Sunday, December 30, 2007

Effective writing: Follow this puzzle's clues, which will lead you to a lesson in grammar

I was killing time at the airport when I noticed a woman bent over a Sudoku puzzle. As she agonized over the numbers, she yanked out her hair in small tufts.

On the plane a man moaned over a crossword puzzle and muttered, "What a stupid clue."

On the way home the cabdriver begged me to help him solve the "Car Talk" puzzler. "I won't sleep tonight unless I figure it out," he said.

Wow, I thought, people love puzzles. Maybe I should create a grammar puzzle for my readers. Here it is:

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Friday, December 28, 2007

SR news writing course to be offered

A news writing course featuring hands-on training in a newsroom setting will be offered during the spring semester at Sul Ross State University.

Journalism 2301: News Writing will introduce students to the basic tenets of news, sports and feature writing in a writing laboratory. Steve Lang, director of News and Publications at Sul Ross and a veteran journalist, will teach the three-credit course. Sessions will be from 3:30-4:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The class is open to enrolled students and community members. The first class meets Jan. 17.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Poetry, story writing camp

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Poet O.N.V. Kurup will inaugurate a poetry and story writing camp for children being organised in Thiruvananthapuram from December 27 to 30 by the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare.

The inaugural ceremony will be held at 10.30 a.m. at the council hall on December 27.

As part of the valedictory function scheduled for December 30, social critic Sukumar Azhikode will interact with the participants of the camp.

As many as 100 children will participate in the camp. They include seven children each from the high schools and higher secondary schools in various districts and two children from the Government Juvenile Home.

The writers who will interact with the participants at the camp include D. Vinayachandran, Ezhacheri Ramachandran, Kureepuzha Sreekumar, E. Vasu, B. Murali, C. Anup, Dr. C.R. Prasad, Dr. P. Soman, K.R. Mallika, Indugopan, Girish Puliyoor, Murukan Kattakkada, Vinod Vaishakhi, Kallara Ajayan, C.S. Jayachandran, K. Sajikumar and B.S. Rajiv.

The camp director is V.N. Murali, a release here said.

Source :

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jo’s scientific approach to writing

SHE may not be a household name in her native Wales just yet – but a former financial adviser is fast on her way to becoming one of the world’s best known science fiction and fantasy writers.

Jo Walton, 42, who was born in Aberdare, in the Cynon Valley, has already picked up a World Fantasy Award for her 2003 novel Tooth and Claw about dragons which eat each other.

And her work is published as far afield as Canada, the USA, China, Japan, the Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, Holland and Australia.

But, despite her global success, the Canadian-based author says her literary agent is “going spare” about the difficulty of getting published in Britain. She writes her novels in a wood panelled study at the home in Montreal she shares with her Irish husband Dr Emmet O’Brien, who works in bioinformatics at the city’s university.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

7 Habits of Highly Successful Authors

The more I read how the successful authors do it, the more I realize that, like successful people in all walks of life, they all do things in common that contribute enormously to their success. So how can we learn from successful authors to ensure our own success in 2008 and beyond?

We can start by adopting what I call "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Authors". Adopt these 7 habits and you just may find that 2008 is the year you break through your own writing barriers!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Writing wrongs can be costly

What you say in e-mails and online can cause legal headaches, limit job possibilities

Just a few words can have huge consequences.

A Winnipeg court ruling this week offers a warning to anyone who writes even a simple letter or e-mail: You are responsible for every word you scrawl or type.

On Tuesday, the Manitoba Court of Appeal upheld a $10,000 fine (including court costs) against a lawyer found guilty of calling a judge a "bigot" in a letter to opposing counsel.

The lawyer, Ian Histed, argued the January 2004 letter containing the remark was confidential and its release violated his right to privacy.

He also contended his words were protected by freedom of expression.

Freedom has limits

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Writing can be a humbling business

An elderly woman approached the table where I was signing books. I was at a mall in Virginia several years ago, and a banner on the wall behind me indicated I was there to do just that.

The woman stopped a few paces from my table. She looked at the sign. She looked down at me. She looked at the sign again. She looked at me again.

Finally, she spoke.

Are you him?” she asked.

“Yep,” I said. “I’m him.”

“Oh,” she said. “I was expecting someone a little huskier.”

