Essay Assignment: Illustration Essay—Prewriting and Draft

For this assignment, you will work through the prewriting and drafting stages of your writing process in an illustration/example essay.

Illustration/Example Essay Prompt

Choose one of the following statements and agree or disagree with it in an essay developed by using multiple and extended examples. The statement you decide on should concern a topic you care about so that the examples are a means of communicating an idea; not an end in themselves.


  1. In happy families, talk is the main activity.
  2. Grandparents relate more closely to grandchildren than to their children.
  3. Sooner or later, children take on the personalities of their parents.

Behavior and Personality

  1. Rudeness is on the rise.
  2. Gestures and facial expressions often communicate what words cannot say.
  3. Our natural surroundings when we are growing up contribute to our happiness or unhappiness as adults.


  1. The best courses are the difficult ones.
  2. Students at schools with enforced dress codes behave better than students at schools without such codes.

Politics and Social Issues

  1. Drug and alcohol addiction does not happen just to “bad” people.

Media and Culture

  1. The Internet divides people instead of connecting them.
  2. Good art can be ugly.
  3. A craze or fad reveals something about the culture it arises in.
  4. The best rock musicians treat social and political issues in their songs.

Rules for Living

  1. Lying may be justified by the circumstances.
  2. Friends are people you can’t always trust.

Writing Your Illustration/Example Essay


STEP 1: To get started writing your essay, first pick at least one of the rewriting strategies we learned about in the course: brainstorming, rewriting, journaling, mapping, questioning, sketching. Use your chosen method and gather ideas for your essay. Write down what you do, as you’ll need to submit evidence of your prewrite.


STEP 2: Write a draft of your essay. When drafting your essay:

  1. Develop an enticing title.
  2. Use the introduction to pull the reader into your singular experience by introducing the problematic situation.
  3. Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (Don’t write, “I am going to write about my most significant experience”—this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  4. Think of things said at the moment this experience started for you—perhaps use a quote, or an interesting part of the experience that will grab the reader.
  5. Let the essay reflect your own voice. (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
  6. Try to organize the essay in a way that may capture the reader by mixing multiple and extended examples, but don’t string the reader along too much with “next, next, next.”
  7. To avoid just telling what happens. SHOW your reader what happened describing vivid examples and incorporating testimony. Make sure you take time to reflect on why this experience is significant.

Assignment Instructions

  1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.
  2. Choose a writing prompt as listed above page.
  3. Create a prewriting in the style of your choice for the prompt.
  4. Develop a draft essay according to the following formatting guidelines: (Papers submitted that do not meet these formatting requirements will be returned to you ungraded)
    • Minimum of 3 typed, double-spaced pages (about 600–750 words), Times New Roman, 12 pt font size
    • MLA formatting (see the MLA Format page as needed)
  5. Submit your prewriting and draft as a single file upload.


Be sure to:

  • Agree or disagree with the prompt statement by using multiple and extended examples.
  • Decide on something you care about so that the narration is a means of communicating an idea.
  • Develop an enticing title.
  • Use the introduction to establish the situation the essay will address.
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (Don’t write “I am going to write about…” – this takes the fun out of reading the work!).
  • Let the essay reflect your own voice (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?).
  • Avoid “telling” your reader about what happened. Instead, “show” what happens using active verbs and/or concrete and descriptive nouns.

*If you developed your prewriting by hand on paper, scan or take a picture of your prewriting, load the image onto your computer, and then insert the image on a separate page after your draft.


Grading Rubric: Illustration/Example Essay—Prewriting and Draft

Criteria Rating: Meets Expectation Approaching Expectation Point Total: 50
Ideas The paper demonstrates outstanding or above average idea development demonstrating the illustration of an idea, including your own agreement or disagreement with the prompt. The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general. __/10 pts
Content The paper demonstrates outstanding or above average evidence of supporting the main point. Paragraphs are well-developed and clear, effectively illustrating the concept. The writer demonstrates sufficient support of the main point, but could use more supporting details. __/15 pts
Organization The organization is clear and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling. The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion. __/15 pts
Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions. The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions. __/5 pts
Prewrite Attaches a prewrite example showing forethought in developing ideas for the essay. Only partially demonstrate effective prewriting strategy __/5 pts