How do I improve my essay writing skills in English literature?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Without seeing a sample of your writing, I'm answering almost completely blind on this one.  I can make a few general recommendations though.  

First, proofread and check for spelling and capitalization mistakes.  I had to edit your question, which contained 3 mistakes.  When you use "i" alone, it needs to be capitalized -- "I."  Questions and sentences start with a capital letter.  The word "English" is a proper noun, so it needs to be capitalized.  

Proofread your writing out loud.  I'm not joking.  Read exactly what you wrote out loud to yourself.  If you have extra words, missing words, word flow issues, etc., reading it aloud to yourself will catch a lot of mistakes.  

My second general piece of writing advice is make sure that you have an intro paragraph. . . always. The intro paragraph's first sentence needs to grab your reader right away.  Use one of these four "tricks" for your first sentence. 

  1. Make a bold statement. 
  2. Ask your reader a question.
  3. Use a quote. 
  4. Use a definition.

That first sentence is your hook.  Hooked readers keep on reading. End your first paragraph with a statement of purpose.  Why are you writing what you are writing?  This is called your thesis statement.  

Every single paragraph after the thesis statement needs to reflect back to the thesis statement.  You should always ask yourself, "Does this apply to my thesis?"  If it doesn't, it doesn't belong in your paper.    

Another recommendation that I have is practice. You can't expect to be a great writer right away.  Writing is a skill that must be developed and honed.  That can't be done without practice.  To be a better write, you need to write a lot. 

My last recommendation is to use eNotes "Essay Lab."  An educator can claim your piece of writing and give you very specific feedback within 48 hours.  

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