At various points from now until February 1, I’ll be posting tips for those of you thinking of entering our essay contest. Following any or all of these tips doesn’t guarantee anything, of course—but it can’t hurt!
When you’re dealing with any show or book or film, there are some ideas that are kind of obvious: the X-Men uses metaphor to explore real-world prejudices; Buffy was about female empowerment; Dollhouse asks questions about the nature of the self.
This doesn’t mean these topics make for bad essays; great writing or novel insights can make ideas that would otherwise feel like old news seem new again. But it does mean that it’ll be harder for your essay to distinguish itself, since you probably won’t be the only one writing on the subject.
Give us something we weren’t expecting—something we wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. The more you can surprise us, the more likely you are to catch our (and Jane’s!) attention.
Some examples of particularly surprising essay topics?
- Brad Sinor’s “The Little Doctor That Wasn’t Really There” from House Unauthorized (Brad suggests that Wilson is actually just a figment of House’s imagination … and actually makes a pretty convincing case.)
- Heather Swain’s “Whimsy Goes With Everything” from Coffee at Luke’s (Heather explains her deep romantic attachment to Kirk. Yes—Kirk!)
- Richard Garfinkle’s “Why Killing Harry Is the Worst Outcome for Voldemort” from Mapping the World of Harry Potter the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (The surprise, well, it’s right there in the title, isn’t it?)