Tuesday, September 30, 2008

10 simple things you can do to improve your writing

Maybe you’ve never penned a single blog entry, never been asked to write a progress report, never had to read over a colleague’s work for errors, and never had to send a critically important e-mail message to your boss. If that’s the case, you’re free to go now. But for most of us, a certain amount of writing is part of our job — and unfortunately, our efforts aren’t always as effective as they should be.

We’ve talked before about some of the big blunders — grammatical mistakes and misused words — that find their way into our written communications. Now, let’s consider some of the general best practices that contribute to clean, consistent writing. These pointers are based on TechRepublic’s in-house conventions, which are based on commonly recommended guidelines. (In other words, you don’t have to agree with them. And of course, variations may exist depending on what country you live in.)

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Writing Tender - Editorial Services Required

Looking to work Writing Tender? Find here new projects everyday.

ITMatchOnline.com is the easiest way to find right partners across the world.

Tender Detail:

Id : 12043227

Category : Proofreading, Editing,Writing & Translation

Title : Editorial Services Required

Estimated Budget : 145000GBP to 200000GBP

Total Requirement : Contract for 4 Years

Description :

We are UK based company. We are looking for qualified service providers for our requirement of Editorial Services. From time to time the publication team requires the help of publishing professionals to produce their publications, such as Learning & Teaching materials and assessment exemplars. The contract term will be for 4 Years with the option of 1 Year renewal. The overall estimated budget for these services is 145000GBP to 200000GBP. We have divided these services in 3 lots, stated below. Interested providers can send their proposal for all the 3 services or any of them.

Scope of Services:

LOT 1 – Editorial Project Management (Estimated Budget 70000GBP to 90000GBP)
  1. Excellent editorial project management skills to take a project from the commissioned copy to the published product. This includes experience of tracking and working to budgets and deadlines.
  2. Excellent communication skills, liaising with internal customers and internal and external suppliers.
  3. Experience of preparing copy for publication, including stylistic, structural, intrusive and substantive editing; copy-editing; and proofreading (hard copy and/or on screen).
  4. Ability to manage copy flow from raw copy to final version.
  5. Experience of editing a wide variety of copy styles.
  6. Ability to transform complex copy into plain English.
LOT 2 – Editing (Estimated Budget 50000GBP to 70000GBP)
  1. The approach and methods to be used on individual projects will be appropriate to the scope and objectives of that project.
  2. Appreciation of well-written copy.Excellent writing & communication skills.
LOT 3 - Proofreading (Estimated Budget 25000GBP to 40000GBP)
  1. Excellent proofreading skills, including the ability to identify typographical, linguistic coding or positional errors and omissions on a printed or electronic proof.
  2. Good communication skills.
The successful provider will be expected to work from their office/home and occasionally attend meetings with us. The successful provider must ensure security of any materials that include assessment. Payment terms are negotiated. Interested providers are requested to send their proposal on or before 5th November, 2008 by 12:00 noon. For more details have a look on attachment.

Country :
United Kingdom

Status : Closed

Are you interested to work on this project? Post your contact details Now! Click Here

Sunday, September 28, 2008

WHY WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY?

How to write an an autobiography that will share your life with relatives and other interested people.

There are bad reasons:

  • to make a million dollars (unless you're a celebrity or hero)
  • to exact revenge - getting back at someone by spilling the beans
  • to revise history - creating a false past
Then there are some good reasons:
  • to leave a message to future generations
  • to pass on your heritage
  • to put closure to a period or episode
  • to process experiences
  • to preserve family history
  • to share what and who you are
However, if you're not a writer the task can seem overwhelming. Here are some suggestions. Start by making lists. Make lists of relatives, boyfriends/girlfriends, places you've lived over the years, pets you've owned, schools attended and other things like that. But the most important are the Life-Lists. Choose categories as you go along: elementary school days; military life; college; family vacation; illnesses. More will occur to you as you write. Under each category, write down a word or two to identify some event that you want to remember.

