see how paragraph 1 is connected to paragraph 2 and so on?
– Which sections of the story do you want to know more about?
– What is the impression you’re left with after reading this structure?
At this point, you should have a really good idea of whether or not the story you picked is suitable. If the answer is no, that’s ok. Start at step 1 again. The whole process should be a relatively quick and easy one and will save you the pain of starting fresh when you’re chest deep in to the essay.