ELLOWRITES PRESENTS: ONE YEAR TO A WRITING LIFE
an experiential book review, post 2 of 12
Last week we introduced you to Susan Tiberghien's book One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer’s Art and Craft. We took a look at the first lesson, and many of you completed a journal entry and shared it with us. Shares from last week are indexed under #tiberghien1.
This week, we have ...
Personal Essays [Ed. and Creative Nonfiction]
Tiberghien gives four steps to approaching writing a personal essay on p. 26-9:
[Ed. I've paraphrased some, as the steps are a bit lengthy in description.]
Step 1 - Let an experience choose you. Try to catch a few words, about a paragraph. Take a breath, read what you wrote. If it isn't interesting to you, repeat until you catch something that is.
Step 2 - Show the story. She suggests, by way of Joyce Carol Oates, that you think cinematically as you tell the story.
Step 3 - Polish, which has three subsections:
Read what you've written and consider the imagery. Try things like converting a simile to a metaphor and going deeper with the symbolism.
Listen to the rhyme and sound. Adjust word choice to make it flow.
Compression, by which she urges us to find the still point of the essay, the resting point that she contends is the core of the piece. Trim, if needed, to tighten the compression around the core.
Step 4 - Wait and bring forth. Let your essay sit for at least one night. Let others read it. Read it aloud to yourself. Revise as desired. [Ed. There is a lesson all about rewriting coming in post 11. So don't go overboard at this point ;)]
She gives three example exercises; however, none is particularly suitable for our challenge, so we have written one that keeps to the spirit of the three examples:
Write a personal essay using the four step method. Work in 15 minute increments.
Mention @ellowrites for wider distribution. Use the tag #tiberghien to index your entry with others in this series. You may wish to also use #tiberghien2 to sort it further.