An anecdote is a short account of a personal experience, often humorous or touching. Writing a personal anecdote can be a fun exercise in writing that also helps you to record favorite family stories for posterity. And, if you can get them published by Reader's Digest, personal anecdotes can yield a small income. Here are six guidelines for writing a personal anecdote, as well as an example of my own:
1. Give the personal anecdote an interesting and appropriate title.
2. Limit the anecdote to one incident or episode.
3. Start with an introduction that sets the scene and produces a mood for the anecdote.
4. Put the events in chronological order.
5. Use language that paints a clear picture of the people, setting, and action. Make sure your verbs are strong by omitting auxiliaries.
6. Use first person pronouns.
Christmas Spirit: $1
Christmas 2009 was a busy season and felt like just another thing on my To-Do List. As a result I was very much lacking in the spirit of the season. With all the activities on my calendar I had little time to shop, other than an online purchase here and there. Sooner than I realized Christmas was only a few weeks away and it was too late to safely order presents on the internet to arrive on time. One day, though, an errand to pick up a box of chocolates for my employer resulted in a promise to my daughter to return to the mall to do some Christmas shopping. Within a few days I was reluctantly held to my word and we headed back to the mall. Our first stop was in a bustling Bath & Body Works where we picked out an assortment of lotions and hand soaps as gift items and then got in line to pay. In line in front of us was a young girl who stepped up to the register with three items in her hands. The cashier scanned each item and then told her the total. I watched the cashier closely with impatience for our turn, but was surprised to see the girl ask to have an item taken off the total. The cashier did so and then told her young customer the new amount owed. As she emptied out her coin purse and obviously still seemed to come up short I felt the spirit whisper to intervene. I pulled a dollar from my purse, stepped forward, and asked if I could help her. She took the dollar with a relieved smile, thanked me, and handed the money to the cashier to finish the purchase. By then it was our turn at another register and my daughter and I were soon on our way. But I knew from the feeling in my heart I had already found the best gift the season had to offer. And it only cost me dollar.
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