But, bless her heart, she stepped up and bought a book despite her disappointment in my physical stature.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Writing Effective E-Mail: Top 10 Tips

  1. Write a meaningful subject line.
  2. Keep the message focused and readable.
  3. Avoid attachments.
  4. Identify yourself clearly.
  5. Be kind -- don't flame.
  6. Proofread.
  7. Don't assume privacy.
  8. Distinguish between formal and informal situations.
  9. Respond Promptly.
  10. Show Respect and Restraint.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How to Write a Sonnet

Creating sonnets isn't exactly rock science however they do take a bit of creativity and hard work to become a “sonneteer”. So, whether you’re hoping to be the next William Shakespeare or just a good sonnet writer then you should definitely read this article. In this article, we’ll discuss how to write a sonnet. First of all, you should understand that a sonnet is a “little song”/poem consisting of 14 lines. It has been around since the 13th century and follows a strict rhyme scheme and logical structure.

Creating sonnets isn't exactly rock science however they do take a bit of creativity and hard work to become a “sonneteer”. So, whether you’re hoping to be the next William Shakespeare or just a good sonnet writer then you should definitely read this article. In this article, we’ll discuss how to write a sonnet. First of all, you should understand that a sonnet is a “little song”/poem consisting of 14 lines. It has been around since the 13th century and follows a strict rhyme scheme and logical structure.

Here are 7 tips to get you started:

  1. Study Shakespeare and other experienced “Sonneteers”. Read through their work and determine what it is about their poetic style that makes it so special. Another tip is to listen to sonnets while paying attention to the way they sound.
  2. Choose a subject that makes your heart sing and words flow. As you know, it is always easier to choose a subject that you enjoy writing about and choosing a subject for your sonnet is no different.
  3. Divide your theme into two section. The first one will present your theme or thoughts and the second one will resolve the problem or drive your point home.
  4. Make sure that your first section has three stanzas of four lines each.
  5. There are several types of sonnets, you can choose.
    • For a modern sonnet, you don’t have to line at all. You just need 14 lines with 10 syllables.
    • For an English (Shakespearean) sonnet, you will need a rhyme scheme of a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f.
    • For a Spenserian sonnet (one that is similar to a Shakespearian sonnet) however its rhyme scheme includes 3 Sicilian quatrains and an ending heroic couplet. It rhymes "abab bcbc cdcd ee", and its scheme interlocks each of the quatrains.
    • For an Italian sonnet, you need an a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a rhyme scheme for the first section and a rhyme scheme of c-d-e-c-d-e or c-d-c-d-c-d in the second section.
    • Envelope sonnet- is made with two envelope quatrains and a sestet: "abba cddc efgefg (efefef)". It is almost exactly like the Italian sonnet except the quatrains use different rhymes (notice both quatrains in the Italian rhyme "abba").
  6. Next, compose your sonnet following your chosen rhyme scheme.
  7. Read your sonnet on paper and then read it again aloud. Then, ask someone close to you to read it as well. Make any necessary changes until it flows well.
    In conclusion, you can become a sonneteer and create sonnets. You simply have to study the works of established sonneteers, choose a heartfelt subject, create themes, make sure that you have 14 lines (and follow rhyme schemes for regular and Italian sonnets), review your work, practice and have a great time. By doing this, you’ll create a great sonnet.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Good writing is fine way to wish good tidings

Few gifts are more rewarding than books. I asked a few of my favorite award-winning and best-selling authors, many with Chicago ties, to make recommendations:

For younger readers, attorney and Chicago native Scott Turow recommends "Peter and the Secret of Rundoon" by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. In this, the last in the Starcatchers series, the main characters find themselves wandering a dangerous land ruled by an evil king whose pet snake eats his adversaries. For suspense lovers, Turow recommends Greg Iles' "Third Degree."

Turow, who's working on a sequel to his "Presumed Innocent," believes the best non-fiction book of the year is attorney Jeffrey Toobin's "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court."

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Improve Your Writing with these Editing Tips

Teachers, business people, and just about everyone else it seems complain often and loudly that people today (usually “kids today”) don’t know how to write. I’m convinced, though, that a big part of the problem (perhaps the biggest part of the problem) is that people don’t know how to edit. We labor under the notion that good writing flows easily from the pen or typing fingers, and that editing too much will “kill” our work.

