"Three Reasons Why Flash is the Genre for You"

My spotlight article was published today at Women on Writing. Enjoy!

“Three Reasons Why Flash is the Genre for You”

By: Melanie Faith


Don’t let the small size of flash fiction and nonfiction fool you—there’s a ton to recommend this little-genre-that-could.


·        Got sci-fi? Got a personal essay? Got romance? Got magical realism? Great! Flash is diverse in subject matter. Just like its longer contemporaries, flash is a hot genre sought by many markets. I’ve seen seeking-submission ads just this week for flash fiction in anthologies, magazines, and for conferences. One market sought speculative fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and slipstream subgenres. Another market asked for flash memoirs, romance, horror, adventure, and cowboy tales. Still another market seeks environmental and travel narratives in flash. I’ve seen (and submitted my own flashes to) markets for humorous flash as well.


Both fiction and nonfiction flashes are prized by editors, so whether you like to write about yourself or to create characters, there’s room in flash for either. Or why not try writing flash in both genres? In my craft book, In a Flash! Writing & Publishing Dynamic Flash Prose , I offer oodles of practical tips and prompts for exploring and marketing flash in fiction and nonfiction.


Clearly, just about any topic you could spend a novel, novella, (auto)biography, or short story writing about can translate well as a subject for flash, too.


·        Another advantage of flash is that most markets want multiple flashes at once. This is great news, because if they want three or five stories at a time, then you have three or five chances to wow them. Include what you think is your strongest flash first in the submission packet. Not sure which is your strongest piece? Ask a friend which piece stands out to them.


·        Worried about not having enough plot development within such a small space? No worries. Many of us writers are already used to writing texts and Tweets. Trying our hands at flash in its many styles should be a snap.

Flash is economical but also has wiggle room to fit any plot. While the top word-count for flash is often set at either under 1,000 words or 750 words, that’s not the only length markets seek for flashes they publish.


Ever head of the “drabble?” That’s a flash of exactly 100 words. There’s an excellent book by Michael A. Kechula, called Micro Fiction: Writing 100 Word Stories (Drabbles) for Magazines and Contests , that details more about how to write and submit these 100-word gems.


There are also fifty-word stories, two-sentence stories, and even six-word stories (you read that right). I’ve seen contests and literary magazines, like Narrative Magazine , that seek six-word stories and often pay for them.


Whatever subject, style, or word-count works for you, there’s sure to be a market eagerly awaiting your flash submission!


Want to learn more?

  • Check out my upcoming online workshop that begins on Friday, March 15th. Here’s the scoop and the skinny:

In a Flash class

  • Signed copies of my book for writers that is chockfull of great tips and examples for nonfiction and fiction flash writers, In a Flash: Writing & Publishing Dynamic Flash Prose, available at WritePathProductions.

  • A sale book bundle, of both my flash- and poetry-writing books, is also available for book lovers at Etsy.


Article Published Today at createwritenow :)

Thrilled to announce that my article, “3 Tips for a New-Year, New-You Journal at Any Time of Year,” was featured today at the createwritenow blog. Check it out for some writing inspiration.

While you’re there, please peruse Mari McCarthy’s motivating Journaling Power book (I’ve read it and found it super helpful on my own writing journey) along with her inspiring courses and authentic mentoring, guaranteed to kick-start your 2019 to new levels of awesomeness.

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"3 Tips for Developing Theme within Poetry"

My craft article was published at Women on Writing today. Enjoy! :)

“3 Tips for Developing Theme within Poetry”

By: Melanie Faith

I started as a fiction writer before discovering the wonders of poetry at the grand age of 17. (Thank you, Mr. B!)


One quality shared by resonant poems I read in literary journals, anthologies, and from my students' pens is a strong theme.


How can we explore theme to deepen our own poetry?


1. Imagery is where it's at. As poets, we are all about compression. Can we say it in fewer words? Can those few chosen words be rich in the five senses? Can the chosen diction include a symbol for a bigger idea? All of these questions help lead us to imagery that razzle-dazzles our readers.


If I wanted to write a love poem about tentative love, it's unlikely my readers will be as stirred by my flat-out stating, "We were on-again, off-again," as they would with a simple mention of a flickering candle on the windowsill.


