As an official judge for the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, Joel Schwartzberg has seen his share of cringe-worthy essays. And, in his latest piece for mediabistro.com AvantGuild members, he says there were a few glaring errors that kept them from being potentially powerful stories.
“People tend to write personal essays in which they’re either the hero or the villain, but most of us are squarely in the middle, which creates an opportunity for a narrative as unexpected as real life,” said Salon.com personal essays editor Sarah Hepola. “I love it when a writer says, ‘I thought you were the one to blame, but actually, now that I think about it, maybe I am.’”
Get more tips from Hepola and other writing pros in The 7 Biggest Mistakes Personal Essay Writers Make.