#103 – On this episode, we conclude our 7-part series on the personal essay. Today, Jankel and I begin by introducing the importance of seeking feedback on your 4th draft.
We talk about the people in your life who would be great participants in this feedback-seeking exercise.
We go over 7 questions to ask those individuals and present ways to gather even more information from them.
The resulting 5th draft will undergo an additional adjustment, and the results will be the 6th draft.
The only step left to take after that is to have the essay be read by another person, another set of eyes, to ensure that it is mechanically perfect.
The resulting 7th draft would be the final essay. Time to celebrate!
Questions to ask people you will ask to give you feedback, as presented on this episode:
After they read your essay, ask the people who read it, the following questions:
- What do you think of my attention-grabbing story in the first paragraph?
- Did it actually grab your attention?
- Did you feel as though you were there?
- If you did not know me. Who would you say, is the person who wrote this essay?
- What kind of person is he/she?
- How do you picture this person being?
- Here is a trick to get a person to tell you more than they are telling you, ask “Why?”, or “How So?”, or say “Tell Me More About That”. And then immediately stop talking, and let them speak
- Check for the answers and see if that is what you were trying to communicate
- Take notes. After you get feedback from several people you may forget some of these great points
- What do you think is the overall message I am trying to communicate on this essay? – And, after reading the essay, could you tell why what I wrote about is truly important to me?
- What were the better parts of the essay? Why?
- Where there any parts that you feel were not so good? Why? Where they dull? What do you think would make them better?
- Were there any parts of the essay where you feel I should explain myself more? Are there any areas where you feel I should provide more examples, more specific details?
- Do you get the feeling this essay was generic? Or, was it truly mine? So much, that no one else could have written this story?
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