Imagery is economical and meaningful. It also creates vivid pictures in your readers’ minds that they’ll remember long after reading your work and, in many cases, invite them back for further reads.


2. Characterization and setting can get the job done. I hear a boatload of discussion in fiction and nonfiction classes about creating realistic characters, and for good reason. This same technique can be applied to poetry to create fantastic engagement from readers and underscore your theme without the dreaded (drumroll, please) telling instead of showing [shiver].


Writers can create poems from numerous characters’ POVs to underscore theme. Persona poems develop a narrative and can be read as individual works of art, such as Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess,” or paired together to develop a longer narrative, conflict, and/or setting. Great examples include Edgar Lee Masters’ 1915 classic Spoon River Anthology, Traci Brimhall’s Saudade (2017 Copper Canyon Press), and poems in my most-recent collection, This Passing Fever (2017 FutureCycle Press).   


Paired poems may move back and forth through time and setting (as they do in Brimhall’s work and my work) or remain in one town or place (as in Masters’ collection). 


3. Subtlety is your friend.


Sometimes, once we have chosen a theme for our poem, we excitedly write lines that spell out our meaning with all the charm of a doornail. For instance, using the word “grieving” and “died” in a poem whose theme explores death, or stating “flowers always make me happy” in a poem about the therapeutic powers of gardening.


Many poems I see that run off the rails do so when poets begin to explain (or over-explain) rather than trusting readers to intuit the theme on their own.


How can we provide clues for our readers so that they will be sure to deduce the theme?


Glad you asked: figurative language aplenty. Figurative language is understated yet satisfying. Similes and metaphors are often great indicators of theme. As are usage of symbols and imagery. Incorporating sound effects, such as words with hard d sounds for dramatic or tense themes or words with soft m or n sounds for quieter or peaceable themes, can other excellent thematic indicators.



Try this prompt: Choose a poem where you have stated part or all of the theme directly in your poem. Make a list of three images, symbols, characters, or settings that could highlight your theme instead. Pick one detail from your list and, after omitting your theme-stating line, add in details related to your chosen image, symbol, characters, or settings. Compare drafts.

Looking for inspiration to jump-start your Muse in early 2019? Have I got a class for you! Vigorous and Vibrant Verse: an Online Poetry Workshop.


Photo courtesy of Eric Tompkins, https://unsplash.com/photos/B22JxzOkjYs

Photo courtesy of Eric Tompkins, https://unsplash.com/photos/B22JxzOkjYs

"How Sweet it is: Writing Resonant Flash Prose"

My craft article was published as a spotlight today at Women on Writing. If you’re interested in writing more flash, check out my online class that starts on November 2nd. :) In a Flash

“How Sweet it Is: Writing Resonant Flash Prose”

By: Melanie Faith


            When I was a kid, my dad used to stop on the way home from work each night to get the newspaper for my mom and a candy treat for me and my sister. One of our favorite treats was wrapped in a long, thin piece of see-through cellophane. Inside, was a string of thick white floss that had elasticity, and strung along this floss were shiny, bright candies. These circular gems, in popping pastel shades of yellow, pink, orange, and blue, were vaguely-sweetened like fruit and floral flavors (the yellow was slightly tart yet banana-ish and the blue, I recall, tasted like a cross between raspberry and the way a rose smelled).

Each candy bead had the kind of brittle crunch that a child relishes—chomp-chomp!—but which would make my adult teeth weep. The hues of the candies melted with each chomp until the string was bare and vaguely pinkish-whitish-yellowish-blue-orange by the time the last candy was presto-change-oed. After just a few moments, the candy dye bled onto fingertips, tongue, and face, revealing opaque-white candies’ underbellies.  

            A vivid sense memory I repeat is the internal debate—holding the cellophane-wrapped treat, after a hug from my dad: should I rip into the cellophane immediately and wear the candy-pretty necklace (sometimes I doubled it around my wrist like a fancy lady’s bracelet)? Yet, there was the candy, so tantalizing, that who could resist just a tiny bite? On the other hand, once bitten into, the string was sticky and not really conducive to wearing—destroyed, in a sense, for displaying.

