Saturday, May 8, 2010

Personal Essays - writing tip

The most important thing about a personal essay is that it have a point the reader can relate to in his or her own life. A pointless essay is like the broth without the beans. The point is where the essayist and the audience meet and understand each other's feelings.

All personal experience essays are written to a formula just as stories adhere to a plot outline Here is the formula:

1. Make a STATEMENT (Your Lead) about something -- say, baloney! The cost of baloney is nearly $3 a pound and it's expensive, just as it was back in the depression when it was 10 cents a pound, but nobody had a dime, or a job to earn one.

2. ELABORATE with detail over the next two or three paragraphs using anecdotes and examples that are easy to relate to. Explain how people are ready to hand you baloney every day with lies or nefarious practices. Because lying is also a simile for "baloney." Explain how polititians lie and the government lies as well, telling us they really NEED to buy those $800 toilet seats when you can get one at Wal-Mart for $9.95.

3. Make your POINT. People dish out baloney all the time and we sometimes swallow it, without even noticing.

4. In the final paragraph, make your piece come FULL CIRCLE by tying the end of the essay to the opening sentence or lead. "Regardless of the time or place, baloney can be very expensive to all of us."

In this way, your personal experience will become a shared experience with the reader.

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