Familiar essays are usually associated with well-known writers such as G.K. Chesterton or George Orwell and not with college academic tasks. However, it does not mean that students never get to write them. As a result, it is a type of assignment that doesn’t come very often. But when it appears on the curriculum, it becomes a source of all kinds of problems, especially if it is a part of the writing competition.
- How to structure it?
- What should you write about?
- What writing style should you settle on?
If you have to write a familiar essay, and these or other questions are whirling around in your brain, you have come to the right place. Yes, in this article, you will find all the tips to write a high-quality familiar essay on any topic.
1. Get a Familiar Essay Example to Get You Started
A familiar essay is a very peculiar genre of the creative writing with some characteristics that are not shared by any other essay type. To simplify a bit, it is a short-form nonfiction text primarily characterized by a strong personal touch, a voice of the author’s persona. Normally, no matter what you write about – be it a book you’ve read, the current state of education industry or environmental protection, you are expected to be fully objective and avoid emotionally colored words (and anything else showing your subjectivity). In an informal essay, you don’t have these limitations – if you need to be emotional to demonstrate your unique take on the problem, so be it. In fact, the more personal your style is, the better it is for you – you can be as witty, funny, and quirky as you like.
To better understand what is expected of you, it would be a good idea to read a few examples of familiar essays. This can be quite informative and will give you the better understanding of how you can go about developing your own writing style – the most important prerequisite of a quality familiar essay. Be careful about the place where you get your writing sample – you cannot just visit any online writing service and say “Write my familiar essay” – specialists in this kind of work are relatively rare and are not easy to come by.
2. Look at Familiar Essay Topics That Are Acceptable
Another feature of writing familiar essays is the kind of topics that are covered in them. They should not require any professional or specialized knowledge and have universal human appeal – in other words, they should be understandable and relatable for anybody who would read them simply because they are just as human as the essay’s author. Such topics, for example, include:
- Books Getting Replaced with Digital Sources of Information and What It Means for Every One of Us;
- Community-Conscious Business: Is It Possible in Current Economic Climate?
- Is Writing a Doctoral or MBA Dissertation to Obtain a PhD Degree Worth the Trouble One Has to Go for Its Sake?
- Does History Repeat Itself and Is It a Good Enough Reason to Study It?
- War on Drugs and Its Connection to Teenage Crime Rates;
- Security Concerns vs. the Rights of Individuals in the UK;
- The Most Important Traits Associated with True Leadership.
As you can see, familiar essays can be written about virtually anything – you simply have to avoid topics that require specialized technical knowledge. When choosing what to write about, ask yourself: can it be understood by a person who does not study this subject but has background knowledge of an intelligent, generally well-educated amateur?
3. Use a Proper Familiar Essay Structure
Structurally a familiar essay doesn’t differ from any other type of paper. Usually, an introduction comes first that consists of:
- The hook – the first sentence or two, aimed at grabbing the reader’s attention and smoothly transferring it to the rest of the paper. It plays a special role in a familiar essay because of its high degree of informality – meaning that you have much more freedom of expression than usual. Let your wit roam free and don’t worry about going out of line – it is a part of the course when it comes to informal essays;
- The thesis statement. Nothing special about this – it is no different from what it is in any other type of essay, i.e., an explanatory sentence containing the gist of your entire paper in a definite and clear form.
The introduction is followed by body paragraphs and, again, you are free to organize them in any way you like. It is, however, a good idea to follow the usual rules: don’t exceed a limit of one point per paragraph, have logical connections between paragraphs, support your words with viable evidence. However, the familiar essay is a definition of a freeform assignment, so don’t be afraid to make experiments. Introduce a list or two, use narrative elements – in other words, do everything you need to get your point across, without being restricted by any particular format.
4. Talk to Your Reader While Writing a Familiar Essay
A familiar essay, the way it evolved in English literature, is a very personal experience, not just a piece of writing but an informal chat between two people: the writer and the reader. By a reader, we mean not just the grader responsible for reading and evaluating your work, but anybody whom this text will come to hand. So, be personal, address directly to the individual reading your paper, be friendly and don’t try to show yourself as superior to your audience. Demonstrate that your essay is a labour of love, not of pride. Usually familiar essays are written in a way that presupposes the audience of a single reader, which further emphasizes the personal nature of this genre.
