Profile essays


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Profile essays

  1. 1. Profile Essays Creative Nonfiction
  2. 2. About the Profile… <ul><li>The purpose of the profile essay is to present the subject vividly to your readers. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It should convey a particular attitude towards your subject- your interpretation of it. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The profile essay is very much part expressive, part objective. It’s objective in that you want to inform your readers about your subject. At the same time you are also conveying a kind of personal interpretation, a personal perspective; so in that sense, it’s expressive. </li></ul><ul><li>This kind of writing helps you practice the field research used across many disciplines: observing, interviewing, and note taking. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Biographical? <ul><li>The profile essay shares many features with the autobiographical and biographical writing- you can use narrative, anecdote, description, dialogue. </li></ul><ul><li>It also differs significantly: autobiography is about remembered experience whereas profile is (usually) about newly acquired observations- acquired firsthand or through research. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Basic Features… <ul><li>An intriguing, well-focused subject: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A person place or activity.. The familiar or the strange. Whatever your subject, your goal is to bring out the uniqueness. You want to show the reader what’s amazing or fascinating about it to you… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A vivid presentation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t generalize, be particular. Instead of writing about “teenagers” in general, a profiler will show his audience a vivid portrait of one in particular. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. More Most Haves… <ul><li>A dominant Impression: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Convey your personal interpretation of your subject, your own special insights. This interpretive element is what separates the profile as a “genre” from other forms of descriptive and narrative writing. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An engaging and informative plan: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>You are master of ceremonies; you control the flow of information. How much should you tell and in what order? What do you want your readers to fully understand? </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay: <ul><li>Brainstorming </li></ul>
  7. 7. Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay: <ul><li>Clarifying Your Direction </li></ul><ul><li>Try answering these five questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why are you interested in this subject? What led you to choose it? What kind of attitude do you have towards it? What’s your feeling about it? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broadly, what do you feel confident that you already know about this subject? How did you come by knowledge? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What do other people think of the subject you’re writing about? Is your view different than theirs? Do you have a unique perspective? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have you observed your subject directly? Will you rely on memory or on informal kinds of research? Do you think it would be a good idea to include interview material? What information would you like readers to have about your subject? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s your “purpose” for writing this profile? What should readers come away with? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay: <ul><li>What to describe? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What are 3-5 things will you want to describe vividly in your profile? </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay: <ul><li>Deciding on the Dominant Impression </li></ul><ul><li>Your profile should be informative, but it shouldn’t be completely neutral. Readers will learn about your subject, but they will also learn what your impressions of your subject has been. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The profile should ultimately convey “a point of view- a way of seeing and understanding the significance of the person being profiled.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is the most interesting, unusual, or important thing you have discovered about your subject? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What re your own feelings about your subject? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can you think of two or more dominant impressions you could create to give readers a way of understanding your subject? </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Why do writers use the “profile”? <ul><li>Magazines and newspapers are usually filled with profiles that tell us about interesting people, places, activities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re called “human interest” stories. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They are interesting because they take you behind the scenes of familiar places. The writer usually conveys an interesting interpretation or perspective that gives the reader sometime to respond to. </li></ul><ul><li>The writer may attempt to probe the social, political, moral significance of our institutions by closely profiling them. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Profile Essay Examples <ul><li>These are links directly to profile essays that were done by students. In the left-hand column their teacher has commented on what they have done well. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Profile Essay Example #1: Musical Mentor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profile Essay Example #2: When Tragedy Strikes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profile Essay Example #3: The Vet Wannabe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profile Essay Example #4: An Everyday Superman </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>