I am doing an AP Paragraph format essay, and I need some ideas of how I would begin and/or end it.
What does the author's interpretation of the Brooklyn Crucifixion in "My Name is Asher Lev" tell us about human nature?
AP style is a common standard for news and bulletins, used to ensure that a given news piece will be short while retaining the maximum amount of information. For an essay-style question like this, I assume you mean that you only have to write one paragraph.
For a single-paragraph essay, brevity is key. You must impart a full understanding of the work and its meaning while keeping to a reasonably short length. The difficulty comes when trying to explain a larger concept in a small space.
First, figure out exactly what the answer to your question is. There are numerous interpretations to the ending of the book, and your best bet is to read the book through, then find the interpretations online, then, from your own analysis, decide which one you feel is best.
Second, take some time to write a longer piece about the answer. It doesn't have to be pages and pages; one page maximum should be enough to get down the basic essay structure: Introduction, Thesis, Body, Conclusion. For a single-paragraph piece, the Outline and Bibliography are not necessary, although you should at least cite the book underneath.
Now start to whittle the page down. Eliminate unnecessary words. Slice repetition, move sentences around. Delete any purple prose and metaphor; AP style is all about simple, unadorned fact.
Once you have it down to a smaller piece, try to combine and connect sentences. This will help you eliminate the small, excess filler words that you don't need. You should aim for five-to-nine sentences maximum, so as to retain the essay structure.
Finally, once you have a reasonable paragraph, read it over several times to make sure it makes sense. Read it to a family member or your dog. Record it and play it back. Read it again the next day and see how it sounds. Read it backwards to catch grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
The references have more information about the exact style, but you should be able to use this answer for any paragraph-style essay in the future. Remember, the key to success is fitting the most information in the smallest space.