5. Use the Simple Language, but Don’t Oversimplify
Your writing should be closer to the everyday speech than in the formal types of essays. But don’t treat this genre’s informality as an excuse to use slang, jargon or rude language. If it is of any help, imagine yourself writing a letter to a good yet somewhat distant friend. Think of how you would report about the latest happenings in your life in such a situation. Then, start writing.
6. Try Freewriting as a Good Method of Preparation
Although familiar essay writing is personal and informal in nature, it doesn’t mean that you should approach working on it haphazardly. Just like with any other kind of writing, it is extremely important to gather your thoughts before you start typing. However, in this case, you may give yourself a certain amount of freedom and start not with a rigid academic plan that looks almost like a thesis proposal, but with freewriting on the general topic you are dealing with.
Simply sit down, take a clean sheet of paper and start writing everything that comes into your head concerning your topic. Don’t worry if it is a low quality of writing (even a terrible handwriting is excusable), silly or only barely connected to what you are supposed to be writing – if it has any connection at all, write it down. You may further improve the efficiency of this exercise by placing limitations on yourself: for example, write without stopping for half an hour or write no less than 700 words – again, without stopping.
When you have goals to work toward, you are often inspired to find new and exciting ways to do things, and some of the elements of your freewriting may eventually find their way into the essay itself.
7. Prepare an Essay Outline
It is especially important if you have to do some research being not very familiar with the essay topic. Having a clear-cut outline before you start working on an essay prevents you from rambling and omitting important points you have intended to mention. Some students resent the idea of writing an informal essay from an outline, but in fact, this stage is even more important in this type of writing than it is for other, more formal essays. The fact is that people are much more prone to steering off the course when they write about something personal in nature. Having a definite plan will help you keep your thoughts collected and cover everything you want but no more. Try it, it will save you a lot of time.
8. Try Finishing Your Work in One Session
You may have already heard this recommendation from your school teacher, but we can repeat it again and again: if you can finish an assignment in one go, try to do it. This helps you keep focused on your work and maintain a single style throughout the text. It prevents you from forgetting important facts and losing your inspiration. For that reason, you can use a timekeeper while working on every assignment.
9. Use of Some References in Your Familiar Essays
Most familiar essays do without any references at all – they are personal discussions on specific topics, not research assignments. However, you may have been given a task to introduce a certain amount of references in your assignment. Or you can make your own decision to discuss a famous author, and in this case, it will be impossible to avoid using quotations.
10. Don’t Forget to Revise and Proofread
Just like with any other type of academic writing, revising and proofreading are extremely important when it comes to familiar essays. However, in addition to the usual things – checking up on formatting, spelling, grammar, and syntax – here you should pay special attention to the tone of your writing.
- It shouldn’t be overly dry and academic. Think of the way you would talk about a good acquaintance of yours – eliminate overly complex words and structures, divide longer sentences into shorter ones and so on;
- It should be consistent. If you begin writing in a light-hearted tone, keep it this way throughout the whole essay – that is, unless you have a very good reason to change the way you speak and a way to demonstrate that you do it intentionally and not as a slip.
- Give your essay the right emotional vibe. Use informal, sometimes emotional language – the way you would discuss the topic with a living human being, not an abstract audience. At the same time, make sure you are respectful both towards your reader and viewpoints you discuss.
If possible, get an external proofreader – somebody you can trust, somebody who is interested in your success. Ask him/her to give you some feedback on the following aspects of your writing:
- Logic. Are all points connected to each other in a logical and consistent manner?
- Style. Is your style consistent throughout the essay? Are there any words or expressions that seem to be out of place?
- Grammar and syntax. Are there any glaring mistakes you’ve missed during your revision?
Familiar essays are rarely written by college students these days and are considered to be a difficult task. That’s why if you experience difficulties, there is nothing unusual about it – but we hope that these tips will get you through!