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Time Waits for No Man (How to write a paper in an hour)

  You sit before your computer.  The clock ticks away.  There's only an hour and a half before class starts.  Your paper consists of nothing more than the first word, "The."  You're in trouble.  You need to learn how to write an "A" paper in just one hour.  Can it be done?  It can, but only if you follow some careful but quick rules.

   First, establish what your paper is to be about.  Instructors most often provide at least some basic guidelines on the appropriate subject matter.  Sometimes you're given a wide range of topics, but sometimes youre forced to rely on your own creativity.  When that happens, don't despair.  The more lax the subject, the more opportunity you have.  Pull out a blank sheet of paper from your printer or notebook.  Start writing down anything and everything you can think of as a topic for your paper.  Don't worry about how silly it might sound, this is just to get those creative juices flowing.  Once you've written down a dozen topics or so, read them over to yourself and cross out any of those topics that don't fall into the right categories.  Cross out the ones that are too broad or too narrow for your purposes.  Now just pick one.  You might have to flip a coin to make your final decision.

   Now you need to start writing.  The first paragraph, obviously, is particularly important.  Its importance doesnt mean it's difficult to compose, however.  The first paragraph simply sets the stage, gives a quick overview of your subject.  You can start with the thesis statement and build around it.  In the end, most introductory paragraphs are just so much fluff.  In those cases where you can't quite finish the paragraph, don't worry; you can easily return to it later.

   The body of the paper is where you need to think.  Remember that piece of paper you pulled out earlier?  Flip it over and write down your main points.  Brainstorm again, and again you can ignore how silly the things you write down are.  Cross out the thoughts you don't want to include.  Do the same to anything you can't easily find the material for, either on the Internet, in your own reference material, or in your own head.  Do the research as quickly as you can.  Use search engines like http://www.google.com .  Use Encyclopedias.  Use textbooks.  Write page numbers down and skim the references.  Finally, you can start typing again.  Make each remaining point into a sentance apart from each other.  Build paragraphs around each, using quotes and material gleaned from your research.  This is by far the most time-consuming step, but when you've finished it, you'll nearly be done.

   Now you write the conclusion.  Generally, with the time constraints upon you, you won't want to spend your last remaining moments pondering this.  That's great because all you have to do now is rewrite your introductory paragraph to fit the conclusion of your paper.  Don't make it too identical, but this shouldn't take much of your time at all.  This may not be the last step for you but if you followed the instructions on references, namely copying page numbers, you'll be able to quickly and easily cite them in whatever fashion needed.

   At last you've finished your paper, with half an hour left 'till class.  Remember to grab it from your printer on the way out, or all this effort will have gone to waste!  Good luck to you!
 by GoldenPanther

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Subject: In The Mood May 22nd, '03 3:18pm

My wife told me that I should rethink my vote of a three for this article, and so I re-read it.  I now agree with her.

I guess this article is a lot like movies. I remember I saw Waynes World in teh Theatres and thought it was the dumbest movie ever.  I then rented it 2 years later with a bunch of guys and we had pizza and beer, and I lauged until I cried.

Soo, although I didn't pee my pants laughing you did get some giggles out of me, and though I think that there are other articles on this site with a lot more humor I will upgrade my vote to a respectable 5.

Good Job.

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Subject: Purpose May 23rd, '03 12:03pm

[Post edited by: GoldenPanther on May 23rd, '03 12:05pm
I suppose I should have tagged on a comment detailing the reasons I wrote this particular "How-to" paper.

My english teacher was a particularly amusing fellow who liked to be called simply "Mr. Z."  He gave us assignments to complete in class, so that by the time class was over, our work was to be turned in.  The sooner you completed your work, the sooner you could leave.  This was quite a motivator.

This particular piece was written to the simple outline of an instructional paper.  I completed it in approximately one hour.  I'm rather proud of that :)

As an additional note, I used many of the same bits of advice presented in this paper to write my "Golden Panther" paper later for that same class.  That took me an hour and 15 minutes... mostly thanks to Yu-Gi-Oh and the Jackie Chan Adventures.

I'm the aged panther of the darkest reaches of your inner psyche.  Or something.
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