Students studying at high school know little about academic writing, especially such a difficult task as familiar essay. This piece of writing is dedicated to the exploration of the topic that implies a personal understanding of the subject matter (e.g., “Being Thankful” or “Being Jealous”).
Many students tend to think that familiar essays bear a number of similar features with personal papers. However, the latter oftentimes implies conducting additional research in support of your claims. Familiar essays do not oblige students to carry out any research because one should simply introduce his/her personal attitude, generate some philosophical ideas, provide a standpoint on the discussed subject, etc.
Familiar Essay: How to Write It Well
Familiar essays are not typically associated with academic writing assignments because they are usually written by renowned penmen, such as G. Orwell or G.K. Chesterton. Nevertheless, do not be surprised when an instructor asks to submit a familiar essay because some find them entirely appropriate for college curriculum. As the result, a familiar essay might become a source of worries and anxiety for an aspiring student who is concerned about his/her academic performance but has no idea how to complete this task.
Some of the best academic writing experts have shared the following tips to help students create outstanding essay quickly and effectively. In particular, you will learn how to:
- Structure a familiar essay
- Choose a topic
- Adhere to the appropriate style
If your writing experience is not that vast, these questions must be whirling around in your mind, but do not worry because after reading this article, you will know everything about creating impressive essay on any topic.
- Get Started by Reading a Familiar Essay Example
The peculiarities of a familiar essay make it different from any other essay type. In a nutshell, it is a short nonfiction prose in which the narrator’s voice is particularly distinctive, making it intensely personal. This characteristic of familiar essay distinguishes it from other academic papers, which require writers to remain objective and impartial regardless of the topic they discuss, be it a book, current education system, or recent environmental protection acts. For the same reason, most academic papers should be devoid of emotionally colored language and should follow the style suitable for scholarly discussion. All of these rules do not pertain to informal writing, where an author’s expression is not limited by strict conventions. Quite the opposite, the funnier, wittier, and more creative a writer is the better an essay they produce.
Because familiar essay writing is not common in academic world, it is a good idea to read several successful essays before you start working on your own paper. Reading someone else’s prose can be both inspiring and informative as long as you choose the works that are well-written. Note how the writers choose words, stylistic devices, and ideas to build their own unique style. As you look for essay samples, be sure to carefully choose the website that will provide you with samples. If you want to learn from the best, you have to use essays that are written by competent professionals.
- Select Acceptable Familiar Essay Topics
Topic choice in familiar essay writing is also different from other academic paper types because familiar essays should be universal in terms of human appeal, which means that they should be easily understood even if the reader does not have any specialized knowledge in the subject. Your essay should be just as human as you are. Good topic choices include some of the following:
- Will print books be entirely replaced by digital source and how will it affect us?
- Is there a place for community-conscious business in the modern economic climate?
- Writing a dissertation to gain a PhD degree: Is it worth the trouble it causes?
- Does history really repeat itself? Is this the main reason why we should study it?
- What are the most important character traits of a true leader?
- National security vs. individual rights in the UK.
- Will war on drugs help reduce the crime rates?
Familiar essay topics are rarely assigned by a professor. Although it might seem like an assigned topic limits the freedom of choice, it is actually easier to work on a topic that has been already chosen for you. However, you can write an essay on virtually any topic as long as it does not require specialized knowledge. So there is a simple test you can use to see if the topic is successful. Just ask yourself if it can be understood by a reader who does not study the subject in depth and might only have background knowledge.
- Properly Structure Your Familiar Essay
Luckily for those who are facing this familiar essay type for the first time, its structure is not different from that of a typical essay. The first paragraph will be an introduction, which will include:
- The hook. The first sentence or two have to grab the reader’s attention. Thanks to the high degree of informality in familiar essays, you can use a variety of expressive means without being worried about going out of line.
- Thesis statement. There is nothing extraordinary about thesis in familiar essay – it is still an explanatory sentence aimed at explaining the gist of your discussion in a concise manner.
After the introduction come body paragraph and again, they can be organized the way you want. Nevertheless, experts recommend following the common rules of academic writing, such as:
- Discuss one major topic per one body paragraph
- Provide logical connections between paragraphs
- Back up your claims with strong evidence
At the same time, do not be afraid to experiment with the structure and expressive means – it is creative writing after all. As long as you manage to get your idea across and keep your writing clear and well-organized, you do not have to limit yourself.
