In this lesson, our instructor Rebekah Hendershot gives an introduction to writing: the middle and end. She starts by going over the three parts of a good essay. She explains how to write the middle part with details and structure, and how to write a winning conclusion.
Theres an old joke that good writing has three parts: tell your audience what youre going to tell them, then tell them what youre telling them, and then tell them what youve told them. And whatever you do, dont repeat yourself!
The middle, or body, of your essay, is where you use details to support your point or tell your story. Make sure you arrange your details correctly:
Begin with one of your two strongest points
Put your weakest points in the middle of your list
End on the other of your two strongest points
Pacing is key! Good pacing covers a multitude of writing sins.
Dont let any one point go on too long or end too quickly.
Study the flow of professional writing to see how they do it (even pros do this).
Read your essay aloud. Does it drag in the middle, or seem to change topics abruptly? Thats a clue to a pacing problem!
A good conclusion restates the main idea of the essaywithout repeating it. To do that, use echoes and callbacks.
Echoes: words and images that recall the beginning of the essay without actually repeating it (synonyms, allusions, etc.)
Callbacks: direct references to the beginning of the essay (picking up the story from the hook, repeating words with a new twist)
The best conclusions evolve from their theses. Take your main idea and put an extra spin on it.
Remember to have fun with your conclusion, as well as the rest of your essay. If youre enjoying what you write, your reader is more likely to enjoy reading it.
Once again, I recommend Spider Robinsons essays in The Crazy Years.
When in doubt:
Arrange your details in the order that makes the most sense to you. Then try explaining them to someone else.
Save some of the good ammunition for the end of the shooting match.
Remember that humans love repetition and hate predictabilityso repeat yourself unpredictably.
Youve probably learned something about your subject while writing about it. Throw that in as a twist on your conclusionthen rewrite your essay as if you planned it that way all along.
Writing Part Two: The Middle & End
Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.
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