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Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction

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Award winning essayist Scott Russell Sanders once compared the art of essay writing to "the pursuit of mental rabbits"--a rambling through thickets of thought in search of some brief glimmer of fuzzy truth. While some people persist in the belief that essays are stuffy and antiquated, the truth is that the personal essay is an ever-changing creative medium that provides an Award winning essayist Scott Russell Sanders once compared the art of essay writing to "the pursuit of mental rabbits"--a rambling through thickets of thought in search of some brief glimmer of fuzzy truth. While some people persist in the belief that essays are stuffy and antiquated, the truth is that the personal essay is an ever-changing creative medium that provides an ideal vehicle for satisfying the human urge to document truths as we experience them and share them with others--to capture a bit of life on paper. Crafting the Personal Essay is designed to help you explore the flexibility and power of the personal essay in your own writing. This hands-on, creativity-expanding guide will help you infuse your nonfiction with honesty, personality, and energy. You'll discover: An exploration of the basics of essay writing Ways to step back and scrutinize your experiences in order to separate out what may be fresh, powerful, surprising or fascinating to a reader How to move past private "journaling" and write for an audience How to write eight different types of essays including memoir, travel, humor, and nature essays among others Instruction for revision and strategies for getting published Brimming with helpful examples, exercises, and sample essays, this indispensable guide will help your personal essays transcend the merely private to become powerfully universal.


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Award winning essayist Scott Russell Sanders once compared the art of essay writing to "the pursuit of mental rabbits"--a rambling through thickets of thought in search of some brief glimmer of fuzzy truth. While some people persist in the belief that essays are stuffy and antiquated, the truth is that the personal essay is an ever-changing creative medium that provides an Award winning essayist Scott Russell Sanders once compared the art of essay writing to "the pursuit of mental rabbits"--a rambling through thickets of thought in search of some brief glimmer of fuzzy truth. While some people persist in the belief that essays are stuffy and antiquated, the truth is that the personal essay is an ever-changing creative medium that provides an ideal vehicle for satisfying the human urge to document truths as we experience them and share them with others--to capture a bit of life on paper. Crafting the Personal Essay is designed to help you explore the flexibility and power of the personal essay in your own writing. This hands-on, creativity-expanding guide will help you infuse your nonfiction with honesty, personality, and energy. You'll discover: An exploration of the basics of essay writing Ways to step back and scrutinize your experiences in order to separate out what may be fresh, powerful, surprising or fascinating to a reader How to move past private "journaling" and write for an audience How to write eight different types of essays including memoir, travel, humor, and nature essays among others Instruction for revision and strategies for getting published Brimming with helpful examples, exercises, and sample essays, this indispensable guide will help your personal essays transcend the merely private to become powerfully universal.

30 review for Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    This is a beginner's guide to writing and publishing creative nonfiction. In fact, creative nonfiction as we understand it now: a broad plateau of autobiographical arms and experiential limbs, isn't covered in much detail. It would be better, in fact, if we removed the phrase "Creative Nonfiction" from the title, as Dinty hardly gets to the meat and bones of this ever-expanding genre. As a book for novice essayists, it's helpful. Like most of these books there are asinine and embarrassing This is a beginner's guide to writing and publishing creative nonfiction. In fact, creative nonfiction as we understand it now: a broad plateau of autobiographical arms and experiential limbs, isn't covered in much detail. It would be better, in fact, if we removed the phrase "Creative Nonfiction" from the title, as Dinty hardly gets to the meat and bones of this ever-expanding genre. As a book for novice essayists, it's helpful. Like most of these books there are asinine and embarrassing writing prompts, samey pedagogical lectures, and glaringly obvious things anyone with eyes could figure out. He does cover a range of styles and options, though, and uses a friendly tone to help us along. It's a practical and down-to-earth book. Sadly, he's also very patronising. When he quotes Montaigne or Twain, he keeps reminding us that they spoke funny in them days, and to keep going although you find it difficult, because these old guys really taught us something about essay-writing. Yeah, these cool guys were the first practitioners of the craft, and we should learn from them, even though they write funny and go on too long and quote for most of their essays. So here, read this nine-page essay from 1802. Dinty also inserts a few long essays of his own with one or two comments. But mostly they're page-filler and rather pointless. Likewise there's an unnecessary section on writing habits, repeating the same advice truncheoned into us by writers who specialise in feel-good stoical soundbytes: "persevere, revise everything, stick in there!"

