How to Set Up an Editorial Essay
Research is the most important step in setting up an editorial essay. While your end goal will be to make a specific argument, you will need to research both sides of the argument in order to present an informed opinion. Adding style to your essay will engage readers, and thorough research will validate your argument.
Research Your Topic and Take a Stance
Choose your topic and the stance you will take. Make sure you are certain you agree with the opinion you are presenting. If you are not comfortable with the argument you are making, your essay will lose its editorial value.
Without being forceful, present your essay in a persuasive way. You want to reveal your opinion and your understanding of the subject in order to increase your audience's knowledge of the issue.
Research your argument thoroughly. Find information to support your point. Without adequate research, the essay will be merely opinionated, not editorial.
Research your counterargument thoroughly. By researching the opposite stance, you will see what roadblocks your argument faces. Expect readers to hold opposite opinions. It will be the goal of your essay to show them different perspectives and possibly convince them that yours is the best.
Figure out how to weaken the opposing argument in order to strengthen your argument. You can integrate this information into the body of your essay or simply use the information to validate key points.
Outline your important points. An editorial stance must be supported by valid information, evidence and research. Figure out what points you want to discuss and which ones are most important, based on the research you found while looking at all sides of the argument.
Be specific in your points. Make sure to clarify what you are saying and how each point supports your main argument.
Writing the Essay
Write your introduction in a concise way that explains what you mean to convey in the essay. Remember to stylize your argument so that it sticks out to the reader. A dry introduction will lose the audience's attention, so make sure to grab them from the beginning and convince them throughout the essay.
Write the body of your essay. The body will contain your supporting evidence. Outline your points according to importance. Decide whether your argument works best in a pyramid format (most important to least important) or in a logical order. Sometimes it is best to present an argument in the same way your thought process works. Start with a key point of interest and divert the reader's attention to more evidence and other points in a logical manner.
Style is also of key importance. If your writing style grabbed your reader's attention in the beginning, make sure to keep it consistent throughout the entire essay.
Write your conclusion. The conclusion should reiterate your introduction as well as summarize your final points. Make sure to include your strongest argument here again, so that the reader is left with the strongest point as her last thought.
Choose an appropriate title. Some people like to write a title at the beginning, but it is usually best to rewrite it after you have finished the entire essay. It should be no longer than 10 words and should correspond to the content of your essay. Sometimes it is easiest to pick one of your favorite sentences, paragraphs or arguments to construct an effective title.
Refer to style books such as:
"A Rulebook for Arguments" by Anthony Weston
"Rules for Writers" by Diana Hacker
"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
Have someone you know read your article. See how they react, and edit accordingly.
Things You'll Need
- MLA Handbook or other style guide
- Research materials
- Refer to style books such as:
- "A Rulebook for Arguments" by Anthony Weston
- "Rules for Writers" by Diana Hacker
- "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White
- Have someone you know read your article. See how they react, and edit accordingly.
Madeline Lauria graduated from Duquesne University with a bachelor's degree in English and journalism. She was the news editor at "The Duquesne Duke," an intern at Creative Nonfiction and published in the school's literary journals, "Off the Bluff" and ":Lexicon." Lauria currently works as a freelance copywriter in Elmira, N.Y. and a crew member in The ALT Project.