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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (May 7, 2007)

Preparing for an In-Class Essay

Last week, my students prepared for and wrote an in-class essay on literature. To help them prepare, I used a worksheet that encouraged them to do research in very specific ways.

For the play, The Glass Menagerie, I asked them to look at details they'd noticed in the acting and how the settings used had influenced their feelings when watching a filmed version. Their detailed research into the play helped most students to write better and more specific essays on the day of the test.

Always do research into specific and potentially useful ideas before writing any essay. One thing you should surely do is "harvest" good quotations to use and look at a work of literature according to its plot, characters, themes and the like.

By directing their preparation, I have taught my students the value of advance preparation (and two days to think something over) in the writing of any good quality essay.


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