I was supposed to be visiting my grandma in Seattle. When it came time to bury Grandma, everyone had an opinion. My sister wanted to sing a song and hand out lyrics for everyone to join in. ”, “Was the Troll King involved in this in some way?
My aunts and uncles couldn’t decide where to have the reception after the burial and what kind of food to put out. ” But me, I would just laugh my loud, braying laugh. And then there’s me: the boy who always has at least a hundred penises.
Find what is specific to you about the ideas that generated those platitudes and express them more directly.
Eliminate irrelevant issues (“I was a track star in high school, so I think I’ll make a good veterinarian.”) or issues that might be controversial for your reader (“My faith is the one true faith, and only nurses with that faith are worthwhile,” or “Lawyers who only care about money are evil.”).
Fluffy ate all the food we gave him but kept hissing and no matter what we did we couldn’t wash the stripes of black dirt off of him. Folks don’t spend much time learning philosophy or reading the great novels; they’re more concerned with catching crabs, mollusks, or small fish.
When we took him to the vet for a checkup, the vet said, “That’s a raccoon! Anything your long fleshy tentacles can ensnare, really.My parents didn’t want us to take him in, saying we were not in position to take care of a cat, it’s too much work, vet bills, blah blah blah, but they finally relented (thanks, violent threats! I will be the first in my family to attend college. The kids would always make fun of me for my appearance. Now we live in a It’s rare for people from my community to attend college.) under the condition that we keep him in my sister’s room. For the most part, you’re born, you grow up, you work down at the shore, and you die.You may want to start by just getting something—anything—on paper. Think about the questions we asked above and the prompt for the essay, and then write for 15 or 30 minutes without stopping.What do you want your audience to know after reading your essay? Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, organization, or anything else. For help getting started, see our handout on brainstorming. Find the most relevant, memorable, concrete statements and focus in on them.The plane carrying all of us from the church landed in Costa Rica and we were taken aboard a rickety old bus.We traveled deep into the forest, all traces of civilization disappearing.Applications that have several short-answer essays require even more detail.Get straight to the point in every case, and address what they’ve asked you to address.If you don’t do what they ask, the reader may wonder if you will be able to follow directions in their program.Make sure you follow page and word limits exactly—err on the side of shortness, not length.