How To Write A Literary Essay Step-By-Step: Professional Tutorial For College

When you are composing a literary essay, you are analyzing a piece of published work. This could be a novel, play, essay, poem, or any other genre of writing. You will present your ideas and then proceed to support your thoughts with found research from experts in the field of critical analysis. Here is a step-by-step guide for creating your piece with ease:


  • Begin to brainstorm
  • Consider written works that you are fond of and know well
  • Narrow down the list
  • Go with the one you like the best and know the most
  • Consider the main points such as
    • Themes
    • Characters
    • Setting
    • Motifs
    • Juxtaposition
    • Irony
    • Symbols
    • Biblical references
    • Mythological references

You are now ready to start your outline. You should check the teacher directions to see if one is required or this is optional. If is it required and must be submitted with the end product, then make sure you know if it should be in topic or sentence form. Once the outline is finished, move ahead with these writing steps.

Writing Steps

  1. Write the thesis-3-4 main points is a good number
  2. Make sure any weak points are placed in the middle
  3. Research for the support-use credible and valid databases and print material
  4. Now use a flow chart app to move the order around for the main points-you want the best idea flow
  5. Begin the introduction-it has to be strong, simple, provide background information, and houses the thesis statement
  6. Write the main points-do not forget to use transitions
  7. For each idea find adequate research for support
  8. Make sure to use parenthetical in-text citations (if you do not cite you are plagiarizing)
  9. Build a strong conclusion
  10. Finish the rough draft and put down the paper
  11. Make the reference page-find out if it a Works Cited or a Bibliography page
  12. There are online tools for making the reference sheet for you
  13. Also find out if it is annotated or not
  14. If the teacher asks for the rough draft-submit it
  15. The piece needs editing-the teacher may do it if the rough draft was submitted or you may be expected to do it
  16. Correct the rough draft
  17. Turn in everything the teacher asks for