There can be a variety of expectations from different teachers, professors, and assignments. These perameters are always going to affect how you organize your essay. However, you can follow some general guidelines when writing and build from there.
In your first paragraph or two (depending on overall length), you should set up your paper's purpose and direction. If you are presenting an argument of any type, the reader should know with absolute clarity what your topic and stance are. Begin with an interesting lead in to your topic and stance and give enough background so the reader is comfortable moving forward and learning the detail of your argument. A THESIS statement is imperative. This will go towards the end of your introduction.
If fiction or narrative, the introduction will set the scene of the story. Use careful word choice so that the tone and mood presented match with where you are taking the story. For some personal narrative assignments, a thesis is appropriate.
Again, with an arugmentative, expository, or persuasive piece, the body will now support the thesis you presented in the introduction. Each body paragraph should focus on one main idea that shows why your thesis makes sense. If you have research, specific examples, or personal anecdotes use them in the body to bolster your argument.
In a work of fiction or personal narrative, your middle paragraphs should give depth to your main characters, build towards the main conflict or issue in your story, and establish the your voice and writing style.
In an academic essay, you will remind the reader of all the most powerful points and the overall argument you have made throughout the paper. End with a clinching statement that brings your paper to a close.
In a work of fiction or narrative, typically we have seen how the characters have grown or regressed, changed or refused to change, and the conflict has been resolved or clearly left unresolved.
Please message me if you have specific questions about your particular paper.