  2. 5 out of 5

    El

    Dinty W. Moore begins his informational collection with the words The personal essay is perhaps the oldest form of nonfiction prose, and yet it remains one of the most commonly misunderstood (p1). The personal essay is misunderstood. I have tried to explain the genre to numerous friends and family since deciding to pursue a concentration in creative nonfiction through an MFA program. One person I work with has a hard time understanding the difference between creative nonfiction and historical Dinty W. Moore begins his informational collection with the words “The personal essay is perhaps the oldest form of nonfiction prose, and yet it remains one of the most commonly misunderstood” (p1). The personal essay is misunderstood. I have tried to explain the genre to numerous friends and family since deciding to pursue a concentration in creative nonfiction through an MFA program. One person I work with has a hard time understanding the difference between “creative nonfiction” and “historical fiction”, a talk we have had more than once which now borders on embarrassment for both of us if we have to address it again. Moore’s book focuses on two important aspects, as indicated in the subtitle: writing and publishing. The first part, Writing the Essay, is exceptionally helpful to someone like myself who is looking at the process of writing personal essays as something more than just a passing whimsy. He shares with us the pains and struggles he has experienced, while also providing advice for writers grappling with their craft. Throughout he pauses to suggest exercises his readers can attempt to help the creative juices. These exercises may seem common and obvious, but this makes one realize the point: Sometimes we get stuck in our head and forget what is common and obvious and, more precisely, what tools we have right in front of us. Each chapter in this section focuses on a different form of essay-writing—memoir essays, contemplative essays, lyric essays, travel writing, spiritual writing, and even food writing. He includes a list of suggested authors or essays for each section, provides ample exercises to allow us to participate in each essay if we so choose (which is especially helpful if one wants to experience an unfamiliar form), and occasionally includes his own writing to show how it can be done. My only issue here is the essay he wrote in response to Rebecca Solnit which was, I have to say, harder on Solnit than was necessary. In other words, I felt he could have written his essay without directly responding to her in what came across as a petty attack more than anything actually helpful. The second part focuses more on publishing, though this section felt less complete than the first part. While I am still in the beginning stages of the craft myself, the information about publishing is helpful but feels like something more beneficial to someone more skilled than myself, or something that I shouldn’t consider until I have more experience. Moore’s book was useful in showing me that it’s available to me as well, though because it was shorter than the first part, the information included did not make as much of an impression on me. Throughout the book, Moore included wisdom which I found myself writing down in my MFA journal, if for no other reason than to look back upon and reflect when I’m dealing with my own set of struggles. Some of his advice hits home because I recognize his words in myself, and I have not yet been able to unlock those parts and free what it is that I have inside.So remember, though personal, the essay is never meant to be private. Privacy is for your diary. Essays are for readers.(p9)Moore leaves me with better equipment with which to move forward with my own writing, though I know I still have a long ways to go before even I am fully satisfied. His collection is one I will purchase to keep on my shelf to refer to regularly—when I need the reminder that writer’s block does not actually exist, when I need a list of authors or essays to (re)familiarize myself with, or when I just need to connect with another writer who understands how lonely it can feel for creative nonfiction writers in a sea of writers of fiction and poetry.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tarn Wilson

    Excellent book for beginning writers, teachers of creative non-fiction, or experienced writers looking for prompts.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stobby

    Recommended for novice authors trying to find their voice. Good exercises and important points made for writers in danger of believing their life is more exciting than it really is.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michele Cacano

    Will update later. Briefly, I found this book to be thorough, specific, and full of useful information.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Ibrahim ♥

    Look at that! I have been writing essays all along and I didn't know it until my friend Scott Bridger mentioned to me that he enjoyed my Arabic essays on the marxist site and how he was share them with his friends in the Holy Land. I wondered, "How come my essays don't sound like those stiff, sterile essays we had to write in the seminary in order to sound scholarly?" Dinty Moore has the answer. An essay, as the French verb "essayer" would indicate, is an attempt, a try, and here it is a Look at that! I have been writing essays all along and I didn't know it until my friend Scott Bridger mentioned to me that he enjoyed my Arabic essays on the marxist site and how he was share them with his friends in the Holy Land. I wondered, "How come my essays don't sound like those stiff, sterile essays we had to write in the seminary in order to sound scholarly?" Dinty Moore has the answer. An essay, as the French verb "essayer" would indicate, is an attempt, a try, and here it is a personal try. It is my personal try. It is my passion poured out on paper because I have a message in my heart and I care enough, so deeply in fact, to put it in writing. Never, never should an essay sound dry, dreary, or tasteless in order to have the respect of the supposedly scholarly people. I don't sit down and say, "Oh let us write an essay!" No, it is that burning passion in my heart that moves me to write. I shall write on women, Christ, love, life, how much the other person is me regardless of who she or he is, etc. In this book, the author mentors his reader down the right path. He is honest about he himself at one point in his life second-guessed himself and felt inadequate. Then he issues straight, forthright orders to us, to speak to ourselves: I will give expression to my own voice in my writing. I am a writer. From now on, I will stop questioning my ability to be a writer. I put in paper and I express myself well, and indeed I am a writer. I will stop being hard on myself. I will be hard on my sentences, be hard on my paragraphs, be ceaseless and unrelenting in my revisions, but never be hard on myself as a writer. I will let go off that worry and focus on how good a writer I can become. Why foolishly block myself unnecessarily? I love the prose of this guy, Dinty Moore. He got me hooked. I plan to read all his books as I enjoy this charming, gracefully style of writing that flows with life and is full of personality.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Badgley

