Crafting the Personal Essay

Advance copies of Dinty W. Moore’s Crafting the Personal Essay have arrived. I’m very excited about this book… it’s a very thoughtful and introspective exploration of the art of essay-writing. The author was such a pleasure to work with and his engaging personality really shows through in his instruction. I’d recommend this for anyone interested in writing creative nonfiction.

Check out an excerpt here

Order the book


About seescottwrite

I'm a writer and editor. I've worked for Writer's Digest, HOW and Popular Woodworking and have authored and co-authored several books including "The Monster Spotter's Guide to North America," "The Unofficial Hobbit Handbook," and "The Writer's Book of Matches."
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2 Responses to Crafting the Personal Essay

  1. Hannah says:

    I don’t write creative non-fiction but I know those who do. I will pass on the recommendation!

  2. Cathy Johnson says:

    I have been a writer, in some form or another, for most of my life—as a student, as everyone has to be, and then as a career. Some staff writing and public relations jobs I have taken through the years were mostly ways to make money or establish my name in the journalism field or make ends meet while trying to help boost the family income level. As a student in a master’s level writing program now, I find myself being challenged to become a serious writer. So, I read with real interest your blog entry and interview with Dinty Moore about his new book, Crafting the Personal Essay.
    I took a Creative Nonfiction class recently that focused on memoir writing and it was some of the most difficult writing I’ve ever tried—and also some of the most rewarding.
    By the end of the semester, I found what Dinty Moore said rang true: “It is the artist’s job to delve down into the subject in search of insight and enlightenment, and like the poem, like the short story, the personal essay invites just such exploration.” I found that to get a good story, a writer had to write every day, and looking at the drafts and revise the story and add to it.
    I learned that as beginning authors write about personal experiences, at first they are too close to the subject to discover the real meaning out of an experience. As the experience is written about many times and new memories are added and the text is shaped and reshaped, then finally the essence of the story emerges, or at least the essence that the writer really wanted in the first place.
    Of course, this takes real work and the “willingness to dig deeper and deeper into the subject” that Mr. Moore talks about. These efforts are necessary if someone wants to be a good writer of the personal essay or memoir.
    I’m glad more books are coming out on the market about how to write personal essays. I believe this type of writing will become more and more desirable and widely-read. We all like to hear about personal experiences and insights gleaned from both hardships and happy times. I know I’ve always enjoyed a true story as much as fiction; and sometimes more. And I feel as if I “know” an author after I’ve read his or her perspective on a subject.
    I believe the Internet will open up a whole new interest in and desire for the genre of the personal essay. The Internet not only opens up a vast new world for all of us to communicate with “strangers” on the other side of the globe, but also leaves us feeling one step removed from the people we learn about. People will yearn for the personal side of the story and the personal perspective on issues or experiences. I believe the personal essay will help meet that need in people’s lives.
    Thank you for sharing this interview and for sparking some of my own ideas about writing.

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