As a fairly new member of the group 20SomethingBloggers when I heard about their blogswap I figured it would be an interesting thing to participate in. The theme was “summer” and I was paired with Siddharth who writes a really cool blog called Wisps of Imagination. Today he shares with us some insight on writing, something I found extremely fun and useful. You can also check out my post about yummy summer snacks on his blog. Enjoy!
How To Write An Essay
Sometimes, when you try to write something, it gets really difficult to get your thoughts flowing. You have these amazing ideas floating about in your head, but the moment you try to put words to paper — you draw a blank. If this happens to you once in a while, you’ll immediately recognize this as writer’s block. But if this happens to you all the time, you need to get yourself checked get down to basics.
Since I was in the same spot when I began writing this, I thought, “Let’s kill two bushes with one bird two birds with one stone,” and decided to write about how to write. You will notice that things are easier to absorb if they’re broken down, so I’ll take the major sections of an article, and elaborate on each one of them.
Since I was supposed to write something on summer, I thought I’ll use that as a case study for the purpose of this discussion. Let us begin.
Although I’d finished writing nearly half my essay on Summer, she suddenly had to go to her mom’s. So now I’m on the chair instead.
Anyway, ever notice that every writer has a signature style deeply rooted in every aspect of the essay? The best part about being prompted a topic to write on is that this feature truly shines. If the prompt is vague, it is open to hundreds of interpretations. Here’s a list of possibilities:
- Write a short story about something you did in the summer.
- Write a short story about Summer, the girl next door.
- Write a detailed paper on how to sum up various numbers using a summer.
- Talk about the 3 degrees of comparison — sum, summer, summest.
The opening paragraph is what makes or breaks your entire essay. If you manage to set the tone right, and incite enough curiosity, the reader will want to continue reading. If not, well then that’s the end of that. Spend a lot of time and multiple rewrites on getting the best start you can. Eventually, a mixture of all ideas will prove to be your best bet. Here’s an actual start line with edit from previous iterations left intact –
Summer, although not the best of seasons, is still very important.
It’s really hot in summer, but it’s really relaxing if you’re on the beach.
And then our eyes met. “Hi, I’m Summer,” she said.
I met Summer on the beach. She’s hot.
See? Much better.
Bonus tip – You might have seen some authors like to start with a snippet of poetry. It’s fairly simple to do — list stuff that rhyme with your topic (summer) and make sentences around them. Don’t forget to append the poet’s name for authenticity —
‘Twas a bright morn’, in the middle of summer,
That’s when I realized I forgot the keys to my Hummer.
Boy, what a bummer.
Setting / Locale
Depending upon your personal preference, you could play around with ideas in your head in various ways. One of the best methods is to put yourself in the story and try to gather as many details as you can visualize. You could start by mixing various combinations of location, characters, event, weather, etc. Try to fix a few and experiment with the rest.
Let’s say you want to write about something that happened on the beach. Listen to the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore. See everything/everyone around you. Take in the aroma of the various smells wafting about in the air — the food, the sand, the poop — you get the idea. Write about each of these as vividly as you can. If you’re not satisfied, take a step back, and see the bigger picture. Once you’re okay with it, move on to refining it.
Since it’s summer we’re talking about, let’s take a look at what people do specifically around summer time. I’m not sure what the list would comprise, but off the top of my head, I guess people like to get a tan, go get a haircut, or drink something refreshing. Let’s pick up a couple of these and add that special touch — personalization.
Suppose some guy had a haircut. Now the deal with a haircut is that no matter what you tell the barber, he’ll inevitably leave you looking like a moron. (Unless it’s an expensive salon. In which case, he’ll leave you penniless as well) Now ask yourself — what would he do in such a situation? That’s right, try to make it sound cooler/ more sophisticated than it really is. Depending on your character, you could try different variations, like so –
[Wall Street dude] – “I lost all my hair in the stock market.”
[Surfer dude] – “Hairstyle minus hair = style, right?? Like, totally rad, dude. It’s new-wave.”
Or, suppose somebody wants to get a tan. I personally know 2 popular methods –
[Outdoors-y person] – Lie down in the sun.
[Indoors-y person] – Apply sun-tan lotion and wait.
The second one seems much simpler but I don’t really see too many people using that method. Weird. Anyways, the point here is to personalize each action, and see where it leads you
Adding The ‘Twist’
Something that nearly nobody will tell you is that you must strive for balance in as many aspects as you can. If there’s tension for a brief moment, create calm in the next. If there’s love, cause a break-up. Play with emotions and send the reader on a roller coaster ride. This will create the maximum impact. For example, consider —
The thing about summer is that it’s really hot. Especially in the summer time. But sometimes it is cold also. Like when you put your hand in the freezer. So that kinda evens it out, I guess.
The twist must also be unexpected. If the reader is expecting a twist, don’t put it. If you must, then put a twist at the beginning of the story, and then add another twist towards the end. This gives the reader the impact of two twists, whereas, in effect, you have actually un-twisted the story! Thus, you can continue along the standard storyline from there. Brilliant, isn’t it?
The last few words which you write are even more important than the first. This is because after the reader is done with it, the impact of that last sentence will linger on for a long time. So you can add whatever fluff in the middle that you want, as long as the ending leaves the reader thinking, “Wow.” Here’s a head-to-head —
Ending A –
She said that she loved him, but none of the doctors were competent enough to cure her. So she died. Her lover somehow managed to get over her loss, and eventually things got back to normal.
Ending B –
She drew him closer to her. “Remember what you asked me in the rain that night?” she said, “The answer is yes.”
And with those words, she breathed her last.
And they lived happily ever after.
Siddharth is a blogger from India, who spends most of his time making stuff up. When he’s not plotting world domination, he blogs on a variety of things, ranging from how-to’s and success tips, to how a haircut can save your life, and why we need giant super powered ray guns.