My Expository Essay

  • Commit to writing an essay

    • In the timeline, add writing milestones you want to achieve on your way to finishing your project.

    • Pro tip: Think about when you want to finish this writing project and the 3-4 big things you want to accomplish between now and then.
    • Break down your first milestone into smaller, more actionable tasks.

    • Pro tip: You're more likely to make progress if your tasks take an hour or less to finish.
  • Add Assignment Details

    • Review my timeline by clicking on 'My Timeline' above the title of this milestone

    • You can explore your timeline by toggling back and forth between your timeline view of milestones to the milestone view which contain tasks for each milestone.
    • Click on the expansion arrow below this task to see a writing space under this task

    • Each task has its own writing area which will contain guidance (which you can delete) and a space to write notes, outlines or thoughts. Write here...
    • Review your assignment and add new tasks and milestones where necessary

    • This is a writing area for notes, research and outlines. We've done our best to give you a comprehensive plan for completing your essay. But's it's likely your assignment will include specifics we haven't included. So, be sure to add new milestones and tasks to help you plan, write and finish. Trust us, it will help!
    • Add details received from teacher/professor

    • Be sure to include items such as: Assignment name: Personal information (name, email, course number, date): Deadline: (be sure to set this as your final Milestone date, too!) Word count/limit: Page minimum/limit: Formatting (margins, font, spacing): Anything else?
    • Double check citation guidelines

    • Citation guidelines can be a challenge if you don't read them until you've finished researching and writing. Read the assignment requirements carefully, and if citation guidelines are not clear, but sure to ask your teacher for specifics. Feel free to copy paste them in here for reference while you work.
    • Add dates to your milestones and deadlines on your calendar

    • If you're already set your deadline as your final milestone date, great! But don't forget to also add it to your personal calendar (and maybe add a reminder 2-3 days prior, just to be on the safe side). Tip: Work backwards from your submission deadline when adding dates to your milestones for your essay. Make sure to keep them realistic.
  • Decide on essay topic and conclusion

    • Brainstorm, Freewrite, Journal or Q&A

    • This is likely going to come from your class, your class lectures and your own notes. However, it never hurts to set a timer (in your nav above) for a few minutes and free-write your thoughts. Brainstorming tip: Set a timer for 5 minutes and list out possibilities. No judgement here. Here, we'll throw in one to start: "The impact of fiery purple dragon sailors on agriculture in the 25th century." Your turn...
    • Think about what or who this is for

    • Who is likely to be reading this and what questions are they asking that your essay should answer? Feel free to copy paste in any grading criteria here if appropriate. Write here...
  • Research topic

    • Find sources

    • Re-read your assignment details to ensure you are sourcing appropriate material for your essay. Common sources include books, magazines, research or scholarly journals, newspapers, and credible websites.
    • Evaluate credibility of sources

    • Consider the following: The author and his or her own credibility in the field. The credibility of the publication. Is it well respected in the field of study or is it niche and unknown? Is the author or publication know for carrying an inherent bias with regards to the subject matter? What is the date of the publication. Is it considered too old, and therefore contains now out of date information?
    • Take notes while reading through source material

    • Be sure to note key passages, quotes, or elements that support or refute your argument. Write here...
    • Be sure to cite your resources as you research

    • Citing your sources per the required citation guidelines is simpler if you do so while you are researching. If you'd like, copy paste citations in here for reference later.
  • Create my outline

    • Write up a rough outline of my essay

    • Use this template if it's useful: Introduction Summary of point of essay: Any relevant background/context: Thesis Statement: Body Paragraph #1 1st Point/Evidence: Evidence: Analysis of Evidence: Transition Sentence: Body Paragraph #2 2nd Point/Evidence: Evidence: Analysis of Evidence: Transition Sentence: Body Paragraph #3 3rd Point/Evidence: Evidence: Analysis of Evidence: Transition Sentence: Conclusion
  • Write my essay introduction

    • Complete opening sentence

    • Start your paper with a general statement or "hook" about your topic that catches the reader’s attention: a relevant quotation, question, anecdote, fascinating fact, definition, analogy, the position opposing one you will take, or a dilemma that needs a solution. This should be a succinct preview of your essay topic. Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
    • Add context for the reader

    • What information does the reader need to understand the topic? This could be information about a scholarly work, a day in history, or an important person or event. Your context should help support the reader in understanding your thesis. Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
    • Build a thesis statement