Next, narrow each life-list to 10 core life events which will be the most significant or memorable events to demonstrate that category. Write about each of your core events. Start with a rough draft in which you simply concentrate on getting all the information down on paper. Then go back and polish for details, grammar, and tone. If you're not confident in your writing ability, you may enlist someone else's help to edit. But remember, in an autobiography, it's important to retain YOUR VOICE in the final narrative. Your personality should come through. Using flawless grammar or fancy words may very well take away from the charm and value of your autobiography.

Use a variety of writing styles throughout the book. Use the one which best suits the event you're working on. One style is Narrative, in which you give a pretty much linear account of events without much reference to underlying emotions or moods. Then there's Descriptive writing, which is appropriate when you want to paint a picture of something for your reader, either because of its beauty, its ugliness or simply because it's very different from what that reader may know. There's Emotional writing, when you have strong feelings about your topic and want to evoke some emotional response in your reader. Action writing is characterized by short sentences with strong verbs. This type of writing is for exciting events, when you want to carry your reader along in a headlong rush to find out what happens next.

When you've done all you can with your autobiography, you're ready for finishing. Organize all the pieces you¡¦ve written into some kind of order. If you don't type, have it typed and saved on a floppy disk. This is also the time to engage an outside editor if you so desire.

There are a number of ways to publish your autobiography. If you feel it has interest to a large general audience, by all means send it to a publisher. A writing book will give you details on submitting your manuscript professionally and there are other books that list publishers interested in this type of work. But most of us will probably self-publish our autobiographies.

If you just need a few copies (say for family members), take your final manuscript to a copy store with a service desk. For a reasonable fee, they will not only make as many copies as you like but they also can offer several choices for binding it. You can even create your own cover which they will reproduce and attach to the finished book.

Or you can check those writing books for self-publishing companies which will produce a professional looking book at your expense. Be warned that these businesses usually require a relatively high print run and can be quite costly.

What will you do with your finished book? Family members will be delighted to be presented with a copy, no doubt. You can donate a copy to your local library. The lives of local people add a personal touch to the history shelves. By the same token, school libraries and teachers might be interested in having a copy. If you've been active in a particular club or organization, that group would probably also be grateful for a copy.

The most important thing is to begin. By putting your life story down on paper, you can leave a lasting legacy for those who come after you.

Source : http://www.essortment.com/

Friday, September 26, 2008

Top 10 Mistakes Writers Make

In the time that I have been critiquing manuscripts, I have seen the same mistakes made over and over by different writers. Here are the top ten:

  1. Too many viewpoints cluttering the book

    Your main character is a vehicle responsible for carrying your reader through your book. When you "head-hop", you force your reader to get out of one vehicle and into another, and another, and another. If you can imagine having to change cars or trains on a journey, you will understand that this practice makes it difficult for your reader to become completely comfortable and settle into the book.

    Readers begin to identify with a main viewpoint character. They may even feel able to sink into this character's persona and experience a little of what that character is experiencing. Every viewpoint shift breaks this bond the reader is developing. Bear this in mind when you choose the character(s) who will be given the weighty task of being the reader's eyes, ears, and feelings. Is this character worthy, strong enough, likeable enough? Does this character know enough, or, if not, is this the character who is best placed to find out what is going on?

  2. Not making use of characters' relationships, emotions, thoughts, and reactions

    Readers identify most deeply with a character when she exhibits emotions and thoughts that seem familiar on some level. Relationships are a key part of how humans behave and have a major influence on our feelings. Remember that it is never solely the character's own traits that cause a reader to like or dislike the character; rather it is the reactions of other characters that influence the reader's perspective of the character.

    Show how your characters feel about each other. Don't leave your viewpoint character impassively standing by while the news is delivered of the death of a loved one.

  3. Including action or description that has no bearing on the plot or characterization

    Everything in your novel must either serve to move the plot or subplots along or to develop characterization. If it has no point in your story, delete it.