It was a catch-22, albeit one of the best kinds, and the tension between knowing when to hold onto something and when to begin was the kind of life lesson that doesn’t have a perfect answer and yet which gets repeated, unbeknownst to the child’s mind, again and again in life. Timing— whether strung on a string or not, whether involving choosing a major or a love interest or a house or a car or another job or having a child— is an infinite loop of weighing pros and cons and, eventually, just diving in. A lesson, as a Type A elder daughter, I struggled with endless times, weighing the sour against the sweet, second-guessing myself:  Was it too soon? But could there be a too late? Even after the satisfying crunch, the soggy, lone string.


            In the above flash nonfiction, I began with a simple note I’d jotted this morning in my writer’s notebook while still half-asleep and making my to-do list for the day. Idea: candy necklaces we ate as kids.  Hours of student correspondence, errands, lunch, and dishes passed before I sat down again, opened my notebook on my desk and commenced to write the above passages.

            Clocking in at just under 400 words, my creative process and this piece highlight some of the best facets of the flash genre. Let’s examine them:

·         Flash begins with—well, a flash! Ever used a writing prompt? Sure, most of us have encountered them in writing classes, writing groups, and in books. The genius of a prompt is that it revolves around one idea. Good flash starts with a kernel of a topic which the reader then writes into in discovery. In the case of my candy-necklace flash, my random memory (which popped into my head after seeing a necklace online of white beads) became the prompt I explored.

·         Flashes are focused. Notice above how I say “one idea?” In flash, there’s not room for asides or diversions. Any details about the rest of my childhood—the scented dolls I adored, the children’s jokes I loved to tell and invariably flubbed the punch lines of, have no place in this piece—they need to be moved to their own flashes. One is plenty in developing flash.

·         Flashes are about what they are about, and they are also about something bigger than their subject, too. In other words: readers learn about you and your characters but they also learn something resonant about humanity. Sure, this is a flash centered on a personal memory, but it also has a theme that readers can connect with their own experiences: timing. How do we know when it is the right, or the wrong, time to do anything? The reader should walk away asking and connect to circumstances in their own past or present.  Consider universal themes.

·         It’s all about the imagery, baby! Without hitting readers over the head by spelling out theme, how can we explore themes and other literary language? One of the easiest ways is to develop imagery. Just like in poetry, another condensed form, flash nonfiction and flash fiction often employ plenty of sensory images to get the job done (as does this flash with taste, smell, auditory/sound, and visual imagery).

·         Flashes include tension. Without the final paragraph of my flash, there wouldn’t be a lot of resonance or conflict in my piece. Most of the other paragraphs are a nice memory involving candy—perhaps interesting for my nieces to read or some other Gen Xer or Baby Boomer who remembers this type of candy, but not the stuff of literature per say. The final two paragraphs introduce the pressure of both leaning on one’s own internal judgment and the suggestion (without spelling it out) of external conflict/judgment over choosing something too soon or being too late to spoil the fun.


Try this exercise: Set a timer and write for fifteen minutes without stopping about a food associated with your own childhood. Incorporate at least three of the five elements of successful flash either as you write or when you return to edit your piece after writing.


It's All about the Tropes, My Friends! My Craft Article Published

My craft article about creating artistic imagery using tropes appeared at Women on Writing today.  

camera on rock jose alonso.jpg

Image by: Jose Alonso



"Tropey-Dokey: Enhancing Imagery with Tropes" 

By: Melanie Faith


          12:30 in the afternoon was a sacrosanct time for my grandma and my mom. It was the starting time for their favorite soap. As in their “stories.” Month after month, year after year, from two houses a half-town apart both of which used rabbit-ear antennas so popular in the ’70s and ’80s, they tuned in five days a week. Eagerly, they followed the unfurling complications of characters both glam-tastic and down-on-their-luck in a fabled city that had the same name as a European city (which didn’t hurt the appeal).

Okay, so sometimes the plot lines were admittedly fantastical—amnesia and never-before-mentioned twin siblings, anyone? Still, the protagonists (and often the rascally antagonists, too) were likeable in their emotional conflicts and botched intentions.

          Soap operas— like most novels, visual storytelling such as photos and movies, and plays— are based on comforting tropes, you know: those recurring motifs and literary devices that we can often foresee but still wait around to watch how it all shakes down anyway.

Unlike learning calculus or molecular biology, we don’t have to strain to notice bits and pieces of what it’s like to struggle and to celebrate human foibles and small triumphs within the characters whose lives unfurl scene by scene, even if our own lives don’t involve heirs/heiresses, ballrooms, or jet-setting.

