1. Make a list of at least five that may include the following:
- “Truth” — statement you know to be true and can prove it with evidence from your own life
- An opinion you have that may not be popular, but you know you are right.
- Defense for an opinion you have using personal evidence. Just state the opinion, not your personal evidence.
- Something that happens and you know it cannot just be coincidence because it has happened too often.
- It is a bad idea to go to Walmart when you are hungry, when you do not have a list, or when you have no money.
- Some people create their own problems.
- We may think we are not implicitly biased, but we are.
- Some people choose to be ignorant.
- If you’re coming to college for the “Pell Grant payout,” you shouldn’t be here.
- The entitlement schema is rampant in society today, and its consequences will be felt in most unpleasant ways in the long run.
(See? Some of those statements are pretty controversial and I could use personal evidence to explain each one.)
2. Now select just one of those statements you just made and list at least three reasons it’s true. This will serve as your thesis, and it should end your first paragraph. Example:Idea from previous list: One should not go to Walmart without a list, while hungry, or when one does not have money. Evidence: you will forget probably forget the reason you went in the first place, you will pick up junk food you don’t need, and you will want to buy things you want and cannot afford.
3. What kind of hook will you use to introduce this radical idea of yours? What led you to believe this truth? Why should anyone listen to you? When did this truth first reveal itself to you?Write a few complete sentences to answer these questions. This is your introduction or hook. This paragraph starts us off; it is paragraph one and ends with the thesis.
4. Now, using that first piece of evidence you wrote down, elaborate on this with a short, illustrative anecdote that proves the point. This will serve as your second paragraph. Example: Idea from previous list: One should not go to Walmart without a list, while hungry, or when one does not have money. Evidence: you will forget probably forget the reason you went in the first place — There have been several times I have been to Walmart without a list, certain I would remember exactly what I wanted, yet on the way to my target item, something would catch my eye. For example, I may be going to get toothpaste and I came in at the food door. That means I have to walk by the clothes, the seasonal items, and the cards. As I am walking by the cards, I remember that I want to send a thank you card to my friend, so I stop and look at the thank you cards — only the July 4 firecracker display caught my eye, so I double back to that. Then I see sticks to make s’mores with, so I pick up a pack of Hershey Bars and some graham crackers. Then I head to the food section to pick up some marshmallows, and I head to the checkout. As I am cranking my car, I remember I went in there for toothpaste!
5. Repeat that process you just did. Elaborate on and explain how your second piece of evidence proves your point. This will serve as your third paragraph.
6. One last time: Elaborate on and explain your third point using a short, illustrative anecdote.
7. So, here we are, last paragraph. Remind me what you said. Why was it important to share this topic? What can the reader learn from possessing this information?