Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Personal Opinion Essay

By David Yates

It has been theorized that humans use only about ten percent of the power of their minds. Meet Braden, an incredibly gifted young man who has learned to tap into the other ninety percent. Pursued by a powerful group of men, Braden finds that he must rely on his amazing skills in order to stay alive.

Question from the e-mail:  You said any author could write you a personal essay to go on your blog, Any subject. 500 words or so.  First, I don't know what to write about. THEN, I'm sure exactly what a "personal opinion essay" IS??? Can you give me more of a hint?

Answer:  Most authors write about their books, or how they get ideas for books, or offer advice on how to promote books, once they are finished.  They choose something that will tie in with their book's subject. But it doesn't have to be that way.

You can choose any subject (Except something that is likely to get me sued.). You can write what you feel about it. Your own personal feelings. Personal Opinion Essays all have the same format, which you will easily recognise if you ever heard Paul Harvey on the Radio back in the day.

         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, 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.
First you need a LEAD. An opininon to start with

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 three times on Christmas eve and lived to tell about it.”

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.

The Point:

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

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 $4.89 a pound. and write a couple of lines about how back in the Great Depression it used to be 10 cents a pound, and was still expensive in a time when the average man’s salary was $1 a day.

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 and so on.)

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. 

Think about it!  About 500 words. About a hour. About a free plug for your book, right here on this page.

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