    I want to run away from my life for a year and do nothing but write after reading this book. With every chapter - "Writing the Lyric Essay," "Writing the Spiritual Essay," "Writing the Nature Essay," "Writing the Travel Essay" - I thought, "AHA! I want to write lyric essays/spiritual essays/nature essays/travel essays!" Moore offers clear guidance in a friendly, likeable voice; example essays with commentary on what works and how the author achieved success; motivating quotes from seasoned I want to run away from my life for a year and do nothing but write after reading this book. With every chapter - "Writing the Lyric Essay," "Writing the Spiritual Essay," "Writing the Nature Essay," "Writing the Travel Essay" - I thought, "AHA! I want to write lyric essays/spiritual essays/nature essays/travel essays!" Moore offers clear guidance in a friendly, likeable voice; example essays with commentary on what works and how the author achieved success; motivating quotes from seasoned writers; and enough ideas for essays that no-one who reads this book could ever claim writer's block again. I highlighted more than 40 prompts that resonated with me, and I began work on one of them today. In addition to covering different kinds of personal essays (the memoir essay, the gastronomical essay, the humorous essay), Moore also addresses blogging, writer's block, revision, rejection, and includes appendices with recommended readings and a resource list for essay writers (i.e. web sites, journals, and magazines that publish essays). I walk away from this book inspired and, most importantly, writing.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The way we learned how to write essays in school turned most of us off from having anything to do with essays. In fact, a lot of the ways subjects are taught in school turns us away from topics that are actually pretty interesting if presented in an interesting way. But that's a subject for an essay, which brings us back to this book. This is not you fifth-grade teacher's essay instruction. This is the kind of essay that gets published in magazines and anthologies. These are heartfelt, personal The way we learned how to write essays in school turned most of us off from having anything to do with essays. In fact, a lot of the ways subjects are taught in school turns us away from topics that are actually pretty interesting if presented in an interesting way. But that's a subject for an essay, which brings us back to this book. This is not you fifth-grade teacher's essay instruction. This is the kind of essay that gets published in magazines and anthologies. These are heartfelt, personal opinion, no footnotes essays. The kind we wish we were writing in fifth grade. A lot of fun and this book gives you the courage to forget elementary school and write what you feel...without having to add those pesky footnotes.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mark Abrams

    This e-book is chock-full of information, including helpful tips and links to websites which were tremendously helpful. If you write memoirs or essays of any kind, this book is well worth reading in depth. I am still visiting some of the websites offered and may read the entire little book again! I would heartily recommend this book to writers of essays and perhaps those who are thinking about writing this type of work and really don't know where to begin or when to stop. This easy to read book This e-book is chock-full of information, including helpful tips and links to websites which were tremendously helpful. If you write memoirs or essays of any kind, this book is well worth reading in depth. I am still visiting some of the websites offered and may read the entire little book again! I would heartily recommend this book to writers of essays and perhaps those who are thinking about writing this type of work and really don't know where to begin or when to stop. This easy to read book will put you on the right path.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    great book for anyone interested in writing the personal essay. It is full of the wisdom of experience and is extremely accessible. Would also be good as a text for a writing course focused on the personal essay since it has many prompts.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elly (imaginemorebooks)

    This was a book I had to read for uni and I tooootally forgot to add it here! I have been writing more personal essays recently and I actually think it was helpful. Mainly the prompts for essays really got me thinking and led me to writing essays I never would have thought to write otherwise!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    A "how to" book that is really more about all the possibilities.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael Brantley