The best writers know differently, of course — their memoirs and biographies and writing manuals are filled with stories of books that needed to be cut in half to be readable, sentences that took weeks or months to get just right, and lifetimes spent tinkering with a single work that never strikes them as “just right”. To paraphrase a common saying among writers, there is no good writing, only good re-writing.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

English Grammar 101: Plural Form of Nouns

The English language has both regular and irregular plural forms of nouns. The most common case is when you need to add -s to the noun. For example one car and two cars.

The other two cases of the regular plural form are:
  • nouns that end with s, x, ch or sh, where you add -es (e.g., one box, two boxes)
  • nouns that end with consonant + y, where you change the y with i and add -es (e.g., one enemy, two enemies)
On the irregular plural form of nouns there are basically eight cases:
  • nouns that end with -o, where you add -es (e.g., one potato, two potatoes)
  • nouns ending with -is, where you change -is to -es (e.g., one crisis, two crises)
  • nouns ending with -f, where you change -f to -v and add -es (e.g., one wolf, two wolves)
  • nouns ending with -fe, where you change -f to -v and add -s (e.g., one life, two lives)
  • nouns ending with -us, where you change -us to -i (e.g., one fungus, two fungi)
  • nouns that contain -oo, change -oo to -ee (e.g., one foot, two feet)
  • nouns that end with -on, where you change -on with -a (e.g., phenomenon, phenomena)
  • nouns that don’t change (e.g., sheep, offspring, series)
It might appear overwhelming, but after using these nouns a couple of times you will be able to memorize their plural form easily.

Source :

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Screenplay writing workshop

HYDERABAD: Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University is conducting a workshop in screenplay writing from December 21 to 25 under the guidance of famous film dialogue writer Paruchuri Gopalakrishna.

Aspiring screenplay writers may obtain the application form from the section of Theatre Arts in the university and submit it by December 19, a press note from the university said on Wednesday.

In another announcement, the university extended the last date for submission of applications for admission into M.C.J., M.A.(Telugu, Sanskrit or Astrology) and Sangeeta Visarada courses till December 28 with a late fee of Rs.100.

A demand draft worth Rs.350 drawn in favour of the registrar should be sent along with the filled-in application form.

For details contact 23230435.

Source :

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How to Write a Marketing RFP that Gets the Best Consultant or Firm to Deliver Everything You Need – On Time and on Budget

Results from the 2007 Getting Attention Nonprofit Marketing As the head of a long-time marketing firm serving nonprofits and foundations, I've probably reviewed over 500 RFPs in my time, all from nonprofits and foundations seeking marketing services. And I can tell you, no more than 50 of them are effectively designed to motivate responses that are comprehensive and accurate.

Accuracy of course is key. Because if your RFP doesn't cover everything you're looking for – in the way you want it – delivered, budget and timeframe are bound to be off. Trash in, trash out as they say. So put some time and effort into your RFP.

Here are some quick tips for writing a marketing services RFP that'll get high-quality service providers to respond eagerly, thoroughly and accurately:

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Writing a college essay is easier if you have a plan

Filling in the standard application questions is almost enjoyable compared to the angst many students feel when approaching the college essay.

Students struggle to write a unique essay. Most high school seniors are staring at cold, gray computer screens hoping to create their ticket to Perfect U.

College essay prompts vary, from the typical:

"Evaluate an experience, achievement or risk you have taken and describe its effect on you."

Or "Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence."

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Writing Articles For SEO

Writing articles is one of the best ways of enhancing your website’s such engine optimisation. Having Lots of quality, targeted, and relevant content on your website is one of the quintessential components of your website SEO strategy because after all, the search engines are perpetually looking for fresh content to index and rank. Simply having lots of articles — to the tune of 300 to 400 articles — can significantly enhance your SEO but if your website faces lots of competition from other websites containing same kind of content and more number of pages then you will have to use the SEO techniques to organise the content of your articles. Here is how you can SEO your articles:

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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Tips for Finding Good Quality Web Content Writing Services

The internet is a popular and very comprehensive source of information. However, looking for quick information on the internet can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are billions of web sites and it’s not humanly possible to search them all for the information that you need. This is where the search engines prove useful. Any one who’s familiar with the internet is aware that these search engines can make the whole process simpler and quicker.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

How to Write My Own Lyrics

Are you a writer that also has an intense love of music? Do you dream of creating song lyrics that not only tell your story but touch the lives of others? If so, you should consider writing your own lyrics. Although it helps to have some musical talent, just about everyone has a unique song in their hearts and anyone with writing talent can take this song and bring it out on paper. In this article, we will discuss how to write your own lyrics.

