Crafting the Personal Essay

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-09-08
  • Publisher: Writers Digest Books

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The personal essay, of course, stems from the ?personal? thoughts and experiences of the writer, but ultimately the essay (like all literary writing) must transcend the merely private to become universal. How is this done? Step one is finding a measure of distance from your experience; learning to stand back, narrow your eyes, and scrutinize your own life with a dose of healthy skepticism. Step two is learning to separate what is powerful only to you from what might be fresh, surprising, instructive, or just plain fascinating to a reader. This book shows you how to write nine different types of personal essays, including: the Contemplative Essay; the Memoir Essay; the Lyric Essay; the Nature Essay; the Travel Essay; the Spiritual Essay; the Gastronomical Essay; the Humor Essay; and the Epistolary (Letter-Writing) Essay. In addition, the book features examples from various essay types, instructional exercises, techniques for revising, and information on where and how to publish finished essays.

Author Biography

Dinty W. Moore's essays and stories have appeared in numerous publications including The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, and Utne Reader. His books include Between panic Desire, The Accidental Buddhist, Toothpick Men, The Emperor's Virtual Clothes, and The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Personal Essay, Here and Nowp. 1
Writing The Essay
The Gentle Art of the Personal Essayp. 4
The Personal (Not Private) Essayp. 7
Writing the Memoir Essayp. 26
The Woolf and the Mothp. 38
Writing the Contemplative Essayp. 51
A Closer Look: "Leisure," by Agnes Repplierp. 59
Pursuing Mental Rabbitsp. 75
Writing the Lyric Essayp. 92
Of Conflictp. 99
A Closer Look: "Ah Wilderness!"p. 113
Writing the Spiritual Essayp. 132
Who Am I Today?p. 139
Writing the Gastronomical Essayp. 152
Writing the Humorous Essayp. 159
A Closer Look: "Pulling Teeth,"p. 166
Write What you Wish you Knewp. 172
Writing the Nature Essayp. 186
Writing the Travel Essayp. 193
Reaching Readers
On a Regular Writing Routinep. 200
Blogging and the Essayp. 208
Red Light, Green Light: Tips for Conquering Writer's Blockp. 214
On Becoming an Excellent Rewriterp. 219
On Publication, Rejection, and Being Stubbornp. 226
"Of Idle People who Rove About"p. 234
Recommended Readings for Writersp. 245
Web Sites for Essay Writersp. 251
Permissionsp. 256
Indexp. 258
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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