    • State your position on the topic that you will support. Your evidence for this support will come in your body paragraphs. For now, consider asking: What side will you take? What will you prove in your paper? What are you going to explore? Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
  • Write my first body paragraph

    • Write topic sentence

    • Write a general topic sentence that states the main idea of the paragraph for your first body paragraph, or for one you are having difficulty organizing. Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
    • Add evidence to my body paragraph

    • Write down the specific textual evidence or evidence from other sources that you are using to support your thesis. Analyze your evidence: tell the reader what is significant or important about this evidence. How does the piece of evidence support your thesis? Why did you choose to include it? Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
    • Add a transition sentence

    • Connect each paragraph with a sentence or two that demonstrates how each idea leads into the next. Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
  • Write my second body paragraph

    • Write my topic sentence

    • Write a general topic sentence that states the main idea of the paragraph for your first body paragraph, or for one you are having difficulty organizing. Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left
    • Add evidence to my body paragraph

    • Write down the specific textual evidence or evidence from other sources that you are using to support your thesis. Analyze your evidence: tell the reader what is significant or important about this evidence. How does the piece of evidence support your thesis? Why did you choose to include it?
    • Add a transition sentence

    • Connect each paragraph with a sentence or two that demonstrates how each idea leads into the next.
  • Write my third body paragraph

    • Add a topic sentence

    • Write a general topic sentence that states the main idea of the paragraph for your first body paragraph, or for one you are having difficulty organizing. Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
    • Add evidence to my body paragraph

    • Write down the specific textual evidence or evidence from other sources that you are using to support your thesis. Analyze your evidence: tell the reader what is significant or important about this evidence. How does the piece of evidence support your thesis? Why did you choose to include it?
    • Consider adding in counterpoints or caveats in this or other paragraphs

    • Depending on your essay topic, occasionally it's appropriate to consider for evidence that doesn't move your thesis or conclusion forward and mention it in your essay to show depth of thought and perspective.
  • Write my conclusion

    • Write my conclusion paragraph

    • In your conclusion, provide the reader an overview of the main ideas you discussed, but also be sure to highlight the progression of your thought process, offer solutions, next steps or present new questions that your paper generated. Don’t only restate your thesis but show the significance of your synthesis of the information. Make connections for the reader. You should refer back to your thesis, but don’t simply restate it. Use some of the following questions to guide you: Did you propose any solutions? Are there solutions yet to be discovered? What questions still need to be answered? What is the larger significance of the topic you chose to write about? What should the reader do or think after reading your paper? Feel free to write your answer here, or in the editor to the left.
  • Finish adding references and citations

    • Double check required citations and format

    • Check with your teacher about what citation formats are needed. You can copy paste the guidelines here.
    • Include appropriate references and citations at the end

    • It can be tedious, but once you're done, you can feel good about checking off this task! If there's any remaining work, be sure to add them as separate tasks.
  • Prepare to Submit my essay

    • Ready my essay out loud

    • Reading your work out loud can help you catch sticky spots you may want to fix with your tone, voice, word choice, sentence length, and syntax. Find a comfortable, quiet spot and read your essay, making notes as you go. Recording yourself, and making notes while listening to your reading, is also a useful tactic.
    • Share a draft with a peer or a trusted reader

    • If you have a classmate, peer, parent or other trusted editor, ask them to help you review your work. Tip: Be clear with your helpful editor about what you want them to look for while reading. Is it the overall essay, the voice and tone, the argument, the support of your thesis? Whatever you're feeling may need work, be sure to point it out so that your editor can help narrow in on what helps you most.
    • Copy edit or "proof" your essay

    • Make sure you do a thorough pass at proofreading and editing your essay draft. Again, sharing your work with people or leaving it for a time and coming back to it are good tactics to catch errors.
    • Re-read submission guidelines

    • This is a good time to read the assignment details again to ensure you've written and built your essay to make sure you haven't missed anything that may derail all your hard work.
  • Submit my essay before deadline

    • Check submission deadlines

    • Will your teacher accept emailed assignments, or is a printed copy of the essay required?
    • Submit before deadline per the final submission guidelines

    • Hit send, submit the paper in person, and celebrate! You've worked hard to get to this point, so remember to remind yourself to reflect on your hard work, and give yourself a pat on the back. Well done, fearless wordsmith!