  4. Including too many unnecessary minor characters

    Your reader has a limited capacity for keeping track of which character is which. Keep minor characters to a minimum, and combine characters where possible to avoid introducing new names that the reader must remember. Don't give a minor character a name if they will not appear in your story again.

  5. Introducing the wrong character at the start of the book

    Your main character should always be the first character introduced. Readers expect this, and immediately (subconsciously) begin to step into the vehicle that has pulled up first. In business parlance, this first introduction is valuable real estate. Don't waste it on the wrong character, and never throw it away on a minor character.

  6. Making your main character unlikeable

    Your main character can be a rogue. He can be the villain or antihero of the piece. He can even be evil. But he must have some quality that your reader finds likeable, or your reader won't get in that vehicle.

  7. Using "talking heads" dialogue

    It is very tiring and boring for a reader to read dialogue that is thrown back and forth between two characters without any action or description to help anchor it. Imagine two actors dressed in black on a blacked-out stage, simply talking at each other. There is no context. Slipping actions into the dialogue tags can give your reader clues as to mood, reaction, and relationship, while description helps your reader to imagine your characters better.

  8. Not making use of "showing" technique

    "Show, don't tell" is often a difficult piece of advice to grasp. By showing some aspect of your story or character, you are handing over some control to the reader, which, in turn, gives the reader ownership of his experience of your book. Let go of the need to make the reader see things your way. If it scares you, you're doing it right.

  9. Leaving gaps in time in which plot and characters cease to exist

    Your story must take over the characters' lives for the duration of the plot. If your character has time to read a novel, pop over to a friend's for a long chat, have her hair done, catch a full eight hours sleep, and then make pancakes for breakfast, because your story skips to "The next day", there is something wrong with your timeline. Unless the friend or hairdresser has information that relates crucially to the plot, your character shouldn't have time to brush her teeth, let alone be given several hours or days of free time where the plot ceases to matter. What would you be doing in the middle of a murder investigation, space invasion, or heartbreaking love affair?

  10. Not allowing the main character to solve challenges using his own skills

    An important point to remember is that the main character should grow or change in some way over the course of the story. This means that allowing someone else to rescue your main character at the highpoint of your story reduces your character to a passive observer. It's also extremely disappointing to your reader. Get your character into as much trouble as you can, and then let him get himself out of it (while getting something out of it for himself).
Source : http://www.bellaonline.com/

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Writing a Will

Check out our top ten tips for writing a will

Lawyer Ambi Sitham from Ambi Consulting is on GMTV to talk about the do's and don't's of writing a will.

She says "Writing your will is essential to ensure that upon your death your assets are distributed as you wish. By not preparing for your death which is sadly one day inevitable for all of us, you don't protect your loved ones and ensure that they benefit from your assets as you wanted them to. If you are married and die intestate (without a will) your spouse will not automatically inherit all your assets, if you are not married and die intestate (have no will) then your partner does not receive anything.

"Dying intestate means your wishes cant be carried out and can also result in all kinds of claims being made against your estate by various members of your family making the entire grieving process even more painful and expensive as action is taken to sort out, what really ought to have been arranged before the event."

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Writing a book

Dear Bob ...

Have you ever written a non-fiction book? I want to write about a relatively rare condition that I have, and one that is usually a fatal disease. I'd like to write about living with it and the effects of it. I've never written anything substantial but want to do so now.

- Wanting to write

Dear Wanting ...

I'm impressed that you'd want to try an endeavor like this. The answer is that I have - I've written eight and published four. Thus far.

I haven't, however, written anything so specialized, or so personal.

The first question to ask yourself is whether you want to write it without first having a publisher commit to it. The general rule (I'm told) is that when dealing with publishers, fiction requires a manuscript; non-fiction requires a proposal

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to Write a Report: Writing Reports

REPORT WRITING - HOW TO STRUCTURE AND WRITE REPORTS

Writing reports: why write reports, structure in report writing, how to write a report.

