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Grammarly can save you from misspellings, grammatical and punctuation mistakes, and other writing issues on all your favorite websites.) blended personal essays into memoir-esque collections that became best sellers.
Circling back to your lead in your conclusion is one way to give readers that full-circle sense.
Try to restate your thesis in a way that reflects the journey the essay has taken.
Starting somewhere in the late 2000s, a certain type of personal essay experienced a popularity boom.
These essays were ultra-personal and confessional in nature, often in a TMI sort of way.
Raise the stakes with each paragraph until you reach a climax or turning point. It’s not enough to say “And that’s what happened.” You have to describe how whatever happened shaped you.
Plan to add a conclusion that will evoke an emotional response in your reader. Your essay may well be about sexism, but you need to illustrate it through the lens of a defining incident that’s deeply personal to you. Just as a good lead hooks readers and draws them along for the ride, a good conclusion releases them from your essay’s thrall with a frisson of pleasure, agreement, passion or some other sense of completion.For example, my memoir ‘The Dangerous Bride’, was set during a troubled time in my life when my marriage was unravelling.To fit the narrative’s drama I underplayed the more organised aspects of myself and emphasised my confusions and inconsistencies.I suggest starting with creative non-fiction classics – the likes of Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’, Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’ and Joan Didion’s ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’.It is also not a bad idea to read some popular creative non-fiction – Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’, for example.Aside from Peter, who supposedly guards the gates of heaven and is a pivotal figure in any number of jokes, the only saint who’s ever remotely interested me is Francis of Assisi, who was friends with the animals.When I was young, my family didn’t go on outings to the circus or trips to Disneyland. Instead, we stayed in our small rural West Texas town, and my parents took us to cemeteries.They conclude with the author having learned, changed, or grown in some way and often present some truth or insight that challenges the reader to draw their own conclusions. Although the story itself is unique to the author’s experience, there’s some universal truth that speaks to us from just below the surface.Topics like facing a fear, falling in love, overcoming an obstacle, discovering something new, or making a difficult choice tackle feelings and events that happen in everyone’s life.Of course every writer knows, or at least so I hope, that reading for writers is as important as the writing itself.Yet, in creative non-fiction, reading may play even a more significant role, because – as mentioned last month – works published in this genre are so diverse, playful, surprising and elusive to definition, that the best way to understand creative non-fiction is by experiencing it.