You can select some common features (features) of the genre, which are usually listed in encyclopedias and dictionaries:
Of course, there are no strict boundaries. The volume of the essay is from three to seven pages of computer text. For example, at Harvard business school essays are often written in just two pages. Russian universities allow essays of up to ten pages, though typewritten text.
A specific topic and emphasized its subjective interpretation.
The topic of the essay is always specific. The essay may not contain many topics or ideas (thoughts). It reflects only one option, one thought. And develops it. That answers one question.
Free composition is an important feature of the essay.
The researchers note that the essay by its nature is arranged so that it does not tolerate any formal framework. It is often built contrary to the laws of logic, subject to arbitrary associations, guided by the principle of “all the way around.”
Ease of narration.
It is important for the author of the essay to establish a trusting style of communication with the reader; to be understood, he avoids deliberately complicated, unclear, overly strict constructions. The researchers note
that a good essay can only be written by someone who is fluent in the topic, sees it from different sides and is ready to present to the reader not an exhaustive, but a multidimensional view of the phenomenon, which became the starting point of his reflections.
A penchant for paradoxes.
The essay is intended to surprise the reader (listener) – this, according to many researchers, its mandatory quality. The starting point for reflection, embodied in the essay, is often an aphoristic, vivid statement or paradoxical definition, literally colliding at first glance indisputable, but mutually exclusive statements, characteristics, theses.
Internal semantic unity
Perhaps this is one of the paradoxes of the genre. Free in composition, focused on subjectivity, the essay at the same time has an internal semantic unity, i.e. consistency of key theses and statements, the internal harmony of arguments and associations, the consistency of those judgments in which the personal position of the author is expressed.
Orientation to speaking
At the same time, it is necessary to avoid the use of slang in the essay, boilerplate phrases, shorthand words, too frivolous tone. The language used in writing an essay should be taken seriously.
So, when writing an essay, it is important to determine (understand) its theme, to determine the desired volume and goals of each paragraph.
Start with the main idea or a bright phrase. Task – to immediately capture the attention of the reader (listener). A comparative allegory is often used here, when an unexpected fact or event is associated with the main theme of the essay.