Before delving deeper, let’s take you back to your childhood. If you jog your memories a little, you’ll surely remember how your grandparents used to share anecdotes on their experiences and adventures. Recall how intrigued you used to be by the way they narrated the anecdotes. Now, the point of getting you nostalgic was to make you realise how you can write anecdotes for your assignments so that the readers relate to your topic more.
So, if you’re keen to develop a thorough understanding of how to present anecdotes clearly, let’s take you through the process.
What is an anecdote?
An anecdote is a very short story that’s related to the topic of assignment you’re working on. Anecdotes are used to highlight any personal knowledge or experience of the topic. Like most stories, anecdotes are most often described through speech; they are spoken rather than written down.
The anecdotes tend to be amusing or interesting and concerns real people and incidents. Anecdotes are often humorous, but also impart a deeper truth. It’s not similar to jokes because the purpose is not just to evoke laughter. Now that you’ve gained some insights from the anecdote definition let's delve deeper.
Types of Anecdotes
Anecdotes can be categorised in various forms. Mentioned below are several types of anecdotes you should know about.
This type of anecdote presents humour related to the topic you’re writing about. For instance, two friends in a car are arguing about the driving directions. The one who’s driving tells the passenger to turn off the GPS, insisting that he knows the way. The passenger reverts, “Oh, like the time you turned the GPS off, and we ended up in the opposite direction?” This dialogue is followed by a flashback of the previous incident.
An anecdote described making others think more deeply about a specific topic. For example, a group of university students are discussing the morality of lying on their resume; most students are arguing that lying isn’t justified. Now, one student offers an anecdote to the others: “What about families that lied to German soldiers about hiding Jews in their homes during World War II? Do the lives they saved to justify the lies they told?” The students then reconsidered the validity of their previous arguments.
A story that involves a recollection of something general about the past or a specific event, Described in expressions like “when I used to…”, “that reminds me of…”, “I remember when…”, and so on. For instance, a child asks her grandmother for $2 to buy candy at the store, and the grandmother says, “You know back in the day, all you needed was a penny to buy candies! My grandmother would hand me a nickel, and I'd smile from ear to ear.”
This kind of anecdote is used to nurture hope or other positive emotions in the readers. Such stories are often about not giving up, achieving goals, making the impossible possible, and so on. For instance, a doctor talking to a group of ailing children tells them about a blind man who came in with critical injuries and no hope—but left the hospital with a smile and the perfect eyesight.
This kind of anecdotes warns others about the perils of negative consequences surrounding the topic at hand. For instance, a write-up addressed to teenagers emphasises about the risks of excessive dependence of social media. In the description, you can highlight how teenage girl became a victim of cyberbullying; warning them that it could happen to anyone.
How to write an anecdote
- Don’t waste the audience’s time
Anecdotes are written to stay informed and to develop or maintain intimacy, so sometimes even a poor story has merit, but that’s not the case for every story. Some stories may be fun for you to describe without having any value to the readers.
So, when you provide an anecdote, do so with the objective to provide an experience for the people who’ll be reading your papers. This experience doesn’t have to be life-changing for them, but it needs to have at least the potential to offer a better experience than if they’d never read it.
- Consider your assumptions
Communicating with the reader is a vital skill. It’ll improve as you experiment with your storytelling, but a great place to begin is by considering your assumptions. If you assume they’d be interested in your story and they’re not, you just lost your chance to include something that grabs their attention.
In stories, there are literally multiple ways to accomplish this, but one great example of anecdote writing would start with a hook. Instead of beginning your story, “Last week, I went to buy new jeans…” consider “Did I tell you how I almost lost my phone last week? So I went to buy some jeans…”
- Redraft, rephrase and reuse
A good anecdote needs to be presented more than once, and you work on it each time we explain it. You add emphasis where it seems dull, we omit the parts that are boring, and you clear up anything the readers might have questions about.
If a section of an anecdote isn’t working, or if one section seems more engaging, you may consider restructuring the anecdote. That makes it a better story. And, Even though a longer piece of writing requires a lot of time to edit, it’ll also be a lot more rewarding.
If you want to match up to your grandparents’ skills of narrating the anecdotes, the details in this post should be helpful for you. Hope you’ll find more clarity to work on your anecdotes from this guide.
Some pertinent anecdote examples
This anecdote is about a person describing his struggles to learn a new language.
I had to learn how to read notes and play the strings all by myself. I spent endless hours watching tutorials, trying to translate the foreign language of music.
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