Report writing skills are sought after. Knowing how to write reports is useful. The techniques of writing reports are simple.

Report writing is in daily use. Writing reports is involved at school and at work. Students have to write reports. Writing reports is part of a teacher's job. Report writing is routine in the public and civil services. Before a law is passed a select committee writes a report. Business executives write reports.

Employees and students find it difficult to write a report. If they have to write a long report they get confused. Keep your cool ~do not end up as in one of the anecdotes of the Cypriot columnist and teacher the late Orhan Seyfi Ari, about a radio broadcast of a boxing match between Abdi and Bandinelli annoucing the winner as Abdinelli -do not get excited. Learn the techniques of writing reports.The techniques of writing a report are easy to learn. Report writing is not difficult. Writing reports is easy -whether short or long reports.

Here is how to write a report: the techniques of report writing…

In report writing we need to know: What is Report writing… The Object of Writing Reports… How to Write a Report. Then writing a report becomes easy -we can write a report…

What is Report Writing

Report writing begins with being asked to write a report. Reports are almost always asked for, and are documents - short or substantial in size. Writing a report is examining a given problem or issue and suggesting a practical solution.

The Object of Writing Reports

Writing reports is for a purpose. Report writing must not defeat its object. When you are asked to write a report, you are provided information. You are expected to competently analyse that information, draw consistent conclusions, and make sensible and practical recommendations in your report.

Before writing a report you must be clear on your brief. You can not write a report usefully without being sure of its object. In writing reports it helps to also clarify the information provided. Report writing can fail in its object by the assignor assuming that you have some of the needed information. Be absolutely clear of the object of the report, and of the adequacy of the information you have, before writing reports. the object of writing reports is to offer directly related suggestions.

In report writing bear in mind that the assignor may have incomplete information affecting even the object of writing the report. In Britain only after one & a half months of preparations to set up a national lottery to be run by the government was it discovered that in English law it had to be contracted out. You may be told "You should've asked!" Beware, in writing reports.

The object of writing reports is so dependent on relevant information that the Xerox corporation had set up a village for years for its researchers to obtain adequate information before writing reports on the future effects of computer data storage media on use of photo copying machines and paper.

When you are asked to write a report, while do not assume the role of a researcher, do be clear on what is wanted and of the information provided. The object of report writing is to find practical solutions to issues of briefs to write reports on.

How to Write a Report

Having clarified the issue on which you are to write a report, and the information necessary for your writing a report, you need to ensure the essential in report writing: consistency.

For this, use the techniques of writing reports. These are: Preparing to Write Reports... Presentation in Writing a Report.

You cannot write reports consistently without data preparation. Presentation in writing a report helps show its consistency.

Preparing to write reports: If the issue is detailed and you are writing a report that is substantial you may choose to use specialist computer software. Else, this is a must in such report writing: List different data on separate sheets of paper in a ring-binder -to arrange or re-arrange easily and logically as the data for the report you are writing accumulates.

Presentation in writing a report: Report writing techniques of presentation involve: structure, enclosures, index and title.

>>> Structure in report writing:-

  1. Begin with a brief summary of the main points of your report. Enable the person who you asked you to write the report, at a glance, to see the gist of it.

    ... In the first paragraph briefly tell what the report is going to tell. If you are writing a long report, use a separate page.

  2. Then, in telling what you said your report was going to tell, keep the detail logical, clear and simple -easy to read…

    … If writing a technical report don't clutter it with statistical-data, tables, graphs. If such make a report difficult to read attach them as enclosures or appendices, refer to them. In writing long reports use dividers, colour-tags -too many irritate.

    … Do not use jargon in report writing. When writing a report be direct and specific -write a report that is easily to comprehend.

  3. End reports as begun. When writing reports, end them, again, with a brief summary of the main points. Tell the report's reader, briefly, what you have told in detail. Write reports with endings that enable every person you write a report for at a glance to see the gist of the report's main points.

