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The genres of short prose writing can be very confusing.For example, some writers will call their personal essay a story, and others will call their essay a memoir.
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Commentary Example: A writer tells the story of a car explosion in his town to illustrate the point that the police are not vigilant enough about people throwing flaming marshmallows out their windows. Memoir generally refers to longer works of nonfiction, written from the perspective of the author.
Memoir does not generally refer to short personal essays.
Short Story Example two: A writer writes a story based on a made-up explosion, set in a made-up town, and showing the made-up experiences of his characters. In a personal essay, the writer recounts his or her personal experiences or opinions.
In an academic essay, the writer’s personal journey does not typically play a large part in the narrative (or plot line).
Some personal essays may cite other texts (like books, stories, or poems), but the focus of the citation is not to make an academic point.
Rather, emphasis is on the writer’s emotional journey and insight.
If you’re writing a short piece based on your real-life experiences, editors of literary journals will identify this as a personal essay.
If you’re writing a book about an experience, it’s a memoir.