How to Write Paper on Literature Topics: Practical Guidelines

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Whether Literature is your favorite subject or not, you have to compose essays from time to time. It’s good if your love for Shakespeare helps, but what to do if Othello and Ophelia sound the same for you? Or when you know Shakespeare so well (not personally, obviously) that finding the best topic is torture? Say no more!

If you found yourself stuck between a reason and your feelings when crafting a paper, check our detailed guideline below.

Step #1: Find What Makes You Tick

It must not always be a thing you like about the poem or prose. For instance, characters like Dolores Umbridge drive you nuts in ‘Harry Potter.’ While other students would surely write paper about Harry or Hermione, you’ll stay authentic in your choice.

This tip goes about everything, starting from characters and continuing with plot twists. 

How to discover what makes you tick on a bigger scale of the literature work?

  • Choose a line in a poem you find mesmerizing and beautiful. Or one which you think is tastelessly done and you might have written it better;
  • Find a character or an idea which surprises you. Did you find the dystopian future chilling in ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy? Write about it; 
  • Look for metaphors and similes. One never thinks of depression when reading ‘The Bell Jar’ title. Nonetheless, Sylvia Plath’s metaphor of a suffocative jar speaks clearly and loudly about depression once you read the book;
  • Think of the ending. We all make assumptions about how the story ends. But some endings like one in ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn are just unpredictable.

Step #2: Looking For a Topic

Most professors have a ready-made list of topics to choose from. But some instructors love to give their students maximum freedom. Which is a godsend and curse at the same time. To make this challenge easier, choose a topic based on Step #1.

You’ve certainly made notes while reading the prose or poem. Yet rummage through them to refresh your memories. For instance, you were totally shocked by the ending of Gillian Flynn’s ‘Sharp Objects.’ Yes, this woman is an amazing suspense-builder.

Spoilers alert, by the way. Based on your reaction, you can trace places in the text which would have predicted the ending. Analyze these places in your paper. The topic might sound like ‘Unpredictability and Character’s Development of Amma in ‘Sharp Objects’ by Gillian Flynn.’ 

Step #3: Get Prepared

Now, this is a stage predicting the success of your writing process. To write paper on Literature, one must be fully equipped with materials and time. One must also stay concentrated. How to do it?

  • Knock that buzzing off. We talk about technology here. Yes, you’ll need your laptop and headphones. But do you really need to answer all those tweeting messages on your phone? 
  • Install an application which blocks your attempts to enter social media or email. One of them is called Freedom and can be easily checked online;
  • Turn on soothing music. The latter is a great way to relax and concentrate. You can find a ready-made playlist on YouTube or compose one by yourself;
  • Fix yourself a drink. A camomile tea relaxes, while a cup of coffee would back off your dizziness; 
  • Eat before you start writing. In this way, you won’t have to go down to the kitchen and get distracted by your relatives.

Step #4: Have a Plan

No, it doesn’t mean having a plan A and a plan B if everything goes wrong with the plan A. In the case of writing, a plan or a draft is the structure of your paper. 

Crafting a draft is the most underrated classic tip on improving your writing and keeping everything in order. 

It is easy to write paper once you see the structure and organization of the chapters. If you don’t like something about the paper, you can easily change it during the drafting stage. It’s more effective than deleting chunks of text later.

What is the traditional structure of a Literature paper?

  • A common essay would contain Introduction, Body, and Conclusion sections;
  • A research paper would include an Abstract, Introduction, Thematic Sections, and Conclusion;
  • A creative essay or project would be different depending on the story genre or the poem; 
  • All Literature papers would contain a Bibliography or Works Cited section. By including this part in your essay, you give credit to other authors and researchers.

Step #5: Write the Actual Paper

That’s all great, but in the end, to write paper, you must sit and actually do it.

  • While writing your Literature paper, follow the draft you’ve created before. In this way, you won’t get distracted by the train of thought some metaphors create;
  • Keep your writing coherent and clear. Chop all complex ideas into simple ones;
  • It is advisable to divide the total number of words you must write among the paper sections. By doing so, you won’t leave your Introduction bigger than the Main Sections. 

Step #6: References and Citing

All those APAs and MLAs and other citing formats would give you a headache. Don’t try to memorize them – leave this exhausting task to technology. One of the best tips is using a Citation Machine for referencing. This magic application would save you time and process your sources in a few seconds. 

Why cite sources?

  • You avoid plagiarism;
  • You respect the hard work of other researchers;
  • You won’t get expelled from the college.

Step #7: Edit, Proofread, and Read Again

The importance of editing and proofreading is underestimated. Editing an essay is one of the last but most important stages in your writing process. Oftentimes, we make mistakes not because we are lazy but because we are tired. Which is not a surprise, considering all those sleepless nights.

How to keep the editing process smooth?

  • Use Grammarly for quick and efficient editing;
  • Ask your friends to read your paper;
  • Again, think of cohesion. Some parts might need little ’trimming.’

Final Thoughts

Not everyone is a fan of paper writing, especially in Literature studies. All those characters and plot twists are sometimes confusing. Don’t worry! With our guidelines and a desire to become a better writer, your paper will be excellent. Stay focused, compose drafts, and start writing with time in advance.

We hope our article was helpful. Good luck with your studies!

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