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13 Surprising Sources of Inspiration for Writing
J.R.R. Tolkien was grading a stack of college exam papers one summer day when he came upon a blank piece of paper tucked among them. He wrote on it the first thing to pop into his head: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Over the next 20 or so years of …
What Is a Rebuttal, and How Do You Write an Effective One?
You’ve written at least a gazillion argumentative essays in your academic career, right? And I’m sure that in just about all of them you’ve had to include the counterargument. But have you also included a rebuttal? Right now, some of you might be thinking, “Wait….What? You mean I have to include even more stuff in …
Writing in College: What You Need to Know to Kick Off a New School Year
Are you starting college soon? How about your first college-level writing class? Before you trek into this uncharted territory, you’ll want to sharpen your skills and steel yourself for the big day when you’re writing your first major college essay. But you’ll need something more effective than that double-shot of espresso to get you through those …
How to Quote a Poem (The Right Way)
Poetry is often one of the more difficult forms of literature that students are asked to write about. It doesn’t have a consistent structure, sometimes doesn’t have a plot or characters, and is rife with symbolism. But one of the most frequently asked questions on writing about poetry is how to quote a poem in an …
The Crucible Characters: What You Need to Know for Your Literary Analysis
CLSC LIT TV (8:00 – 10:00 p.m.) – Survivor: Salem Edition (Reality. First aired 1953) Abigail and friends are found dancing naked in the forest and are accused of witchcraft. They claim to be bewitched in an attempt to avoid a possible death sentence if convicted. In a vengeful move, Abigail accuses Elizabeth of practicing …
How to Compare and Contrast 4 Popular Dystopian Short Stories
If you’ve watched the movies Divergent, The Hunger Games, or Maze Runner and thought, “Whoa, these are amazingly original stories! Why hasn’t someone thought of this before?” you might be surprised to learn that this type of story is nothing new. Stories with dystopian themes have been around for a long time. What you probably …
5 Hacks to Make Writing an Essay Way More Fun
When you hear the word “ESSAY,” what comes to mind? If you’re like a lot of students, you might think pain. Boredom. Tedium. Sheer misery. Rarely does the word “fun” come to mind. I get it. There are all sorts of reasons that you might hate writing an essay. Perhaps you struggle to start your …
Concise Writing: How to Write a Strong Essay With Fewer Words
Less is more, they say. Which, to be honest, kind of bothers me because it’s inherently incorrect. Less most certainly is not more—it is less. However, there are times when having less is better. So for the sake of accuracy, let’s say this—less is better…sometimes. So far I’ve said practically nothing, and I feel better …
15 Thesis Statement Examples to Inspire Your Next Argumentative Essay
Have you ever watched a great film trailer and thought, “I have to see that movie!”? A good trailer gives you the basic premise of the movie, shows you the highlights, and encourages you to want to see more. A good thesis statement will accomplish the same thing. It gives readers an idea of the …
12 Helpful Sources to Support Your Immigration Essay
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” You might recognize this quote as part of the poem on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. It has almost become synonymous with immigrants coming to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream. But if this quote and the …
Rough Draft Mishaps: 5 Painful Mistakes to Avoid
I don’t know about you, but I feel like the hardest part of any writing assignment is composing a rough draft. It has to have much more detail than an outline, but you don’t want to perfect it too much because it is, after all, just a draft. It’s all about striking the perfect balance. …
Loose Ends: How to End an Essay With Authority
You’ve powered through your essay and have a pretty good draft in front of you. But now you’re coming up to the conclusion, and all the usual questions start rattling around in your head. Did you include enough evidence to support your arguments? Should you write more, or would that just make your essay sound more …
15 Types of Essay Feedback and How to Address It
The end is the beginning is the end. Or so it constantly seems when writing an essay. As soon as you think you’re finished, it’s time to examine, revise, and rewrite. The end of your first draft marks the beginning of your second. The beginning of your third draft marks the end of your second. …
How to Spot a Motif in Literature
When you’re studying literature, just understanding the main point of certain books is difficult. But when you have to look for certain literary devices in the text, it can feel like a nearly impossible task—or at least not a very fun one. You’ve gotten the basics of theme, setting, and symbolism down, so now it’s …
4 Ways to Mine Social Media for Better Topics to Write About
Here’s an all-too-common scenario faced by students everywhere: you’re assigned to write a paper, but you don’t know what to write about. Your prof tells you to write about something unique, something original, something that interests you. The problem is, right now, the only thing that interests you is finding a topic for your paper. …
30 Persuasive Thesis Statement Examples That Are…Persuasive
Let’s pretend you wrote the following as a working thesis statement for your persuasive essay: Global climate change has been debated for many years. Do you think this is a persuasive thesis statement? (HINT: Say “no”!)     NO: The thesis statement is a fact. It is not persuasive and not debatable. If you answered “yes” …
Contemporary and Controversial: How to Write a Powerful Social Issues Essay
More often than not, when you’re assigned an essay, you think, “Great. I have zero interest in this topic. How am I supposed to write five pages about it?” But every once in a while, you get that essay assignment that encourages you to write about something you feel passionate about. Something you can sink …
10 Smart Topics for Your Things Fall Apart Analysis
Sometimes you read a book that—whether you love it or hate it—is unlike any other you’ve read before. Things Fall Apart is one of those types of books. Written by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart shows readers a view of Africa that’s different from the white-authored colonial-type stories like Heart of Darkness. Instead …
2 Personal Statement Examples That Make a Strong Statement
Those of you who consider yourselves fashion mavens might hear the phrase “personal statement” and think about how you might make a statement with your outfit at your grand entrance at next weekend’s party. Though writing a personal statement generally has nothing to do with how you dress (unless, perhaps, you work in the fashion …
Authoritative Voice: How to Write Like You Mean It
If you’re a rooster and you consider yourself king of the hen house, you can’t just casually wander around with the rest of the chickens. You need to strut your stuff. You need to walk with authority and crow like you mean it! Likewise, if you’re writing a paper, you might consider yourself king (or …
How to Write a Discussion Post That Makes the Grade
We’ve all been there. Your professor asks a question to the class about last week’s required reading. You look down at your book, out the window, and at your shoes. You pretend to contemplate the answer. The reality: you only “skimmed” the reading, and you don’t have a clue how to answer the question. You …