How To Start Writing An Essay Reading

If you need help writing an essay on a book, you have come to the right place. Known also as literary essays, this type of essay can be equated more or less to a modern day book report. Once you get your thoughts organized it can be a really easy task.

Getting Started

Here are the basic steps:

1. Select a book - This may already be done for you, if you are currently enrolled in either an English or literature class.

2. Determine the goal for the length - Keep in mind that an essay on a book would already have a predisposed assigned number of words. Let’s set the word count (for the sake of illustration) at 500 words. A 500-word essay is pretty comprehensive and would allow you enough words to describe the plot of the story while having time to disseminate what themes are present and what morals are being conveyed.

3. Decide on a format and style - You will probably be told to use either MLA (Modern Language Association) or APA (Amercian Psychological Association) standard writing style.

So, if you were assigned a 500-word essay, using MLA format, then you would need to use a Times New Roman, 12-point font, with a one-inch (all around) page margin and double space throughout the essay.

4. Read the assigned book. Let’s say (once again for the sake of illustration) that you were assigned to read a book entitled "The Count of Monte Cristo." You would need to be familiar with the themes that are within the story behind "The Count of Monte Cristo."

Sample Help Writing an Essay on a Book

So you have your book, the formatting is complete and you know the word count for the essay. Half the battle is won regarding writing this essay. Basically, you would begin your essay introducing the book.

For example, you might begin your essay like so:

"The Count of Monte Cristo" is a action-adventure book written by the popular French author, Alexandre Dumas. 

So your first sentence is pretty straightforward and tells what book you read and who the author is. The second, third, and fourth sentences give a bit of background on the storyline and then the fifth sentence concludes the first paragraph yet provides a smooth transition into the second paragraph. The last sentence may go something like this, 

While the plight of revenge of Edmond Dantes was engaging, the idea of forgiveness was completely remiss throughout the text. 

You may consider opening the second paragraph with a quote from the book or something that really stood out thematically to you as a reader. Here is another example of a leading sentence that you would start out your second paragraph with. 

"Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes."

Possibly one of the most memorable quotes in the entire book, this quote gives a solid basis to move forward to the next thought. Spend the next sentences exploring the quote that set the tone for the second paragraph. Then, spend the next few paragraphs engaging your reader with your view on the book and what you have learned.

The good thing about writing an essay on the book is that you can present both sides of any argument that may pervade the storyline of the book. The sky is literally the limit on what information you can present.

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Help Writing an Essay on a Book

By YourDictionary

If you need help writing an essay on a book, you have come to the right place. Known also as literary essays, this type of essay can be equated more or less to a modern day book report. Once you get your thoughts organized it can be a really easy task.

A very common complaint from lecturers and examiners is that students write a lot of information but they just don't answer the question. Don't rush straight into researching – give yourself time to think carefully about the question and understand what it is asking.

Top tip:

Set the question in context – how does it fit with the key issues, debates and controversies in your module and your subject as a whole? An essay question often asks about a specific angle or aspect of one of these key debates. If you understand the context it makes your understanding of the question clearer.

Is the question open-ended or closed? If it is open-ended you will need to narrow it down. Explain how and why you have decided to limit it in the introduction to your essay, so the reader knows you appreciate the wider issues, but that you can also be selective. If it is a closed question, your answer must refer to and stay within the limits of the question (i.e. specific dates, texts, or countries).

Underlining key words – This is a good start point for making sure you understand all the terms (some might need defining); identifying the crucial information in the question; and clarifying what the question is asking you to do (compare & contrast, analyse, discuss). But make sure you then consider the question as a whole again, not just as a series of unconnected words.

Re-read the question – Read the question through a few times. Explain it to yourself, so you are sure you know what it is asking you to do.

Try breaking the question down into sub-questions – What is the question asking? Why is this important? How am I going to answer it? What do I need to find out first, second, third in order to answer the question? This is a good way of working out what important points or issues make up the overall question – it can help focus your reading and start giving your essay a structure. However, try not to have too many sub-questions as this can lead to following up minor issues, as opposed to the most important points.

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