    >>> Enclosures in writing a report:-

  4. When you write a report ensure that each enclosure is clearly marked, easily distinguishable from others attached.

    … In writing the report refer to each enclosure as marked.

    … Attach the enclosures in the order referred to in the report.

    >>> Index in writing reports:-

  5. After you write a report add an index -or a 'contents' page.

    … Do so after word-processing the report with page numbers.

    >>> Title in report writing:-

  6. When you write reports you need titles-pages for them.

    … The title-page should be the first in the report you write.

    ... In report writing the title page contains: the title of the report, the date finished writing the report, and the reference number (if any) of the party who asked you to write the report.

These techniques of writing reports ensure easy report writing.

The author has a website at: http://www.geocities.com/eoa_uk

Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/

Monday, September 22, 2008

"6 Tips That Make "How To" Book Writing A Snap"

What would it take to pluck you from your existing lifestyle - frustration, anxiety, compromise, putting up with kuckleheads who always seem to get ahead even though the sum total of their usefullness could fit into the end of your little finger?

Believe it or not, the answer is book writing

One book could change your life forever!

I'm not talking War and Peace either.

As many of the members over at Information Marketer's Zone will confirm, there is a time-tested, hungry desire for "how to" ebooks, books and other information products just waiting for you to make your mark.

I'm talking about 100 pages of fun, some basic knowledge that anyone could put together given an above average motivation and the help of these 6 Power Writing tips.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ten Tips for Effective Internet Article Writing

On the Internet “content is king”, and the real guts of content is the written word. If you are managing a website you need readable text for your onsite articles, for articles in your promotional newsletter or ezine and for promotional articles to be published on other sites or in other ezines. While these writing tasks can be outsourced to professionals, it is also possible for you to do it yourself if you follow a step-by-step process that is outlined in the following ten tips.

  1. In the first paragraph clearly state what the article is about. In standard journalism you would tell who, what, why, when and where an event is happening. In web articles you oftentimes state a problem, such as “how to get good written materials for your website”, and then explain how the article is going to solve the problem “by showing a simple step-by-step approach to writing”.

  2. Organize your material in a point-wise fashion. Before you begin writing think of the points that your article is going to cover. You may not necessarily show the points, as I am doing in this article (calling them ten tips), however, for your own outline of the article you should know what you are going to say before you begin writing. Write down these points and then make sure you include them as you begin the writing process.

  3. Put the reader at ease. You are not writing for a scientific or literary society, but to your peers on the Internet. Write in a simple style and if you introduce new terms, define them for your readers.

  4. Explain your points in short paragraphs. Short paragraphs are easier for the reader to follow. No one likes to look at a long block of solid text. Three, four or five sentences are usually enough for one paragraph.

  5. Don’t be afraid to spill all the beans! Tell your trade secrets! No, I am not crazy, the more you tell, the more the demand you will create for your goods and services. I once hesitated to write an article on “Tips for Writing Meta Tags”, who will need my search engine optimization services if they read the article? I was wrong, the article was widely published and generated several orders for my services. If you give more information, people will understand that you really are an authority on the subject that you are speaking about.

  6. Give concrete examples and personal experiences to back up your points. Tell how you faced a problem and how you solved it. Or give hypothetical examples of the California Widget Company and how its website would, for example need a title tag of “Widgets: electronic widgets from the California Widget Company”.

  7. Emphasize the benefits of your product or service. When it comes to selling, it is the benefits that sell, rather than the features. Sure, you are selling garden supplies, home d├ęcor, clothing, gifts and jewelry on your website. These are features. But the benefits are that people can get these items in one place without shopping around, that they can save time and money, etc. The gurus of Internet marketing, such as Ken Evoy (http://myws.sitesell.com/webpromote2.html) all say that you should constantly mention the benefits that you offer to your potential customer.

  8. Give resource information to your readers. Give the addresses of websites where your readers can get more information on the subject that you are talking about. These may be your own websites or they can be other resources. In case you are worrying about losing customers, good outgoing links from your website are also helpful to your site’s page ranking and positioning in search engines.

