Essays and Creativity

Shew 12-05-2006 12:36 AM
Okay I have a question out to anyone who writes or pretty much just has an opinion with some justification.

Do you think that essays should be limited to a specific format when it comes to their style, or should it be free-form?
Asirt 12-05-2006 12:50 AM
When writing a essay, there is usually a "default" guideline to writing one. You don't really have to follow the format, but it's a good starting point to getting your point across. It can be a serious essay, or a funny one. It doesn't really matter what type is used, but there is a normal guideline for what a good essay should have.

A normal essay usually have about 5 paragraphs. There can be more depending on the amount of content on the paper. The first is an introduction, the next three are content (body) paragraphs, and the last one a conclusion. I assume you know that already.

I always use this guideline when writing a essay. I don't think that essays should be in a strict format, but either way you write, it always seems to fall to the default setting. Your body is the "core" of the essay, which includes your reasoning for your opinion. Without hard based facts or research in the body, the essay will be weak, and won't get your point across.

However, not everyone will follow this guideline. I just think it's a good starting point, especially for those who have trouble writing good essays. I don't always write the best essay, but I try to follow the general guideline, which is what I mentioned eariler. The seriousness of the essay depends highly on the topic at hand.

Overall, I just wrote this post by using the guideline. This is the conclusion, in case you're wondering. Tongue But you get the general idea, right? As long as you have a strong opinion with good reasons to support it, it doesn't really matter what "format" is used (descriptive, cause / effect, narrative, etc.), or what your style is (sad, funny, serious) as all types of essays will follow the simple guideline. I hope that answers your question.


By the way, I mention the guideline because it's good for people to know how to have good essays. To answer your question in a nutshell, though, an essay can have any style you want, as long as it's appropriate to have that style.


In your 'essay', I just needed to read the conclusion.

Cheater! Tongue That's like reading the last chapter of a book before reading the rest. You've spoiled the surprise. Wink
Shew 12-05-2006 12:56 AM
Thanks for an insight into what another person views as a general guideline for an essay. In your 'essay', I just needed to read the conclusion.

I'd have to agree with you that as long as it meets the basic guidelines of a thesis in the intro, body, and a conclusion that it counts as an essay in some way. It has to answer the prompt as well, assuming there is one of course.

I've been wondering because I've been experimenting with writing styles on essays and wondered what others thought about such things.

I think an essay really could have any style if the author can somehow match the style with the point or idea they are trying to get across.
RoseRose 12-05-2006 01:22 AM
I hate the 5 paragraph essay. It's too limiting, as a form, although it's basic IDEA is good. You need the parts present in the 5 paragraph essay, in that order, but the body part of the 5 paragraph essay is far too limited. Each paragraph should be an argument (or refuting a counterargument) but 5 paragraphs is too short for anything longer than a 2-3 page essay, at most. As you progress in your schooling, the essay length increases, and by necessity, the format gets more complex. You need to figure out if a subpoint is worthy of it's own paragraph or not, and if the counterargument discussion (necessary for an ethical argument in a persuasive essay) belongs in its own paragraph, or threaded throughout the arguments.

Basically, the 5 paragraph essay is a good place to start for a novice writer, but as you gain more experience and move through your schooling, you can no longer stick strictly to the form.
The Baker St. Irregular 12-05-2006 06:41 PM
I'm in college, and I've been able to go hog-wild with my essays! Anime Smile I get to write about what I want and in any manner I like, as long as it's well-written and within the suggested page limit.

Emphasis on "well-written", though.

My professors have given me a lot of room to be creative and expressive, but it is as important as ever that I try hard to be a good writer. My recommendation to you, comrade Shew, is that you don't worry so much about actual structure as on getting your message across in a strong and coherent way. Think of structure as a way of physically organizing your essay's ideas and claims so they aren't in one huge lump. Wink

All this talk of essay-writing reminds me of this conversation I had with my sister yesterday. I was writing my English Comp. final, and I typed,

"Cartooning is an art very much based in reality, and knowing how to interpret what you see onto the paper or canvas is extremely valuableGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
. A very superb book called Understanding Comics does a fantastic job of defining exactly what cartoon’s power is: 'amplification through simplification.' (McCloud 30) "

I remarked to my sister that I wish I could leave that random outburst in my essay. If it weren't my final draft, I would keep it there. My professor would be too bewildered to mark me down for it!
Shew 12-05-2006 11:45 PM
Thanks for everyone's input. I wanted to know how much creativity was really accepted when it came to writing essays as far as the people on here know.

I'm going to stick writing them however I can get my point across. Once again, thanks for everyone's input.
Nine Kuze 12-07-2006 04:42 AM
I'm more of a free-writing, creative writer myself, so I tend to use that approach to writing. I have always written formally but I try to write with the guidelines of what the teacher wants but also at the same time, infuses what my strengths are in writing for a good paper.

That said, I hate writing in MLA format and even more so when the teachers are so damn touchy with all the small and formal details of using MLA. I usually worry too much about the damn references to the paper then I am about writing the thing myself.

When I write and there's a limit of how many pages you are supposed to have, I usually go over that limit. When you say 10, I gonna give you 13. When you say 15, I'm probably going to give you 21. I don't do it on purpose but I usually write a lot when it comes to papers.