SPRINKLE THEORY: Indulge Yourself in Writing

Writing is like a chocolate cake.  In fact, it’s like a double-layer chocolate fudge cake with rainbow sprinkles on top, according to a member of the Class of 2013’s Sprinkle Theory.

The Sprinkle Theory essentially states that when a grandiose dessert is presented at a celebration, the actual cake part of the dessert is not what inspires awe and mouth-watering throughout the room.  While there is always much more cake in proportion to the amount of frosting, fudge, and sprinkles, these decorative flamboyancies make the whole dessert unique.  Every portion of the cake is comprised of the same mixture at its foundation, but the innovative designs on each piece are what most influence which slice guests will select.  People love the explosive bursts of color—the sprinkles, in this case—that draw people’s attention and make the cake noteworthy, while also allowing each individual to desire, and indeed to savor, a particular slice among many.

By this definition, writing is like a sprinkle-covered chocolate cake.  All writers, and especially all academic writers, must thoughtfully choose which portion of the composition cake they will claim as their own.  While each person in a class has the same foundational background information to structure an essay, the specific, original ideas of the writer bring color and creativity to every written delicacy.  These detailed insertions are the unique morsels professors love to gnaw on, especially when they face a stack of essays that all respond to the same question.  Make your paper the slice they cannot resist!


Start off any draft with an “attention grabber”: a quotation, an exclamation, a question, or a profound, smack-in-the-face claim that pertains to the assignment.  Restating the question is practical but not original.   Consider what interests you about the topic and hope that this will inspire your reader.  The opening sentence will set the tone for the rest of the paper.

The thesis statement, normally placed at the end of the introductory paragraph, should offer an original perspective or argument.  Repeating a professor’s perception or angle verbatim does not demonstrate a unique command of the material, which is the ultimate goal of any assignment.

Body Paragraphs:
Supporting evidence for the paper’s central claim should be presented in a parallel structure to the argumentative order established in the thesis statement.  However, a formalized structure does not prevent the writer from being creative in the body paragraphs.  The use of distinctive quotations and innovative analysis of the course information adds style and profundity to any evidentiary inclusions.

Personal voice is another defining element of the body paragraphs.  Everybody has a distinct form of verbal expression that does not have to be removed from academic writing.  Invoking a personalized tone also individualizes the stylistic components of a draft.  Don’t be flowery, but do be precise ad profound in your word choice. 

The purpose of a concluding paragraph is not to restate all the points in a paper! While it is important to rearticulate the thesis statement, the final paragraph in an academic writing assignment should draw conclusions and outline possible repercussions for the developed argument.  Because the conclusion suggests potential outcomes, these can be insightful and inventive implications.

Every student must decide which points are the most effective at demonstrating both comprehension and original thinking when composing academic essays.  So, after first recognizing the foundational elements of a class, why not give professors a colorful thesis and argument?  Handing a professor a delicious slice of a sprinkle-laden essay will not only satiate their taste buds, but it will likely result in positive feedback for you, the author.

-By Erica Solari ’12

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