Lest you think soap operas are solely low-brow and cheesy escapism, think again: tropes can be traced as far back as the ancient world. In Classical Greece the term meant “turn,” and is still used in modern Deconstruction Theory. Aristotle, in Poetics, discusses common tropes in tragedies and epics.

The important part about tropes is that viewers, readers, and artists all relish patterns. Also, these recognizable patterns can lead to some wonderful extended narratives. I’ve seen many photo series based on developed tropes from fairy tales and other imaginative and recognizable patterns.

In short: tropes, my friends, are our friends.

It’s not rocket science, but that’s not usually what we need from the art we enjoy or the art we create-- art is the balance of tension between the familiar and the human need for escape from drudgery. Resonant art has elements of the recognizable as well as elements of transcendence.  Too much of one over the other leaves us cold, with no connection to the material. Too little of both, and it likely won’t catch much less hold our attention in the barrage of sights, sounds, and events flooding our days.

Tropes might seem a shortcut, but they provide a meaningful jumping off point for riffs on numerous human experiences.


Timeless recurring tropes explored in the visual and written arts include:

·        Misunderstood or conflicted protagonists, commonly in youth but occurring in other life stages, too

·        Changes of personal or group identity, mistaken identity

·        Changes of locale/geography, escape

·        Love gained, love in trouble, love lost, love regretted

·        Death and the dying process

·        The un-suppressible secret

·        The unexpected accident and its aftermath

·        Retribution/Payback (whether delivered person-to-person or on its own)

·        Changing seasons—both geographic and internal/metaphorical

·        Rescue—of others, of self

·        Reunions of individuals (former friends, former enemies) or groups


Try this Prompt! Pick three of the above tropes. Jot ideas for ten minutes, without stopping to censor yourself, for how you might express these common tropes using your own unique talents and photo-taking skills.


Also consider locations or backdrops and possible props or subjects you might incorporate into each of the three tropes.


Compare and contrast the notes you take on your chosen three tropes. Cross out the most-cliché or obvious description of the three, and pick one of the other two tropes to make into a photo session or a photo series. Go!



My "Photography for Writers" online class starts on September 21st. I'd love to get to work with more creative, inspired folks.

No previous training with a camera necessary (you can use a camera phone or any other types of cameras you might enjoy).

Guaranteed to inspire your Muse and enliven your written imagery as well.

More details about the four-week course: "Photography for Writers." 



Craft Article: "Image Power: Click-Click to Enhance Your Writing"

My craft article was published at Women on Writing today. 

"Image Power: Click-Click to Enhance Your Writing"

By Melanie Faith


"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." ~ Dorothea Lange


What one art form has most enhanced my writing? 


Photography. Hands down.


What makes photography such a great sibling to our poems and prose? What can we learn through photography that will inform our writing for the better?


  • Both are imagery-based arts. Many of the same instincts and thought processes I use when writing also come into play when I make photographs. Paying attention to specific details is a key part of making written and visual art.

  • Both photography and writing involve knowing not only what to include but what to exclude for the strength of the piece.
  • Photography often follows similar themes as our writing. Perhaps you are drawn to family dynamics in your writing? Photos of children, babies, parents, grandparents, and more may shed light on a new aspect for you to consider in your writing. Or perhaps you enjoy writing about nature--from flowers to animals. Studying and taking photos outdoors can underscore elements to explore with detail in your writing.

  • Both arts explore symbolism. Metaphors are often involved as well. Are there certain shapes or colors that recur in your photos? They likely recur in your writing as well. Are you interested in tumbling sheds or impressive arches and flying buttress beams in architecture? Then I bet you've written about structures--from apartments, trailers, and houses to dormitories and other buildings you've experienced--and what they symbolize personally and culturally from time to time, too.

  • Both arts are great fun. Let's not overlook the joy of creating both media. There's never been an easier time to write, with computer software and online workshops, or to take photographs. Most cell phones have amazing cameras in them and digital photography has brought photo sharing to a wide audience. Not only are there amazing tools to unleash your creativity and to explore your questions about life, spirit, and love, but also the process of creating can be relaxing, fulfilling, exciting, and meaningful. You don't need to spend a ton of money on the latest lenses or equipment to make gorgeous, meaningful pictures or to write publishable verse and prose. Basic tools and a little time can yield amazing results.

