All the skills you learned writing nonfiction apply to composing literary essays with the added emphasis on sense of language and style. The following exercises are designed to help you perfect this technique.
Select a subject with which you have a significant amount of knowledge so that without any research you can write two paragraphs on it. You can write about a person of interest, a sport, an armed conflict, an historical event-whatever you choose.
Write two paragraphs introducing the reader to the subject and provide some information. Do this in the form of an article consistent with what you learned in Chapter 13. Now. present the same information but as you would in a literary essay, paying special attention to word choice and tone. Compare the two pieces. While there should be a distinction in sense of language and style, in both instances the information should have been conveyed effectively to the reader. To see if this is the case, ask one or two people to read it for purposes of clarity. If they say the literary essay was more impressive but not as comprehensible, then you need to work on that issue.
This exercise is designed to introduce you to the great adventure and challenge that awaits you should you choose to write literary essays.
Select a topic about which you have some knowledge and a desire to learn more. The subject you pick should not be too broad. For example, it you are a bit of a civil war buff and want to learn more about the conflict, do not choose as a subject Lincoln's generals but rather focus on one general and only for a precise time period.
Now. start your quest for fact gathering, relying on what you learned in Chapter 5. but you only need to do enough research to write ten pages or so (although literary essays can be longer, this is a good start).
When your research is complete, it's time to impart the information to the reader in a way that will pique her curiosity and maintain her interest while you write in the style of a literary essayist.
Congratulations, you have just written a literary essay.