Last week, I posted part one of “Essay Points” in my “I Hate Writing Essays” series. Also last week, I wrote my very first essay of this school year! While arranging my points in the GTS (general-to-specific) order turned out fine, the actual essay, not so much. 😦 I’m still working on it. Anyway, today I’m finishing up the list with three more ways to organize an essay. Starting with…
1. Chronological Order
Chronological order is like a time line. It can be used to describe events in the order in which they occur, kind of like writing a story. It’s also useful for explaining processes like a recipe or a “how-to.” For instance, if I were writing about how to make pizza dough, I’d start with the first step and continue explaining each additional step until complete. The following page gives many examples of chronological writing:
2. Spatial Order
In spatial order, you move through space. I was pretty confused when I first read that. It’s actually an order that most fiction writers can understand. It’s like describing a room. When I describe a room, I pick a side and start my description from there (“She glanced over at the window on the left, which was dressed with outdated curtains. The only other thing in the room was an ancient chest of drawers, set off to the right.”) or start at the bottom and work my way up. (The floor was tiled with a design that had long been out of style, and the ceilings were what everyone described as “popcorn.”) When I do that, I’m actually using spatial order. As the writer, you can move the reader left-to-right, right-to-left, top-to-bottom, etc. Here are another couple examples of spatial writing.
3. Effect-size order
Imagine a ring (or the One Ring, if you’d like). Now draw a ring around that ring. And then another ring. Each ring would be just a little bigger than the last one. That’s kind of what effect-size order is. It orders the points in the order of the rings. The smallest ring would have the smallest effect and would be placed first. Slightly larger effect, slightly larger ring, placed next. Largest effect, largest ring, last point. So, if you were writing a paper about the effect of the increase of mosquitoes on the human population, you would start by explaining the point on how it affects you personally. Then you would explain how it affects your neighborhood. Then how it affects your county. You start small and local and work your way up.
Hope these posts have been useful to you! Now you can say good-bye to boring essay organization, and use some of these more exciting ones. Thrilling, I know. 😉 I’ll be back with another “I Hate Writing Essays” at some point to check in and let you know what progress I’ve made.