- Talk to Your Reader
In English literature a familiar essay is not just a piece of prose but a means of communication between the author and the reader. In this case, ‘reader’ means not just an instructor who will be evaluating your essay but anyone who might come across your text. To achieve this purpose, think of your essay as of an informal chat. It has to be personal and addressed directly to the person reading your paper. Do not try to come as someone more knowledgeable than the reader because this might put them off. Instead, try to be friendly and demonstrate that your paper is a result of inspiration and respect, not of pride. To emphasize the personal mature of the essay, assume that your audience consists of a single reader and not of a group of people.
- Choose Simple Words But Avoid Oversimplification
Your language should be similar to the everyday speech, which, again, is not typical in academic writing. Nevertheless, just because you are writing in this genre does not mean that you can use slang or resort to rude language. The following trick might help: imagine that you are writing a letter to a person you know well but there is still distance between you. In which manner would you describe the events that have happened to you? If you know the answer, then you know which language is appropriate for your familiar essay.
- Use Freewriting as a Preparation Method
Despite being informal in nature, familiar essay should not be written haphazardly. Approach this task just as you would do with any other writing by carefully planning it in advance. At the same time, remember that a certain degree of freedom is still allowed here and instead of drawing up a rigid academic plan you can try more creative methods, say, freewriting.
Many people find freewriting inspiring because it helps them think out of the box. So how do you do this? Just take a piece of paper, sit down, and write all ideas about your topic that come to your mind. At this point, you should not be worried about the quality of writing and can forgive yourself poorly formulated phrases, terrible handwriting, and silly ideas. Simply write down everything that has even a remote connection to your topic. It is very important to keep on writing for around half an hour. You should have no less than 700 words. Eventually, when you re-read what you have written, you will find a couple of very good ideas which, most probably, you would not have were it not for this exercise.
- Try to Finish Your Essay in One Sitting
This way you will remain focused and follow a single style throughout the whole essay. Finishing a paper in one session also keeps you inspired and helps you include all important ideas. If you are not good at concentrating on something for a long time, try online timekeepers.
- Include Some References
Although references are not required in familiar essays, including some helps you establish credibility when you describe something. You will also need to add references if you decide to cite some prominent person whose ideas you like.
- Revise and Proofread
Apart from verifying the basic things, such as grammar, formatting, and spelling, note whether you have managed to maintain the appropriate tone.
- Avoid overly complicated structures and fancy words – the tone should not be too academic.
- The tone should be consistent. If you start your essay with a friendly and light-hearted remark, do not change the way you speak for no good reason.
- Let your positive emotional vibes shine through. Remember that you are telling your story to a human being, not some imaginary audience.
Familiar essays are not an easy task, probably because they are written so rarely. We hope that these tips will help you understand the basics of familiar essay writing and achieve good results.
Tone and Audience
If you write a familiar essay for the first time, you should remember that your audience will consist of one person only. Remember that your reader also knows the basics of the topic and there is no need to provide additional definitions along with unnecessary clarifications. You are welcome to communicate and interact with your reader with the help of personal pronouns.
Create an Outline
Do not think that familiar papers do not oblige the writer to work on prewriting stages. You will still have to arrange your ideas and create a logical arrangement in the form of an outline. You should not worry about the content and quality of ideas in your outline. You simply write down all ideas that appear in your head. Afterwards, revise your plan and leave the most significant and valuable ideas in it, which will be extended into full sentences.
Time to Write
Now you should rely on the outline to write the essay. Do not think that it is a good idea to skip the stage of creating and outline. Even if you are an experienced writer, there are high chances that you will go of the track by presenting irrelevant ideas. For this reason, it is highly recommendable to use your plan not to lose the focus of writing and address the primary topic only.
Writing a familiar essay usually does not oblige students to carry out research on the topic. Still, you have to follow writing guidelines assigned by the teacher. Sometimes students should use several quotes of famous researchers or philosophers. Moreover, some teachers still ask students to back up their ideas. Even if you are allowed to present some outside ideas, remember that your focus should still remain a personal reflection.
Revision and Editing
Before handing in your paper, spend some time on the content check and editing. You should forget that you are a writer; take a reader’s position to see if your paper presumes a clear focus. Check if there are no logical and stylistic inconsistencies. The tone of writing should remain the same in every single paragraph. Do not forget to check coherence and unity of your familiar essay.