Q:

How should I write an essay on a life-changing experience?

A:

Quick Answer

Telling a story about a life-changing event in an essay format requires organization. However, standard story structure and formal essay structure generally follow similar arcs, so translating one to the other takes only a few minor changes.

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Full Answer

  1. Formulate an outline

    Outlines are the critical first step in writing, once you have decided what story you are going to tell. They shape the story and provide a structure to build upon. The standard formats for both stories and essays require an introduction, a body of events or points and a conclusion.

  2. Start from the beginning

    Whether you are still outlining or have decided to start writing, consider the starting point of your story. Because the main point of this type of essay is to tell the reader about something that changed your life, it is logical to tell about your life before the event. This provides the reader a setting to contrast against later events, which highlights the life-changing aspect. Most importantly, this is the section to present a thesis statement that briefly summarizes the main point or lesson learned from the life-changing event.

  3. Build tension

    Remember to stay organized in the body of the essay, as you do not want to confuse the reader by jumping around. Describe events that led up to the big change. Build tension; be descriptive to pull the reader into your world, and set the table for the climax.

  4. Reach the climax

    Be sure not to bury the most important part of your story. Take time to describe not only what happened but every other pertinent detail that defines it as life-changing. This is the height of the story.

  5. Bring it down

    This is the part of the story that coincides with the final point and conclusion in an academic essay. Write about how things changed after the event, and describe any lingering effects, if applicable. Move on to a conclusion, where you may want to give a brief, reworded review of the events, end with a few sentences that support your thesis and leave the reader with a poignant line to finish.

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