By Emma Moulton-Howe, The Guardian Creative Writing: Creative writing can take a long time, but when it does, the time is worth it.
In this post, Emma outlines her 10 tips for writing a clever and original essay.
Write as much as you can.
This is probably the hardest part of writing, and it’s probably the one you don’t want to overthink.
“I always tell people that they should write their essays as if they were doing something different than what they normally do,” says Emma.
You don’t have to write the same thing twice in a row, but do try to be as original as you possibly can.
Avoid using the same word in different ways.
This might seem obvious, but it can help if you’ve written an essay that is both a summary and an introduction to the subject.
In other words, you want to write as much of a summary as you have of the subject, and then to give the subject a brief introduction.
Use short, descriptive phrases.
Emma likes to write her essays as short, clear sentences.
If you have a long sentence like “I feel this way because I am a writer,” use it as a summary of the way the subject feels.
Use the word “like.”
“I think this is a good thing because I don’t think people would think that,” she says.
“When you write, you say the same things over and over again, so if you’re going to say something, you should be able to put it into one sentence.”
Use a specific person.
“If you’re writing about a person, you’re not going to write about the same person over and the same time,” says Smith.
“So I always suggest writing about the person who you are writing about.”
“If it’s a new writer who’s writing about somebody, they’re not a person,” adds Emma.
“They’re a character.”
“You have to think of the person,” says Jacob.
“And that person’s a good one.”
Use an “I” or “me” instead of a word.
If the subject is something you want the reader to think about, write an “i” or a “me.”
“For me, writing the subject as an ‘I’ or ‘me’ would be a better way of writing the essay,” says James.
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but that’s how it works in life.”
If it’s the first sentence, avoid making a lot of grammar mistakes.
Emma says she doesn’t think most people can handle this, and that it’s not really necessary, but sometimes it helps.
“Some people just don’t know how to say things like ‘I want to buy this,’ so they don’t get that ‘I’m buying this’ part,” says Sarah.
Use different verbs.
“There’s a whole range of ways of using the word ‘want,'” says Jacob, “and you might want to avoid all of them.”
“But then you could use a more verb-centric form of the word, like ‘want to buy that’,” adds Sarah.
Write about a single person.
If there’s one person in your essay that you want your readers to think more about, it’s usually the person with whom you’re most closely related.
“This is where you have to remember that people often don’t say ‘I like that person,’ so if they say that, it doesn’t mean they’re necessarily like that,” says Adam.
“For example, if you want them to think that you like that particular book, then it’s easier to say ‘that book’ instead of ‘that person.'”
Use descriptive language.
Emma is a big fan of saying something like “This poem is beautiful.”
She prefers saying “this poem is good,” or “this book is really good.”
And Emma is not shy about using descriptive language when she wants to describe the tone of a person’s writing.
“What I like to do is describe the person I’m talking about as if it’s somebody I know, and I don.
I like using the person as a character, and writing a summary that says ‘This person writes poetry.'”
Emma’s final tip for writing an interesting essay is to write it using a “narrative,” which means that you’re really only going to do one thing: describe a single, relevant aspect of a single point of view.
“Narratives are great,” says Anna.
“You don’t need to write anything else, but they can be a really good way to do a little bit of storytelling and give the reader something to think and talk about.”
Emma is currently writing her first book, titled The Complete List of 10 Words You Need to Learn: How to Write Great Essays, and will be speaking at the TED conference in February, so stay tuned to The Guardian for the latest. If Emma