English teacher

How do I come up with a topic for an unconventional essay?

Let's think about what an "essay with a twist" is. And why do children think that an unconventional essay has an unconventional theme only? Here I will give some tricks on how to turn an ordinary text into a winning contest essay.

Unconventional composition.
Composition is the construction of a work. The average student will write according to the formula: plot-main part-expression, nothing extra. However, composition may be the literary device that will keep your essay from becoming standard.If you would like to learn more about essays and how they can help you develop, click here.


Circular composition.

A very interesting technique where the end of the piece is where the beginning is. On this you can make a good intrigue: give at the beginning a riddle, and in the course of the essay/story slowly unravel the tangle. Then at the end it will turn out that there was no riddle at the beginning - it was solved long ago, and the whole story is a story of the one who solved it. This is also how you can frame your hero's story. Examples of stories with a circular composition:

You can make a convoluted story about moving into the past or into the future. For example, at the beginning the hero creates a time machine, travels through the ages and events, and thinks there is no way back - as he suddenly finds himself at his own machine. The hands of the clock are frozen at the minute he travels to the past or the future. It's as if the hero can't decide whether to stay with his adventures or forget about them.

The hero thinks of a film he recently watched. And suddenly he finds himself acting in it. At the end, the hero wakes up and realizes he fell asleep while watching it and doesn't even remember how it ended.

The hero finds himself in an unknown city and is helped there. It all turns out to be a dream. Many years later, when the hero finds himself in the same town (a business trip, a holiday), he learns the legend of the boy who saved the town centuries ago.

The literary character in the book he has read tells himself what he did in the book and how he felt about everything. The beginning and the end are the character's reflections on human destiny.

The young literary man wonders how to describe a tragic scene in his book. His own characters come to him and are outraged by this treatment. It turns out that the author has fallen asleep. Instead of the tragic part, he writes a happy ending.

The character has the same dream many times - he can't understand: to get rid of the vision, you have to stop wanting to see it/forgive yourself for past actions/do the right thing in the past/work on your present and not dwell on the past.

A library worker notices that someone is stealing books. He calculates what will be stolen next and, saving the books, takes them to his house. The next day, a second guard comes to him and tells him that someone is stealing the books, and he hides them to save them.

The hero stands before the famous stone: "You will go right... You will go left... You will go straight...". He walks all the way to the end, realising he has made the wrong choice. At the end the hero wakes up in front of the same stone.

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Question-and-answer and dialogue form.
A technique where the author asks himself questions and answers them himself. Possible themes:

Dialogue with the book hero.

The main character at the end of the book asks his enemy why he did what he did.

Dialogue with the writer.

In a dream, the hero is visited by a kind helper, who always tells him what will happen tomorrow and how best to live the day. Then the helper disappears. How will a man, used to perpetual care, live without the help of others?

An interview with your favourite thing. What can it tell you about you?

A teddy bear tells its mistress how, as a child, it protected her at night from monsters.

A mirror is said to reflect a person's soul. What, then, can a mirror tell you about something you don't want people to see?

An outsider's view.
A technique where someone who is not supposed to take the floor in a work.

In any book there are major and minor characters. What do secondary characters have to say about the main characters?

Our parents' view of us.

How do our grandparents feel about the new generation and why?

Open ending.
This is a technique where the author leaves the reader to figure out what happens next, but doesn't say it himself.

The schoolboy has always dreamed of adventure. Suddenly he finds himself in any book/movie/other world. He goes a long way, realises that adventure is most often scary, that man is made for happiness, not monsters. Suddenly he wakes up. Was it a dream, or did the schoolboy really experience it all, let the reader guess.

A tale of a human dream. A captain of a long sea voyage wants to discover a new land. He does not think it is dangerous and he is not afraid to die there. He goes towards his dream. The tale ends with him docking on a land not marked on the map.

You are about to leave school. You are worried - there are exams and admissions ahead, a whole new and uncharted life. The adult life that so many people talk about. You are going to the exams. It's scary. This is where it all ends. Let the reader believe that the fears were in vain.

As you can see, an unconventional composition more often than not gives many options for an unconventional theme. So you don't have to think about what to write about. Think about how you will write it.

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