  • Both arts encourage variety and a slowing-down to focus. Exploring new ways to develop my still-life photos has also encouraged me to try new formats in my poems, essays, and fiction. At the same time, photography has taught me much about slowing down and being in the moment, something that's equally important in photography and writing...and daily life.


Try this Prompt! 

List two subjects you photograph and/or write about repeatedly. Describe this object, person, or place in 150 words. Then list two reasons why you repeatedly revisit this subject. What about this subject might you see from a new angle or describe with new words? What do you think these subjects symbolize in your current life or the life you'd like to lead in the future? What qualities do they represent about you as an individual artist? Break out your camera and take a photo of this subject in a way or from an angle you've never thought about before now.



Interested in a class that combines photography and writing? Click the link below.


Imagery Power: Photography for Writers



Instructor: Melanie Faith


Workshop Length: 4 Weeks


Class Dates: Friday, March 9, 2018 - Friday, April 6, 2018


Cost: $155, which includes e-mail critique and positive feedback on student writing, and access to a private group for student interactions.


Limit: 10 Students


Description: "Fiction, like dreams, exists in images... Fiction must exist in images, not abstractions," wrote John Dufresne. Indeed, the ability to develop imagery is important in all forms of writing, from poetry to essays and all sorts of descriptive writing. The art of photography, an evocative visual art, frequently helps authors hone our image-seeking and development skills. There won't be technical jargon of F-stops or aperture priority in this course and you are free to use any form of camera you already own and love--from camera phone to digital, DSLR to Lomo, instamatic, you name it; this class is about cracking open the everyday extraordinary, about the kind of seeing and focusing on detail that will enhance your writing and spark ideas for months to come.


In this four-week workshop, we'll take a daily photo-taking prompt for a spin, post our response, and describe what inspired each photo at our class group. During the second week, you will begin a piece based on one of the photos you've taken that you will share (in part as an excerpt or in full, up to you) with the class during our fourth week. Handouts on topics covered will include: Truthiness: Adding Layers to Your Art with Art; The Genesis and Development of Imagery: Example Sheet of Published Work; Submitting Your Work to Literary Magazines & Other Venues Looking for Photos: Cover Letter Tips; Photographic Resources to Check Out!; Tips for Writing about [Our] Art; How to Match Your Photographic Style to your Writing Style; Ekphrasis and You: Writing in Tandem with the Visual Arts; and Tips for Writing Fabulous Writer/Artist Bios. 


There will be a private group for students to discuss our creative process and share daily responses to each prompt and for sharing of literary resources, such as markets and quotations about the image-making process.


"Shopping for Images: 3 Tips for Finding Poetry Topics"

Here's a craft article of mine that was just published today. Enjoy! 


"Shopping for Images:

3 Tips for Finding Poetry Topics"

By Melanie Faith


Ever have a day where you woke wanting to write, but the ideas were murky or not arising at all? Or maybe you've just finished writing a poem that felt like magic a few days ago, and now any idea feels filled with false starts? What about an afternoon where you finally sit down to write and, thinking of your day, nothing jumps out at you as worthy of verse? Or, after the to-do list is tackled and the wobbly mountains of laundry washed, you open your writer's notebook and stare at a blank page, too tired to focus?


You are not alone. These are common quandaries most writers have at one point or another. Good news! Try one or more of these ideas that have worked for me and my poetry students to release that stuck feeling and get our pens moving once more.


1. Not-so-common Commonality. Certain places and experiences are so ingrained into daily life that whole populations of people share them. Yet we sometimes overlook them as topics for verse. One of the great facets of writing about shared events is that readers will experience their own aha! moments from what you write. You also have the wonderful opportunity to tighten focus on one part of the communal experience that resonates with you and which will make your poem distinctive. 


In Alan Ginsberg's prose poem "A Supermarket in California," he takes a mundane trip for groceries and turns it into an event for celebration: "What peaches and penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!--and you, Garcia Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?" Many people have written about food, but none in quite the same playful, exultant way as Ginsberg. Don't think it's all been done before; whatever the topic, no one has written a poem about this topic with the exact diction choices, tone, and images you will. Go ahead, write your own supermarket, food, cooking, gardening, or eating poem! You'll bring something unique to the table [pun intended].


