When writing an argumentative essay what is a good way to structure my writing? What general rules should I follow when starting off an essay?
Your question could be interpreted in many different ways (not knowing the content of your essay), but these are my thoughts:
Is there a certain way I should structure my essay?
In an essay or article, these are the best ways to structure an essay in order to win an argument:
Use facts, quotes, and citations to support your idea or opinion. This will help identify your writing as factual and it will make your fellow debaters and opponents take you seriously. Also, you can use quantitative data to give your readers the bigger picture or the tiny details.
State, restate, and state again your key point. If you want your opponents to remember your key argument, your best tool will be your 'main idea'. Once you pick your key point or main idea, you need to reinforce it with facts. You should have your key point in your introduction, conclusion, and reminders of it in the essay's body.
Have structure and order to your essay. It is much easier to follow along in an essay when it has a solid structure. You want your paragraphs to fall into a nice, consecutive order, where it essentially has the basic intro, body, and conclusion. Avoid jumbling up your paragraphs in a way that jumps from idea to idea, does not follow the time of the featured events, or does not satisfy every loose end.
Vary your sentence structure and word choice. If you use the same boring words and sentence structures, your debaters will fall asleep. In order to make your essay engaging, you should have a variety of sentence length, complexity, and clauses.
Don't be a robot. One strategy is asking rhetorical questions or using any other tool to interest your audience.
Choose a topic that is interesting. Or, if your side of the argument is not actually very interesting, make it seem like a big deal. There are many different ways to accomplish this, but one way is having a dramatic theme, or a cause and effect set up.
Good luck with your essay.
This answer has a long story behind it...
I wrote it for one post, realized it was not answering the question, and deleted it. Then, another day I saw another question that I thought this answer would fit... but guess what, irrelevant again! I then deleted it, and I have been waiting for a question that this answer would fit! I think this one would, but I will sadly delete this cursed answer if it doesn't. :)