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Showing posts from July, 2010

Getting Personal – The Basics of Personal Essay Writing

In case you missed it in the write on! online  site a few months back, here's a repeat. Enjoy!

We all have them-- the stories we tell over and over to explain who we are and where we came from. Your husband has probably heard the story behind the funny shaped scar on your knee enough times to tell it himself. Your grandparents will continue to tell you what a Great Depression is like until they are sure you get it. And Ted will still be telling his kids How He Met Their Mother for a few more seasons, anyway.
As a writer, you can transform your stories into personal essays for anthologies, magazines, journals, and more. It just takes another look at the advice we take for granted.
Write What You Know
Yes, you've heard it, over and over again. This mantra is overused for a reason: any type of writing begins with you, the writer. No matter the genre, your experiences and thoughts are sifted through, and the nuggets of gold you find make it to the page. This is especially true with pe…

The Writer in the Mirror

As the Excuse Editor, it's my responsibility to uncover different excuses writers use for missing their writing goals. "Fortunately", I don't have to spend hours researching this topic; most of the material I need is readily available.
I just have to look in the mirror...
***
For writers, how you decide to tackle your next writing project may depend on the kind of mirror used.
The Fun-House Mirror
Everything about your writing seems WRONG. Your characters are so thin they could never be mistaken for being truly alive. Your setting is a blur. Your dialogue is fat and rambling. Those finishing touches meant to accessorize and complement are just distracting from your story's true beauty. None of this is what you were expecting to see.
Take another look:
Just by shifting perspective, the image changes. Turn the mirror to create more depth in your characters. What comes into focus? Were they "thin" because you hadn't given them any substance? Add some phys…