Writing a Multi-paragraph Essay

Learning Objective:

  • Write a well-organized, multi-paragraph essay supporting a position.

When writing a longer essayA short piece of writing that focuses on at least one main idea. Some essays are also focused on the author's unique point of view, making them personal or autobiographical, while others are focused on a particular literary, scientific, or political subject. with three or more paragraphs, you should follow the writing processA series of steps that guides a writer through the process of gathering ideas, outlining, writing, and revising an essay, article, or story., which helps you choose a topicThe subject of a reading. and organize your ideas. This process involves a series of steps from when you begin thinking about writing until you have proofreadThe process of carefully searching a writing draft for mistakes at the sentence- and word-level in order to correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. the final draftThe last version of a writing that has been revised, edited, and proofread.. Here are the steps to the writing process that help you prepare to begin writing.

The Writing Process

Step 1: Brainstorm ideas.
First, begin by brainstormingA prewriting technique where the author lists multiple ideas as he or she thinks of them, not considering one more than another until all ideas are captured. The objective is to create one great idea, or many ideas, on which to base a writing. ideas so you can identify a topic for your writing. To do this, you might make a list, draw a diagram, or spend some time freewritingA prewriting technique where the author begins writing without regard to spelling or grammar about ideas, topics, or even characters, descriptions of events, and settings. Often the writer will freewrite for a set period of time. The objective is to develop a storyline through the writing process itself. about what is on your mind. Take time to research your topic, noting ideas and information that you think might work in your essay.

Step 2: Develop a thesis.
Next, once you have brainstormed ideas and identified a topic for your writing, develop a thesisAn overall argument, idea, or belief that a writer uses as the basis for a work., which is the controlling idea of your essay. Your thesis statementA brief statement that identifies a writer's thoughts, opinions, or conclusions about a topic. Thesis statements bring unity to a piece of writing, giving it a focus and a purpose. You can use three questions to help form a thesis statement: What is my topic? What am I trying to say about that topic? Why is this important to me or my reader? tells the reader what you are writing about and why it is important to your audienceThe group of people a writer expects to read a text. Writers use specific language, details, and examples to speak directly to their intended audience. For example, you would write and organize your work differently if your audience was a group of experts in the field of your work than if it was a group of undergraduate students being introduced to the topic.. It should also reflect your opinionPoint of view that shows a personal belief or bias and cannot be proven to be completely true. or attitude toward the topic.

Step 3: Create an outline.
Third, outline your ideas for the essay. Creating an outlineA preliminary plan for a piece of a writing, often in the form of a list. It should include a topic, audience, purpose, thesis statement, and main and supporting points. , even if it is rough and may change as you write, helps you determine if you have enough information to support your thesis and allows you to begin organizing that information in your essay.

Step 4: Write a rough draft.
Once you have worked through the preliminary parts of the writing process, you are ready to begin writing a rough draftThe first version of a writing that will undergo rewriting, additions, and editing before it becomes the final draft. of your essay. Be sure to keep the structure of an essay in mind as you write, making sure to include an introductionThe first paragraph of an essay. It must engage the reader, set the tone, provide background information, and present the thesis. paragraph, body paragraphsThe part of an essay that comes after the introduction and before the conclusion. Body paragraphs lay out the main ideas of an argument and provide the support for the thesis. All body paragraphs should include these elements: a topic sentence, major and minor details, and a concluding statement. Each body paragraph should stand on its own but also fit into the context of the entire essay, as well as support the thesis and work with the other supporting paragraphs. , and a conclusionThe end portion of a writing that contains a summary or synthesis of the idea in the work. This includes a recap of key points and reminders of the author's purpose and thesis statement. paragraph. The introduction paragraph brings the audience into the essay by getting them interested in the topic. It also includes the thesis statement. The body paragraphs provide the information to support the thesis. Finally, the conclusion mirrors the introduction by reminding readers of the thesis statement and helps finalize the essay by reinforcing the main points.