Personal Essay

WRITING PERSONAL ESSAYS
Personal essays are like free verse poems.
There may be few rules but there are many important guidelines.

A. CHOOSE AN APPROPRIATE TOPIC
1. Think of a memorable experience, a person you know well or a belief that is important to you.
2. Choose a topic for which you can provide many concrete examples or five senses details.
3. Choose a topic which you think will interest your readers.

B. USE THE RULES OF GOOD WRITING

1. Have a beginning, a middle and an end.
– Write something to grab the attention of your reader.
– Tell your story. (Click HERE for a nonfiction planning sheet.)
–  Write something memorable at the end.

2. Divide your work into paragraphs.
– Group similar ideas together.
– Use topic sentences or transition sentences.
– Sometimes the topic sentences – all on their own – tell a summary of your story.

3. Use a logical sequence of ideas.
– Don’t jump around all over the place as if you are thinking aloud.
– Use transition words to help your ideas flow smoothly.

4. Show emotion.
– If you sound distant or disengaged, your reader won’t care for your writing.
– Emotions make your writing powerful.
– Smoothly insert quotations to add emphasis and interest. (Click HERE on tips on dialogue.)

5. Use powerful words and concrete details. (Click HERE for tips on powerful writing.)
– Pay close attention to your verbs, adverbs and adjectives.
– Use a dictionary or thesaurus to hep you find more precise words.
– Include many details that help your readers to see, hear and feel your story.

6. Don’t forget that the conventions matter!
– Sloppy grammar, punctuation and spelling show that you don’t care
about your writing. No one else will care, then, either.
– Ask for special tutoring sessions if you need extra help learning the rules of correct English.

Click HERE for quotations and stories about memories.

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