Essay Writing: The Turn

Continuing with essay writing, let’s talk a bit more about the Turn, or the place in your essay where the writer shares universals and gives the reader something to take away.
Writing Tip for Today: Here are some things to think about as you write the Turn of an essay:

  • The Turn almost always occurs near the end of the piece.
  • The Turn should reflect the central “what this essay’s about” theme.
  • It can contain universal “what I learned from this experience,” but be careful: Honesty, depth of emotion and transparency are vital. Readers don’t like to be lectured or “educated.”And they won’t put up with self-righteousness or a holier-than-thou attitude.
  • Many times, the Turn is only evident to the writer after several drafts.
  • Be sure to keep the same tone as the rest of the text. If you’ve started out humorous, don’t suddenly become deadly serious, or vice verse.
  • Keep the Turn as brief as possible–more than one paragraph and you risk losing your reader.
  • After the Turn, a good technique is to return to the last scene of the experience, or allow this ending to return to the place or scene in which you began–known as the wrap-around ending. Readers feel satisfied when they come full circle.
  • Leave the interpreting to the reader. Resist the urge to explain what it all means. Readers are smart and would rather come to their own conclusions or make their own connections and discoveries.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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