    Down to earth, easy to follow, made some notes and got some good ideas.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erika Dreifus

    (Text from interview originally published in *The Practicing Writer*) I met Dinty W. Moore a number of years ago through the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, of which he is now president. His concern for writing pedagogy, and his particular expertise in nonfiction, impressed me at the start, and they continue to inspire me. When I learned about his newest book, *Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction*, I asked him instantly if he'd (Text from interview originally published in *The Practicing Writer*) I met Dinty W. Moore a number of years ago through the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, of which he is now president. His concern for writing pedagogy, and his particular expertise in nonfiction, impressed me at the start, and they continue to inspire me. When I learned about his newest book, *Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction*, I asked him instantly if he'd participate in an interview for the newsletter. Graciously, he agreed. Dinty W. Moore's memoir *Between Panic & Desire* was winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. His other books include *The Accidental Buddhist* and *The Emperor's Virtual Clothes*. He has published essays and stories in *The Southern Review*, *The Georgia Review*, *Harpers*, *The New York Times Sunday Magazine*, *The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine*, *Gettysburg Review*, *Utne Reader*, and *Crazyhorse*, among numerous other venues. Moore is a professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University. Please welcome Dinty W. Moore ERIKA DREIFUS (ED): Dinty, what inspired you to write *Crafting the Personal Essay*, and why at this time? DINTY W. MOORE (DWM): I've noticed that the world of literary or creative nonfiction has been dividing itself as of late into two distinct camps: memoir and narrative journalism. I love to read and write in both of these sub-genres, by the way, but I hate to think that the personal essay, perhaps the oldest and certainly one of the most flexible forms of literary nonfiction, is going to be forgotten. So perhaps this book will help to re-introduce the genre to a modern audience. I have to give a nod to Patrick Madden here as well, and all of the great work he has done to preserve the classic essay at his site Quotidiana. ED: Whom do you envision as the ideal reader(s) for this book? What do you hope readers will gain from it? DWM: The urge to share our best thoughts, to display our carefully-constructed ideas and discoveries to other souls, is fairly universal. That's why so many folks in all walks of life and situations decide at some point that they want to be writers. Too often, though, these beginning writers - and when I say beginning, I mean the 65-year-old as much as the 19-year-old - have a limited view of their options: poetry or fiction, a novel or a memoir? The field of possibilities is so much wider. Frankly, there is a pretty good market for the essay too: from women's magazines, to The New York Times, to literary magazines, to the Huffington Post. ED: In this book, you emphasize the importance of curiosity. You quote Phillip Lopate on where to start one's writing: "...what do we need to generate nonfiction?: I would say, curiosity. It sounds more tepid than obsession, but it's a lot more dependable in the long run. You follow out a strand of curiosity and pretty soon you've got an interesting digression, a whole chapter, a book proposal, a book." What are *you* curious about these days, Dinty? What might be generating some of *your* nonfiction? DWM: Well, it is a bit of a cliche, I'm afraid, but I've just reached a certain age (okay, fifty-five, if you must know) where I am meditating pretty regularly on the idea that my time on this planet is not endless. Not in a morbid way, but just as a discernable fact. I hope certainly to have another thirty or forty years to cause trouble in this world, but the truth is, I'm likely a good ways past my halfway point. So what do I do with that? How does that change perspective? I'm in the very early stages of a project that will – I hope – widen the lens on these concerns. What I know about this book project so far is that it will be a quirky, individual, memoirist/essayistic hybrid look at mortality, heaven, hell, myths of the afterlife, and Dante Alighieri. But that's what I imagine about the book here at the beginning. Every book I've written has been very different from my intention by the time I reach the end. ED: Part One of this book attends to a variety of personal essays: memoir, contemplative essays, lyric essays, spiritual essays, gastronomical essays, humorous essays, nature essays, and travel essays. Part Two helps writers reach readers and includes a section on publication. If your editor/publisher had given you an unlimited page count, what other topics, if any, might you have wanted to cover in the book? DWM: Writing a book is hard enough. You want me to make it longer? Perhaps I would add more about the importance of enjoying the process of writing, or writing because the activity *itself* is satisfying. I just came from a writer's conference where too much of the talk was about author platforms, big publishing deals, agents, and book jacket design. Those are interesting topics certainly, but quite distracting from what is important about writing in the end. ED: Many of this newsletter's readers will likely be familiar with a particular recent blog post of yours, written as editor of *Brevity*, a prominent online journal featuring "concise literary nonfiction." In this post (http://brevity.wordpress.com/2010/07/... ), you explained some recent circumstances that were inducing the journal to consider requiring a submission fee, and you sought feedback from commenters. The post drew nearly 300 comments and a great deal of attention elsewhere. Now that a few weeks have passed, please tell us what you think about first, the responses that the post generated, and, second, how likely it is that Brevity will indeed be instituting a fee. DWM: I was pleased by the level of discussion about our idea. Instead of focusing on the idea that *Brevity* is bad for considering this fee, or *Brevity* is right to consider this move, many of those who commented on the blog and elsewhere grasped immediately that this was a larger issue, related to major changes in the distribution model in publishing. Clay Shirky has written about this at length in his books *Cognitive Surplus* and *Here Comes Everybody.* Everything we thought that we knew about supply, demand, pricing, access, gatekeepers, and reading is changing, as fast as we can boot up our browsers. You don't have to like this idea, but it is happening. As far as what we will do – I'm still mulling it over, still asking smart people, and reading Shirky's new book to help me decide. ED: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us? DWM: We have a steady stream of information on nonfiction writing and publishing, and on some of the ongoing changes in online publishing, over at the Brevity blog: http://brevity.wordpress.com/. We are also looking for guest bloggers, so if you have something to say on the topics of literary publishing, literary magazines, nonfiction writing, or digital publishing, feel free to send us a message at [email protected] Check the blog first, though, to see our format. ED: Thanks so much, Dinty!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alexandria Morales

