There is no sure-fire formula for essay writing. The form your essaytakes will likely vary with the nature of your evidence (quotations fromthe text, principally, or from other sources), with your sense of how thetext is structured and shaped, with your interpretation, and with yoursense of what issues are most relevant. Obviously, you will have to makesome organizational decisions. In writing on a poem, for example, do yougo through a poem stanza by stanza showing how the meaning is developed?If this is your method, be sure you avoid the pitfalls: mere paraphrase,providing an unselective running commentary, and disorganization of kindsof evidence. An alternative approach might focus on the poem aspect byaspect (the point of view, the voice, the setting, and so forth). Thepitfalls here are not being able show how the various aspects tie togetherto create meaning, and assuming that each aspect deserves equal andexhaustive treatment. Fiction is usually analyzed by considering one ormore aspects of the work in the categories of theme (ideas, meanings),and/or of fictional techniques (plot, point of view, etc.).
Remember that there are different kinds of literature in each genre, andthat different kinds may rely on different devices. A poem may benarrative; it may be a dramatic monologue; it may be a collection ofimages with no human in sight; it may develop a logical argument; it maywork allusively, analogically, symbolically and so forth; it may have acareful stanza-by stanza development, or it may depend on repetitions,images, and so forth. A work of fiction might be allegorical, it mightuse magical realism, it might concentrate on the effects of theenvironment, or it might attempt metaphorically to represent the interiorlives of characters. Figure out what the main devices and strategies are,and concentrate on them, adding the lesser ones later and not necessarilyin full. Try, if you are not sure of your interpretation, starting withthe simplest, most obvious situation -- two lovers are meeting, say -- andadd other possible points of meaning as they seem to extend or illuminatethe dramatic situation -- for instance a storm is threatening, the meetingis seen from only one lover's point of view, each stanza gives a differentmeaning to what the significance of physical love might be, and so forth. Always deal with the 'form' as well as the 'content', however, with howthe way something is said shapes what it means. Write what you have to say as clearly and precisely as youcan. Have someone proof-read your paper for you for spelling andgrammatical errors and for intelligibility.
The only reason that I mention the MBDF virus inthis essay is that it is one of a very few cases in which the authorand distributors of a malicious program were arrestedand punished for their crime.