  1. Get the right equipment.

    Make sure that you have a high quality voice recorder and that you know how to work it properly. There are literally hundreds of models you can choose. Just choose the best one for you.

  2. Study lyricists.

    First of all, you should study those lyricists that inspire you. Is there something about their word choice that makes you stand up and take notice? What is it about their communicative style that touches your heart? Do they use metaphors or certain themes? Are they descriptive in their phrases? On the same token, you also need to study those lyricists who you hate. You know, the ones that make you change the radio station. By doing this, you’ll know what not to do when creating your own lyrics.

  3. Brainstorm.

    Next, brainstorm and then write your thoughts. Just take out your notebook and write down any random thoughts that come to your mind. Most people find that working in a quite place really helps. However, just do what you need to do to get those thoughts flowing freely. Don’t worry about what you’re writing at this point, just write.

  4. Practice putting it together.

    Next, practice taking those thoughts and creating songs into them. Don’t worry about the melody at this point. In fact, you can even take a common song like Row, Row, Row Your Boat or some other favorite and then add your own words to it. Remember that this is just a practice session.

  5. Go for it.

    Now that you have all the preliminary steps done, it is now time to write your lyrics and record them. Don’t worry what your voice sounds like. Just have fun and remember that practice makes perfect. Your voice doesn’t have to be the best, after all you’re a lyrical writer not a singing super star.

  6. Revise as needed.

    When you’re done listen to your song with a crucial ear and then make necessary changes and when you’re done, ask a trusted friends and family members to give you some advice. For instance, do they have any suggestions on how you can improve? If so, then don’t get offended. Just take their advice and work with it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Common Mistakes New Writers Make and How to Avoid Them

Writing is like any other skill in that you have to do a lot of it to get better. There isn't any way around that, but you can identify mistakes common to new writers and learn to stop making them before they become habit.

Here are the most common mistakes new writers make:

Trying to sound really, really smart at the expense of clarity.

Writing for publication is extremely competitive (some say as competitive as Hollywood). Which means that writers are often anxious about how others perceive them. But using archaic, complicated words and convoluted sentence structures won't make you sound intelligent, it will make you sound out of touch or worse, it will confuse and frustrate the reader, convincing him/her to put down your article or book. Say what you mean as directly, honestly, and clearly as you can.

Saying too much.

This falls under the sage advice to trust your reader. Don't insult your audience's intelligence by including every shred of minutiae when it's not needed.

For example, if the crux of a scene is going to be a big blow-up at the breakfast table between a teen and her parents, you don't need to show the girl waking up to the alarm clock, brushing her teeth, getting dressed, putting on her makeup, stuffing her backpack, etc., before you get us to the kitchen table. The reader will fill in the blanks and understand that the girl had things to do before she headed downstairs.

When details don't contribute to character development or move the story along, skip them. Also, resist the urge to "oversay" (bludgeon the readers with unnecessary repetition because you assume they must have forgotten things).

Saying too little.

This falls under the sage advice to be specific. Although readers fill in the blanks all the time (as we saw in the above example), sometimes new writers assume that readers can fill in crucial gaps on their own. Because we often have a vivid, detailed picture of our subject in our heads as we write, we get wrapped up in that picture and forget that it needs to be equally vivid and detailed on the page. If you leave huge gaps that even the most attentive reader can't possibly leap over alone, you aren't saying enough.

Be sure there's enough on the page for the readers to make meaningful connections and draw informed conclusions. Include relevant, interesting details in your writing. Make things specific so that your writing is memorable. Remember: seasoned is always better than bland.

Abandoning the promise you made the reader at the beginning of the piece.

If you've written anything that really mattered to you from start to finish, you know how the act of writing stimulates new thoughts and therefore you might end up in an unexpected place when you finish. New writers sometimes forget that ending up somewhere else means that you have to change the starting point.

For example, if your novel opens with unexplained murders and then introduces an armchair sleuth, you're setting the reader up for a mystery. If you change the premise mid-way and shape the work into a romance involving a minor character (and ultimately leave the crimes unsolved), you're breaking the promise you implicitly made your reader. Or maybe your article starts off promising a look at Cleopatra's final days and ultimately ends up with anecdotes about modern-day travel in Egypt.

True, those are extreme examples, but you'd be surprised how many well-intentioned writers unwittingly do that sort of thing regularly, albeit in a more subtle way.

Forgetting that readers want to be entertained.

