Sunday, February 7, 2010

Personal Opinion - Writing TIP

Personal Opinion, Baloney!

The two easiest kinds of articles to write are Personal Experience and Opinion essays. Each of us has a lifetime of personal experiences from which to draw. Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one.

Personal experiences can be shared with your children and grandchildren, with old friends, on blogs like this one, or just with yourself as a journal entry. They also, if you are willing to share them with others, may make good columns for publications from national magazines right down to your local newspaper.


The lead is the most important thing you have to say about the subject. If you can tie it up with a hook, so much the better. A good lead for an article on how paramedics saved your life would be, “I died twice last August and lived to tell about it.” The unspoken hook here is, "HOW?"

The Body:

Then put the details of the medical emergency and the Certified Emergency Technicians response in the second paragraph. Then just tell the story as it happened to you, with your own thoughts and feelings -- then make your POINT.

The Point:

Every article has a point. The personal experience / medical emergency article outlined above might be used to point out the importance of funding for local emergency services.

Personal Opinion
differs very little, except instead of writing about yourself, you would choose to write about an issue – Say, baloney. Here’s the outline:

The lead: Make a statement about something

The price of baloney is $5.89 a pound. and write a couple of lines about how it used to be 10 cents a pound, and was still expensive during the Great Depression when the average man’s salary was $1 a day, if he was lucky enough to have a job.

The body:
Give examples and tell anecdotes

People used to say they were spreading baloney when people told lies or exaggerated the truth. (And give some examples of people who have told lies, some amusing, some serious. Girls who’ve lied, or to whom guys lie, politicians and how many lies they tell, the way government cuts medicare, and SSI, but buys $800 toilet seats.)

Make your point:

Lots of people will hand you baloney.

The conclusion:
Use the lead to confirm your point and make the piece come full circle.

Think about the baloney people slice for you every day. Even when people give it away for nothing, baloney can be very expensive.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, Arline, and right on the baloney.