2. The Running List. Sometimes, there's a lot of pressure when we sit down to write to pick a topic out off the top of our heads like a rabbit out of a magician's hat. Lower the pressure with a little list. Try keeping your writing notebook with you as you go about your day or start an email list of topics in your phone (I sometimes quickly email myself ideas before I forget them). We often see interesting ideas all day long but infrequently have time to stop in the moment to write a whole poem, but it only takes a minute or less to jot a note about the image or idea. Begin a running list of topics for the future, and add to it as you go. Then, when you sit down to write, either pick one at random from your list or work chronologically, so you'll always know what your next topic will be. Like a game, it becomes more fun the more topics you've listed, and you'll train your mind to notice imagery that could spark poems more often everywhere you go. 


3. Get out of Your Own Skin, or: The Conversation. Sometimes we forget that poetry can include dialogue and/or use a conversation as a sparking point. We also sometimes forget that poems don't have to be centered on our own experiences. Go ahead, have a conversation today with a longtime friend, the clerk at the post office, someone in the waiting room, your frenemy, your children or grandchildren, your coworkers, whomever. Something someone else is struggling with or happy about or angry about might just spark your next poem. Of course, you don't have to stay with the circumstances as they are in real life. Re-imagine your conversation partner's circumstances or trials through the eyes of a made-up character. How would another person deal with these events? What would their actions be? What would their thoughts be? Feel free to make up what that person might say in certain circumstances. The point is to get another person's POV on life and to write from there. 


Looking for an online poetry workshop in February? I'd love to have you in The Joy of Poetry Writing.  


"Artfully Editing Your Personal Essay"

My craft essay about editing essays was published through Women on Writing today. Catch some cool tips, below. :) 


Artfully Editing Your Personal Essays

by Melanie Faith


Ah, the spark of inspiration--the keys clacking, the ideas flowing, the wind at your back! Shortly, however, the initial draft is finished, and it's time to begin the more arduous editing journey. Take heart...and these tips to sculpt your personal essay: 


Division Decision


A bit of creative structuring may take a piece to an exciting new level. In Crafting The Personal Essay, Dinty W. Moore notes: "While most of my nonfiction writing follows a pretty traditional path, I have also composed essays that mimic the form of a coroner's report, a made-for-television movie script, and a Zen koan. One of my favorite experiments, 'Son of Mr. Green Jeans: An Essay of Fatherhood, Alphabetically Arranged' borrows a form known as abecedarium from the world of poetry." Consider unique subject headings or organizational methods. Poem titles, favorite thematic quotations, place names, even times of the day may all structure an essay into an intriguing mosaic. 


Time, Time, Time


Although writing nonfiction, that doesn't mean that a writer must adhere strictly to chronological order. Consider flashbacks and flash forwards, mixing chronological time with the more sophisticated timing of personal epiphanies and hard lessons well-learned. 


Spotlight Self


A writer may include many other "characters" within the piece--siblings, neighbors, exes and friends--but the central moments of change must occur for the speaker. Readers want to discover the aha! moment via the first-person narrator; she is the one readers root for and identify with most strongly. Edit or omit sections where discovery takes place through or for another person. An essay will be stronger for narrowing the focus.


"You don't Say!"

Dialogue can be a great tool for compression. Are there whole rambling sections describing setting, clothing, or personality that could be expressed more succinctly in a tart remark or an aside? In Naked, Drunk, and Writing, Adair Lara advises, "Dialogue is very readable, makes writing move fast, and is the fastest way to reveal character...Keep dialogue short and punchy. We're not allowed to say much before we're interrupted by others or something else is going on." Characterizations are strengthened by lopping off background fluff. A short interchange between speaker and friend can easily demonstrate more complex conflict. Lara further advises, "Dialogue gets interesting when there's subtext: what characters are saying between the lines." Trust that your readers will intuit much from less. 

Edit details that don't showcase theme(s).

While interesting, does this portion contribute to the whole piece? Ask yourself: would a reader who had not experienced this person/event find a meaningful connection with the rest of the essay?

Set it aside. Then trust your gut.

When writing truth, a writer's emotional connection to the material can cloud editorial judgment. Take breaks of days or even weeks to let the material cool. With the passage of time, an essayist often finds the courage and perspective to hit the backspace key. 

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