Because the story you're working on is so compelling to you, it's easy to forget that others need to be convinced that it's fabulous (especially if it's book-length and you want them to stick with you till the end). This advice applies to fiction and non-fiction writers alike. Unless your book is required reading on a college syllabus, you have to make it worth the reader's while. Since there are so many entertainment choices out there, people won't slog through something that they don't enjoy.

How to avoid these mistakes:

Be aware of them.

You shouldn't cramp your style when you write your first drafts (because you'll get the richest material if your self-edit feature is "OFF"). But click it on when you revise, and look for places you need to correct the above errors in subsequent drafts.

Ask a trusted reader for feedback.

Keep in mind that a trusted reader isn't the person who always tells you how brilliant you are and that your work is perfect (that's "Mom"), but the person who is willing to give you honest feedback, even when it may be hard to hear. Ask that person for very specific feedback. Ask your trusted readers to note places in your work where they felt confused or bored or frustrated.

Read as much as your brain can hold. And then go back for more.

Read loads and loads in the genre you're writing, as well as other areas that interest you. But don't just read for the sake of reading -- read like a writer: reread things that really worked for you. Locate patterns, identify structures, look at the ways experienced writers you admire have avoided the most common mistakes and try to consciously apply that to your own work.

But don't just stop at books you love. When you come across books or articles that make you say, "I could have done this way better," note where the author lost you and think of how you would fix it if you had the chance.

Keep a writing journal.

And the more specific you are, the better. Keep detailed track of your progress, including the things you're reading and what you're learning from them. Describe the steps you're taking in revision. Keep track of how you're faring overall with addressing and avoiding the most common pitfalls new writers face.

To discover more ways to avoid common writing mistakes, visit and sign up for "Write Through It," a free, monthly e-newsletter that offers tips on writing more clearly and effectively.

About the Author
Lucia Zimmitti, a writing coach and independent editor, is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the Editorial Freelancers Association. Her fiction and poetry have been published in various national literary journals, and she has taught writing at the high school and college levels.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Business: tips for successful speechwriting

A guide to speechwriting to help create effective and successful speeches.

Whether it's in the boardroom or the classroom, being able to write a good speech is always an asset. Often, the difference between success and failure (or at least acceptance or rejection) is the skillful use and application of words.

Good speechwriters aren't born, they're made. It's often a trial-and-error process, made up of learning what works and what doesn't with different audiences by trying things out and watching them bomb horribly. Occasionally there will be people who seem to have an inborn talent for always knowing the right thing to say and when to say it, but if you're not one of those people, don't worry. You're right on par with most of the rest of us.

When writing a speech, the first thing that you have to do is research your topic. This is usually an exhaustive process, involving pouring over much more information than you'll actually use in the speech. It's vital that you have a wide understanding of the topic, however, since the more you know about it the more you can compress into a 2-minute speech. Compile your information, set it aside for a day or two, and then read over it again... find any points that you don't think are adequately covered in your research, and then hone in on those few points. Repeat this process until you think you've got the entire subject covered extensively.

Next, you need to decide exactly what part of all of this information you're going to actually use. Unless you're writing this speech to be used for an industry-specific function, avoid as much of the jargon and technical terms as possible. Try to summarize what you can into layman's terms, and if jargon must be included make a quick sidenote defining it. You'll find that removing the technical explanations of how and why things happen works wonders, since many listeners aren't as concerned with the how and why as they are with the result of what happens.

Make sure that whatever your specific topic is gets covered in detail, without too much detail. Again, unless the purpose of the speech is very technical or being presented to a very technical group, you're not there to analyze every piece of information. Instead, you're trying to present as much of it as you can without losing your listeners.

Finally, make sure to use language that flows well. If you were simply writing an article about a subject, it would be more permissible to use phrases or words that might not flow well in spoken language, but in speechwriting it's essential to avoid them. Whether or not you're the one who will actually be presenting the speech, you need to remember that someone will have to be able to read what you write. Your goal is to make it as pleasant as possible to pronounce for the speaker, and as easy as possible to hear for the listeners. A poorly put-together speech can be an ordeal for everyone involved.

In the end, be sure to treat both readers and listeners of your speech with respect. Put as much information as possible into your work, but make it as easy and entertaining to listen to as possible; after all, that's what separates the good speech writers from the great ones.

