Harvard history professor Jill Lepore offers some "fishy" advice on how to write a history paper. Read her instructions (for the fish stuff) or read my synopsis below:
1. Ask a good question. (i.e. "What does the Revolution look like from a losers' point of view?")
2. You can change your question based on what you discover in the process of doing your research.
3. Start analyzing your evidence when you have enough of it (in the primary and secondary source variety) to answer your question.
4. When you come up with a good title, start writing.
5. Make sure to balance argument and story throughout the paper
6. Make an outline
7. Think hard about what will appear on the page and what will appear in a footnote.
8. Your paper is finished when you have stated your case and finished your story.