Middle school is the point in your academic career where your writing assignments will become more complex. As you inch closer to high school, your teachers may require you to write longer pieces in a variety of different styles. Whether you’re working on a narrative, a research paper or a persuasive essay, you’ll want to incorporate different techniques to make your writing as interesting as possible.
A strong piece of writing starts with an attention-grabbing introduction. Known in writing as a “hook,” this statement will be the very first line in your introduction, and can include a challenging question, a quotation, a “startling statement,” such as a statistic or fact that speaks directly to your topic, or even a brief humorous or dramatic anecdote that relates to your subject. Starting your paper with a solid hook will inspire your readers to learn more about your subject, and hopefully keep them reading.
Nonfiction writing assignments, such as a persuasive essay or research paper, typically require you to develop a thesis statement. Thesis statements are essential to a nonfiction piece of writing because they provide direction and inform the reader exactly what your paper is planning to address or argue. Without a strong thesis statement, your reader may wonder exactly what you’re planning to prove or argue, and your paper can lose impact.
Word choice, or diction, falls under the “style” category in writing. Style can vastly improve your writing because it encompasses the way you express yourself in your writing. As you practice your writing techniques, work on incorporating more sophisticated vocabulary. For instance, instead of writing that something is “very big,” use “enormous.” Avoid using vague words such as “good,” “bad” and “thing” that fail to add much context.
Another component of style in writing relates to the way you form your sentences. Using all simple sentences can cause your writing to appear “clipped” or monotone. Try to mix up your sentence structures with a combination of complex and simple sentences, and also vary your sentence openings. These techniques will help the pacing of your writing and also improve its flow.
You began your essay with an attention-grabber; now, you also want to end your essay with a bang, not a whimper. In your conclusion, you want to briefly restate your thesis and summarize your main points. They key is to restate, not repeat; use different wording and sentence structure or the conclusion will seem redundant. End with a quotation, a powerful statement or a question that challenges your reader to think more about the topic or presents a “call to action,” such as a petition to sign, a website to visit, or a person to contact for more information.
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