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Essay Mania

October 29, 2009

In grade school, I had the opportunity to explore the world of essays. Although my experience is equivalent to dipping a toe in to the water. Ever do a web search on “types of essays”? You’d be surprised at how many there really are. I’ll divulge in to a few in existence but allow me to begin with a little history lesson.

Who invented the personal essay? Have any idea? Some scholars it was a form of writing common to the Greek philosophers but French writer Michel de Montaigne popularized, maybe even invented, the personal essay in the 16th Century. He penned the book Essais in 1580 and is believed to still be one of the most influential essays ever written. Today, this genre remains a tool of influence.

Narrative Essay relays a story with a sequence of events. You use fiction techniques like plot, setting, and characters to make a point. It’s considered the hardest to teach and rarely ever used other than high school or college.

Descriptive Essay explains the when, why and where’s of a subject. If you’re writing about dogs, you would discuss the breeds, how they can be trained, where to find them, etc.

Lyric Essay is an odd hybrid which combines poems and essays. It relies on language and images for the narrative and idea. Its paragraphs are organized like an essay’s, with topic sentences, and is organized like a piece of fiction or non-fiction. Leaping around is common if not encouraged between paragraphs and no underlying structure is necessary.

Travel Essay depends on detailed observation. You have to paint the picture of uncharted paths for your reader. Write about the little known spots that will charm anyone in to buying a ticket.

Expository Essay is simply your how-to essay. You write directions or instructions on how to complete a task or goal. Before you begin to write, compile a list of steps on your topic. Each one should be clear and concise.

Five types of essays to keep you busy but there are tons more. What do you think is the most popular personal essay? Which one is your favorite to compose?

Andrea is not exactly a fan of the essay but enjoys writing up an expository every now and then.
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