I just completed another cohort of Write of Passage as an Editor. I love giving feedback to students, helping them get their ideas out. I noticed that the vast majority of essays are inherently transformation essays. They are about how a lesson changed your life. A transformation essay can be the most meaningful essays to write because the reader relates to the story and empathizes with the writer.
I’d be down to do some sort of workshop on this stuff. I’ve gotten a lot better writing this kind of stuff.
Also congrats on 100! Feels like I was trying to convince you to just ship in the part yesterday. Really enjoy your writing!
Such a great reflection here, Chris. Thank you for another great cohort of your editing support and grateful to connect in peer groups!
Thank you for featuring my writing. I’m honored you resonated with it. When I was writing it, once the ideas were solid, I set out to follow a classic “rags to riches” story arc. It’s just like you described, a tale of transformation.
I’ve recently been reading The Seven Basic Plots. All except tragedy look at transformation from their own viewpoint. I think more essayists could appreciate what plot gets after (and what you wrote here) when they write. It’s universally appealing.
Wow. The before -> catalyst -> lesson -> after framework is very helpful for organizing the ideas in an essay. Simple, effective. Thank you Chris.
Thanks so much for featuring my pieces, Chris and all the feedback and encouragement you’ve given me! As your unofficial curator 😂, I’d be remiss not to mention your recent essay on Hero’s Journey if readers want to learn more about transformation essays or Chris’ own Hero’s Journey https://chr.iswong.com/essays/where-are-you-in-your-heros-journey/
This essay reminded me of One of the things I learned from another storytelling course that’s stayed with me:
1. Talk about the full arc like you said
2. Also, don’t tell a story within a story. Tell just the one. It’s hard to do but that helps you get the whole arc into 800 words
What you said about transformation pieces resonated with me. Some of the best feedback I ever get (often from Rachael) is highlighting that I am writing a transformation essay and that I need to pull that aspect out more. Usually by being more vulnerable and doing some self reflection. I really enjoyed Chaos curation piece of your work!
Love this, Chris! I never realized just how many transformation essays occur in Write of Passage, what a great observation. I think the nature of the course and the supportive environment leads many of us to reflect on and explore our inner selves and our lives, and thankfully we have wonderful editors like you who help us make sense of them! I hope to return and give back the same way!
Thank you for mentioning my essay - I’m glad it spoke to you and I’m touched that it stuck with you! Gonna keep trying to do that little girl proud 😊
Loved this newsletter! Thank you for all your feedback and conversation this cohort. Can't wait to keep jamming with you! And I'm beyond honored that you enjoyed my essay 🙏🏽
I really like how you broke it down into the 4 stages and how a potentially good essay becomes a bad one when only talking about specific stages.
Thanks for writing this Chris.
I've struggled with understanding how to write personal stories in the past, and this essay explains the 4 necessary components for a compelling story. This is something I'll be referencing back