    Racist micro-aggressions like utilizing Scarlett O'Hara as the portrait of a compelling heroine when Gone With the Wind glorifies the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and can be interpreted as a white supremacist text. At a certain juncture, he expresses jealousy and dismay at the popularity of "ethnic memoirs", considering he is a white male, and names an author who recently published a memoir exploring her parents' experience in Japanese internment camps. Why would someone express envy at the Racist micro-aggressions like utilizing Scarlett O'Hara as the portrait of a compelling heroine when Gone With the Wind glorifies the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and can be interpreted as a white supremacist text. At a certain juncture, he expresses jealousy and dismay at the popularity of "ethnic memoirs", considering he is a white male, and names an author who recently published a memoir exploring her parents' experience in Japanese internment camps. Why would someone express envy at the legacy of oppression that people of color undergo under racial marginalization? Because it comes with the gold star of a well-received work at the end of immense intergenerational trauma? There's also an exercise soon after where he challenges the reader to reflect on how boring their life is. This is coded in such a way where it probably only applies to milquetoast white men such as himself; consider "boring" a synonym for "unacknowledged privilege in every domain". In his pointless, developing personal essay that he forces on the reader throughout the book, he likens himself to Christopher Columbus, because he doesn't see the horror of comparing himself to the advent of colonization of Native Peoples. He is also a lukewarm writer. This person is a caustically dull, racially insensitive ignoramus. Pick up any other book on writing essays. I plan to do so. Other than his obvious dimness to any causes outside his own vanity, the tips in the book are pedestrian, and he spends an overly abundant time sermonizing on believing in yourself and how to stop writer's block. Unless you have a serious self-esteem deficit, much of this is pointless, and can be summarized "just write". Also, the chapters on gastronomical and travel essays make out both forms to be self-indulgent tripe, and offer little guidance for how not to come across as a pompous blowhard emitting the equivalent of an overzealous Instagram feed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    MC Dotson

    I read this book while taking a Creative Nonfiction class for my MFA. As a novice in personal essay writing, I found this book a great read in order to learn the basics of this form. It covers many topics and categories within essay writing, depending on what you're interested in or would like to try that may be out of your comfort zone. Moore also includes examples of essays he and other authors have written, as well as practical exercises at the end of the chapters. Something interesting he I read this book while taking a Creative Nonfiction class for my MFA. As a novice in personal essay writing, I found this book a great read in order to learn the basics of this form. It covers many topics and categories within essay writing, depending on what you're interested in or would like to try that may be out of your comfort zone. Moore also includes examples of essays he and other authors have written, as well as practical exercises at the end of the chapters. Something interesting he also included was a working essay draft throughout the book so you could see by the book's end what the finished product looked like. The end of the book includes sections of recommended reading and other resources on essays, as well as some inspiration for revisions, trying to get your essays published, and perseverance. Moore uses a humorous, conversational style, which I found appealing and made the material easier to comprehend. Bottom Line: It is a great resource for beginners or those looking for a fresh approach at honing their craft. Already experienced essayists may still enjoy a refresher.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Margery Bayne

