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    Writing Term Papers About Literature: 10 Golden Rules


    We’ve spent a lot of time asking academic writers from the most prestigious schools to provide us with their best advice on how to write great paper on literature. A lot of them had very similar advice to give us, so we’ve collected the best pieces and have created this list of 10 golden rules you need to know about writing great papers about literature:

    • Rule #1) Answer the Prompt
    • To start, simply look at the prompt and be sure you understand what is being asked of you. If a prompt says write no more than 500 words, don’t go over this amount. Too many students veer away from the assignment and in so doing lose out on some important points.

    • Rule #2) Underline Keywords
    • Your question prompt will likely have a number of keywords you absolutely should address in your literature assignment. Look for terms like “compare and contrast” “evaluate” “critique”, etc. These are specific terms you should cover to meet the requirements.

    • Rule #3) Create an Outline
    • Before starting your first draft you should spend some time creating an outline to help organize your ideas. Having an outline as you write can help you stay on track, especially when it can become easy to have your mind wander as you write quickly.

    • Rule #4) Get t to the Point
    • A lot of writers start off with very little confidence and start to discuss a number of things that don’t really add value to the work as a whole. Often considered “waffling,” you should avoid this at all costs, instead getting right to the point from the start.

    • Rule #5) Introduce the Ideas
    • When you are writing you introductory paragraph you should include a few sentences telling the reader exactly what you plan on discussing in each of your body paragraphs. This gives the reader a clear roadmap for what your paper on literature will cover.

    • Rule #6) One Topic per Paragraph
    • Students often make the mistake of putting too much information per paragraph. Stick to a single idea. Your paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting evidence, followed by your original thoughts on the topic.

    • Rule #7) Use Good Transitions
    • Use linking words to signal to the reader that you are moving from one point to the next. Well-written transitions will tie the paper together and provide a sense of wholeness in the work, making it for a better and more enjoyable read.

    • Rule #8) Summarize and Synthesize
    • Your concluding paragraph should summarize and synthesize all of the major discussion points made throughout your literature paper. Use no more than three or four sentences, and never simply cut and paste statements from other parts of your assignment.

    • Rule #9) Identify all Sources
    • Be sure you have included all proper citations for any sources used. Citation information should be included both within the texts and on a separated works cited page at the end of your paper. Follow MLA guidelines for accuracy.

    • Rule #10) Revise, Edit, Proofread
    • Finally, be sure you have given yourself enough time to revise, edit and proofread your work before submitting it to your instructor. Even the smallest mistakes can cost you a letter grade or two, so don’t take this last rule lightly.