December 23, 2014 - Posted to Writing tips
Writing a persuasive essay doesn’t have to be a huge chore, so don’t make it one! If you do not have c clear understanding of how to write a persuasive essay, read on and learn, my friend.
This short little guide will take you step-by-step down the field and through the goal line!
Getting a Persuasive Writing Idea
If your instructor provides the topic, you really have no choice, but, in most instances, the topic will be general and you can pick something specific within that area. For example, your topic might be in the area of government spending, but you get to pick the spending area. So, what should the government spend less on or what should it spend more on? Come on – they’re your tax dollars – how should they be spent?
Choose the paper you need
Put as much detailed instructions as you can
The most appropriate writer is assigned
Download the completed paper
Any persuasive ideas you come up with will fall into two categories.
First, if your instructor insists upon a lengthier piece of writing, in which you back up your opinion with factual data, you are writing persuasive papers, not essays, and you will have to do some research for that data. The research does not count in my 30-minute guide – only the actual writing – just so we are clear on that! Second, you may be asked for a shorter piece – a persuasive essay – one-to-two pages in which you express your strong opinions on a particular issue. For this writing, you really may not need to do any research at all. You simply need to have an opinion and reasons for that opinion.
The Brainstorming Process
Now that you have a topic, you are ready to get your opinion and reasons clear in your head. Are you in favor of granting work visas to illegal immigrants or not? Do you think the Electoral College is antiquated or not? Is biogenetic engineering ethical? Has the war on drugs failed?
You have to have reasons for your opinion, and you should list these in your brainstorming session. It doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to happen, so that you are clear on why you hold the opinion you do! Each of your reasons will ultimately comprise a paragraph or a section, so get each reasons clarified!
The Persuasive Essay Outline
Once you have a list of the reasons for you opinion, you are ready to produce your outline. Whether it is an essay or a persuasive paper outline, the process is the same. Take your strongest reason or rationale and make it first. The other reasons should follow in descending order of importance. Why? Because you want to impress your reader with the strongest argument right off the bat.
The Persuasive Essay Format
Stop thinking that there is something unique about persuasive essays – there isn’t.
You will have an introduction, body paragraphs (or sections, if it is a paper), and a conclusion – just like every other essay you have written – nothing mystical here! Your introduction will have your thesis statement, and that will include your opinion on the issue.
Each body paragraph (or section) will develop one reason for your opinion, and you should have a minimum of three. Your conclusion will tie it all up in a neat bow, reinforcing your thesis statement. If I were writing an essay on the ethics of biogenetic engineering, for example, I might conclude with a scathing condemnation of “designer” babies that only the wealthy could afford, and the long-term impact of the inequality that such practices would foster! On the other hand, if I supported biogenetic engineering only for the purposes of preventing disease, birth defects, and other genetic disorder, then I would speak to the positive impact on society as a whole.
You’ve Got the Ideas, the Outline, and the Format – What’s Next?
Now, you’re on to the actual writing of the piece. Aye, here’s the rub! You have great ideas and rationales for the body paragraphs, but you are stumped on how to start a persuasive essay.
Here’s my one piece of best advice for your introduction – start with an anecdote! Not sure what that is? Well, here’s an example. If I were going to write a persuasive essay about the need to do something, anything, about lowering student debt amounts and/or interest, I would begin with a story about a college grad who is mired in so much debt that his/her future is in serious jeopardy. Really, there are kids graduating today with close to $100,000 in loan debt, with no job prospects that will even come close to allowing payment of that debt within several years.
Tell someone’s story! This will grab the reader’s attention immediately, if it is awful enough! And make it as awful as possible, because that will support your argument even more.
A Final Note
Persuasive essays can actually be fun, if you stop thinking about them as drudgery and start considering them as a way of pressing your point on issues about which you feel very passionate.
Think of such an assignment this way: you know you have strong opinions about certain things – politics, the environment, religion, social issues, poverty, student welfare, drugs, prisons – the list can be endless.
The key to putting together an essay in 30 minutes is this: find a topic that incites your passion, formulate your position clearly, identify the reasons for your opinion, and find a compelling anecdote for an introduction.
You will be surprised how easily the words flow!