    Not having read a lot of writing books on personal essays like I have on fiction, I don't have a lot to compare this book on essay writing to and can't say where it stacks up, but I definitely got something out of it. Moore writes in an approachable way, he drops quit a few nuggets of wisdom and practical tips, even if there was a lot of skippable parts (I'm trying to make myself accept that I can skip part in writing books). On the other hand, I had really wished there were more information Not having read a lot of writing books on personal essays like I have on fiction, I don't have a lot to compare this book on essay writing to and can't say where it stacks up, but I definitely got something out of it. Moore writes in an approachable way, he drops quit a few nuggets of wisdom and practical tips, even if there was a lot of skippable parts (I'm trying to make myself accept that I can skip part in writing books). On the other hand, I had really wished there were more information about publishing, while on the other hand, despite being publishing in 2010, what he shared about blogging and publication was so dated, but like dated even before 2010... like SASE where already on their way out and he only briefly mentions electronic submissions... it was just a little eye-rolling in an assuming way.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sky Greene

    This book had helpful ideas, tips and suggestions for those that write, or want to write, various forms of nonfiction. It included poems, a variety of types of essays, memoirs, and even touched on blogging. I liked many of activites to get your creativity flowing. I also liked how it was set up so if there was a particular area you weren't interested in, you could skim through it or just skip it altogether and move on to the next chapter.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Stoddard

    I am delighted to find a great book on my favorite kind of writing! Dinty Moore covers a lot of territory in this survey of the topic, including examples from the earliest writers who pioneered the art of the essay, to the fast-paced World Wide Web blogosphere. He gives a series of prompts after lessons that are the perfect way to prime the pump for you to embark on the process of assaying your subject matter. I am delighted to find a great book on my favorite kind of writing! Dinty Moore covers a lot of territory in this survey of the topic, including examples from the earliest writers who pioneered the art of the essay, to the fast-paced World Wide Web blogosphere. He gives a series of prompts after lessons that are the perfect way to prime the pump for you to embark on the process of “assaying” your subject matter.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ramona Mead

    I've been writing personal essays/memoir for years and only now have decided to really hone my skills in the essay form. This book helped me get unstuck from a piece I'd been working on for months. The guidance is basic and straightforward, presented with examples and lots of writing prompts. I especially appreciated the breakdown of different types of essays. I made lots of notes in this book and will definitely return to it for essay ideas and help structuring.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    This is a book I will turn to again and again as I continue my writing. Reading it was like having a private writing teacher--he had lots of great tips and really understands the mind and pitfalls of the beginning/struggling writer. I will be going back to each chapter and try out the writing exercises he suggests. I'm glad I stumbled on this one on Amazon!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kendra Vaughan

    I absolutely loved this book and learned so much helpful information. I would highly recommend this book to new as well as more seasoned writers who want to better understand how to write creative nonfiction essays of all kinds. This book will stay on my desk as a reference that Ill return to over and over again. I absolutely loved this book and learned so much helpful information. I would highly recommend this book to new as well as more seasoned writers who want to better understand how to write creative nonfiction essays of all kinds. This book will stay on my desk as a reference that I’ll return to over and over again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Easy, relateable read for anyone wanting to learn more about writing personal essays. The book covers various types of essays such as the lyric essay, gastronomic essay, humorous essay and more, with lots of writing exercises to get you started. My favorite parts were the breakdowns of full essays with comments about the development.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Some good info and exercises in here....however, definitely scaled for the beginner, and written as for a very bright 8th grader--simple and nearly condescending. The tone of the writing, therefore, was a bit off-putting.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Daley

    This book is beyond fantastic. I am currently studying a professional writing degree and this book was/is truly helpful. Clearly written, easy to read and very, very informative. I read this book a year or two ago and to this day I have not forgotten Moore's wisdom. It is brilliant!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roland Martinez

    Good solid writing advice and good ideas. It motivated me to want to start writing again. Note that I'm not actually writing, just wanting to start. Great reading suggestions in the appendix as well.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Simon Stegall

    Just another textbook. Not particularly amazing, but not particularly bad, either.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    This is a great tool for practicing writing. Each chapter has a writing prompt at the end to help reinforce what concept he teaches.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maha

    Contains useful tips and exercises for writing and thinking about approaches to creative non-fiction. A quick and easy read, great for novices to the genre.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natty S

    As much as I hate to rely on adverbs, it is a particularly practical guide among writing books, especially for new writers. Maybe a little too practical for more established writers.

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