Let’s start with the basics.  Write your essay in this order: thesis statement, body, conclusion, introduction. The intro is much easier to write once the other three are complete.

Once completed, ask yourself just these two questions:

  • What the heck am I talking about?  No, really.  You’re going to need to give some background to this amazing thesis thing you’re about to show me, so I’ll be interested in actually reading all fifteen pages of this paper.  Wait, what’s that?  It’s FIFTY!?  …Okay now you really need to wow me.
  • What is the tone, or overall mood, I want to set?  Is your thesis sarcastic, melancholy, or uplifting in nature?  Whatever it is, make sure your introduction reflects the appropriate mood, so turn down the lights, light up those candles, and put the Barry Manilow on.

An introduction is like an appetizer – enough to whet your appetite without making you full.  So answering just these couple questions should give you plenty of material.

For example, if your thesis statement was “Zeus was the prime harbinger of conflict in Greek mythology,” you might begin by describing Zeus as all-powerful and ubiquitous – seemly pervading all Greek classics.  Then you could go into how his power led to his lust – both for goddesses and human women – and how his rampant fornication created a bunch of kids who always messed stuff up in the world because their dead-beat dad wasn’t around.

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