I am on a mission. And as long as you continue reading this, I’m taking you with me.
I am in the process of concocting a world-class theory. Namely, I want to show how to make essays splashier, yet still astute, with story-like structures.
I trust you won’t steal my idea.
Confession time: I stole the idea?from authors who made PowerPoints splashier with story-like structures. And you and I are now going to nail it with essays.
The problem? We might fail to find a way to unlock A+ story-telling in essay-writing. And your paper might get docked because we didn’t do our job.
But I’m serious about our mission. I dipped into my wallet with its pocket threads hanging on for dear life just to buy NVivo qualitative software. With NVivo, I aim to store and code our findings from these Creative Spark! articles. Yes, our findings.
So, let’s begin with your screenplay SUCKS! Not literally. I’m referring to the title of a book by William M. Akers.
Here’s the ugly truth (with Aker’s part bolded):
Agents will look no further than your first typo. Your prof, too, might, at best, just glance at your doc if you’ve got typos staring her down. Her hand might be doodling minus signs.
Producers itch to switch to the next screenplay within the first ten minutes. Your prof too might jot a poor grade by the end of your first page.
You need a polished script. For an A+, your prof demands a well-written, near-perfect document, free of errors.
Readers love white-space and clear ideas. Without clarity or with a single paragraph consuming the entire page, your paper grade will get docked. Break it up.
Steve Spielberg said to make your story idea less than twenty-five words. Make your thesis statement just as tight.
Write for the actor. Write for your prof or, better yet, the grade. If you write for the prof, see him as a job reference or a ticket into graduate studies.
Donald Barthelme said to write what you fear. Take your innermost fear and see if you can tie it into your essay topic. If you fear dying, write a topic that ties into someone dying. After all, feeling your fear pricks a hole into your prof’s pent-up energy.
So, now we’ve found a few nifty associations between essay-writing and story-telling. But our work’s not done: Coming up with a theory takes unkempt hair, wet armpit shirt-stains, and a budding ulcer from 5 A.M. Redbull O.D.’s.
We’ve only touched on the morning eye seep.
We have no central theme. We have no agent, no book contract. No school bully patting us on the back as we slip “the essay.”
We’re merely peeking through a magnifying glass, hoping to find the next solar eclipse.
But, at least we’ve begun our mission.