Source :

Monday, December 3, 2007

Ten Essay Writing Tips

Writing a good essay involves the sort of verbal craftsmanship which can only come from long periods of hard practice. There is no short-cut to success and no foolproof formula to follow. Hence what follow are tips not commandments. Nevertheless they are worth thinking about.

  1. Answer the question, the whole question the question. You can only score marks if you are being relevant, so take your time, before plunging into the writing, to think clearly about the meaning of the essay title and to make an essay plan. Many teachers advise students to look for the `key words and phrases' in a title - but it is as well to remember that every word serves some function and therefore is important.

  2. Be direct and explicit: don't leave it for the marker to puzzle out the relevance of what you are writing. That means giving a relevant argument: if you're not arguing a case, you're not answering the question.

  3. The first paragraph is vital if you are to avoid the two commonest pitfalls, being irrelevant and writing a narrative. Try to do three things: a) analyse the question, defining its meaning and establishing its parameters; b) sub-divide the question into smaller areas (on each of which you will subsequently have a paragraph); and c) outline an argument or, perhaps, several alternative interpretations. By all means have a dramatic first sentence - to shock the reader from the stupor that prolonged marking invariably induces - but do not merely `set the scene' or begin to `tell a story'. There's no time for this.

  4. The final paragraph is also vital. Do not bring in fresh factual material, and do not address the `next' topic (for instance, what Hitler did after 1933 once you've answered the question by explaining why he came to power). Instead, return to the actual wording of the question and answer it as directly and succinctly as possible - and make sure it's consistent with what you've written earlier. It may seem perverse, but it's worth experimenting by writing the conclusion to an essay first: then you'll know exactly where you are heading.

  5. In the middle paragraphs, deal with one relevant issue per paragraph. Each middle paragraph should have an argument (or interpretation or generalisation) supported by evidence. You must always give both. Try to give the argument in the first sentence(s) and then to `prove' it with the best possible selection of details. (Philip Larkin once wrote that modern novels consist of a beginning, a muddle and an end. So do many student essays, so beware of the pitfalls.)

  6. Give real facts and evidence, not just historians' opinions. Quote the evidence the historians quote, not the historians themselves (unless, that is, they have expressed themselves with real flair or unless you find it necessary to discuss their particular interpretations). Remember that history is the reconstruction of the past on the basis of the surviving evidence: it is not a just a collection of opinions. Also, give the evidence in the essay proper: don't hide it away in footnotes or appendices in a foolhardy attempt to make your essay seem `academic'.

  7. The correct balance is vital. Give most space to the most important issues - importance being assessed in relation to the question set. Remember that it is all too easy to spend a disproportionate amount of time/space on the first issue you deal with, so that others have to be dealt with hurriedly. For this reason, it is probably best not to leave your most important ideas to the end of an essay, especially in an exam, when you may run out of time.

  8. If you are required to do so, give references to your quotations, and don't forget the all-important page number. Never try to pass off other people's work as your own: plagiarism, even of phrases, is generally easily spotted and heavily penalised.

  9. For term-time essays, presentation is important. If you word-process, use double-spacing and a decent sized font; if using a pen, try to make your handwriting legible. Spread you work out, in order to leave room for comments, and number the pages. Check spelling and grammar, and strive - and strive again - for clarity of expression. If you fail to express yourself clearly you will inevitably penalise yourself. In exams, your work will be all the better for the trouble you've taken in essays beforehand. Good habits are almost as easy to acquire as bad, so work hard to express yourself well and don't be satisfied with your second-best.

  10. Write several versions of your essay. Kipling used to write a short story and then put it away for a minimum of two years: when he went back to it, he was able to spot imperfections very easily and make improvements. You can't follow his example, but you should be able to spread your work out over several weeks. You'll only get the best out of yourself if you give yourself time to do so. So revise your work, strike out that irrelevant passage, rewrite that ambiguous sentence, reorder the material to better advantage. If you're easily pleased, it's virtually certain that your examiners will not be.
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Sunday, December 2, 2007

So You Want to Be a Writer

Make Your Dream Come True

Becoming a writer is a dream that many of us share. I’ve always loved writing and only recently realized that I became a writer by the simple act of writing. No one bestows this title on you. To acquire the title of “writer” all you need to do is write! And the good news is no one can take it away from you. This article will give you all the resources you’ll need to become a writer, outlining the various ways you can express yourself, with helpful resources for digging in. This guide is intended for writers at every stage: dreamer, newbie, explorer, and old-hat.

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