“The key to a good essay is conflict, and the story’s (and character’s) arc. People have to change during the story, whether fiction or non-fiction. — Victoria Zackheim, interviewed by Chris Jane in JaneFriedman.com.
Victoria Zackheim is the author of the novel The Bone Weaver and editor of six anthologies:
He Said What?
Women Write About Moments When Everything Changed
The Other Woman
Twenty-one Wives, Lovers, and Others Talk Openly About Sex, Deception, Love, and Betrayal
For Keeps: Women Tell the Truth About Their Bodies, Growing Older, and Acceptance
The Face in the Mirror
Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age
Exit Laughing: How Humor Takes the Sting Out of Death
and the upcoming FAITH: Essays from Believers, Agnostics, and Atheists (Feb. 2015).
Victoria’s play, The Other Woman, based on her first anthology, will be featured in OneNight/OnePlay, and her play Entangled, an adaptation of the memoir Entangled: A Chronicle of Late Love, is in development at Z Space in San Francisco.
Victoria’s first screenplay, MAIDSTONE, is now in development. She is story developer and writer of Where Birds Never Sang: The Story of Ravensbruck and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps, aired nationwide by PBS.
Victoria teaches Personal Essay in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Victoria was a 2010 San Francisco Library Laureate.
Note from Marlene: I have taken classes by Victoria. She is an amazing teacher, well worth the price (and it wasn’t that expensive!).
Want to challenge yourself? Take one of your characters (fiction or non-fiction) and do what Victoria suggests . . . give him or her a conflict. Spend thirteen minutes on a freewrite. See what happens. Need a boost? Take a look at Prompts 132 and 133 for ideas on character development.