Well written paragraphs are actually key to well written essays. Though there certainly is not only one way to write a paragraph or an essay, there is a basic structure that, once mastered, can be manipulated and still be successful.
In general, a well written paragraph is made up of the following elements (in the form of sentences):
- Topic Sentence: introduces the subject of the paragraph
- Support: examples supporting the topic
- Elaboration: explanation of examples
A well written essay is similar. Generally speaking, a well written essay contains the following elements (in the form of paragraphs):
- Introduction: introduces the subject of the essay
- Body paragraphs: contain support and elaboration on subtopics
- Conclusion: sums up the piece and leaves the reader will a final thought or feeling.
Effective essays may be stylistically different from one another, but usually do all of the following in some way:
- Stay focused on one topic (thesis).
- Support and elaborate on that topic through clear examples.
- Flow from one thought to another in a logical/organized fashion.
- Exhibit a strong grasp of grammar, vocabulary and varied sentence structure.
As previously mentioned, there is no one correct way to write an essay. The best way to improve on writing, like anything else, is to practice and learn from experts. The Norton Reader is a widely accepted text for English composition because it contains several examples of effective essays (see link below). You could likely find one of several editions at your local library.
Mastering writing is very similar to mastering a sport. It takes a little bit of raw talent combined with practice and coaching from experts. Much of this you can do on your own, but at some point, you will need to find a "coach" to take you to the next level. Good luck!