  9. Get another opinion on your article. Show it to your friends and colleagues, and don’t worry if they criticize you, it is better that your friends find the mistakes than your clientele. Always remember, a good editor is a writer’s best friend.

  10. Keep your most important information near the beginning of the article and summarize what you want to say at the end. Editors usually cut things near the end, so keep your most important points and ideas in the beginning of the article. At the very end of the article you can summarize what you set out to accomplish in your opening paragraph.

    You may not win a literary prize, but if you follow the steps that I have outlined above you will be able to produce effective written content for your website and for your promotional outreach via your own newsletters and through articles published on other websites. These articles could become the key to success in your Internet endeavors.
Donald Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. He has been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently the director of A1-Optimization (http://www.a1-optimization.com), a firm providing low cost search engine optimization, submission and web promotion services.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Tips for writing a science fiction novel

by Currie Jean

From wars between worlds to the chemistry of human identity, science fiction is all about messing with the very groundwork of reality. The thematic limits don't end at what we know about the world, but reach onward to discuss what humans assume and wonder about.

What would extraterrestrial life say about humanity? Is cloning as scary as it seems? What are the true consequences for the members of a completely totalitarian state? How does probability really work? If you're up to discussing questions like these via fictional analogy, keep the following ten points in mind.

1) THE BASICS

Basic rules of language use span all genres of storytelling. That means that, unless you're quoting a character with a speech impediment, you have to use correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting. For the sake of your reader, please don't forget to start a new paragraph every time a new person speaks.

Spell check, also, is not an excuse to be lazy. It's not as good with language as you are, believe it or not, so it'll miss mistakes. Use it only as a safety net after doing your very best. Still, feel free to make up words as required. Science fiction is an incredibly creative genre, and you might need names for new concepts and technologies.

2) PLOTTING

The classic way to create an involving story requires you to build up the plot, gradually intensifying the reader's suspension of disbelief - that means convincing the reader to "lose" herself in the work. The characters face situations which appear more and more dangerous, and then the climax shows up, about 80% of the way in. This is when the big action happens, the story is resolved, and the reader's expectations are indirectly addressed, sometimes with an unexpected twist. The rest of the story is devoted to winding down and tying up loose ends.

Science fiction, however, is an innovative genre. Its definition often changes, and so can the way it tells stories. You're in no way required to end the story on a happy note (sad resolutions are resolutions too). You can leave some loose ends open even if you aren't planning a sequel. You could even have the climax at the beginning, and explain it in the rest of the story. If your science fiction story is on the philosophical side, let the plot take you to the conclusion of the argument you're using the story to demonstrate. Be innovative!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Being a Creative Writer

Writing is simply a matter of sitting down and doing it according to the pundits who argue that rewriting will iron out the difficulties. Like all single lines of advice and wisdom, the statement lacks the clarity of depth and the scope of reality. Everyone can undoubtedly write meaningful phrases. Most of us do so to please ourselves. Some, with a modicum of planning and care, manage to please others. Few are capable of being creative and joining the literati because that requires painstaking work and a devotion to the method formed by a lifetime of conspicuous attention to minor details and nebulous, inexpressive things. To understand this better, and to gain success, not necessarily financial, at writing, one needs to delve into motivations, the psychological reasons behind the desire to inscribe memorable narratives.

Artistic creativity, whether painting, sculpting, composing music or crocheting a pastoral tapestry with billions of hummingbird feathers, develops through four primordial states of consciousness in random order. Every artist experiences them and experiments with how they affect him or her. It does not seem to matter which comes first or which predominates. They are called inspiration, illumination, incubation and modification. No work of art ever reaches fruition without its progenitor undergoing all four of these conditional factors. They are the mind enhancers that transform vision to product, the self-consuming guides of intellect that govern the change from thought to deed.

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15 Seconds on the Web: Ten Writing Tips to Improve Sales

In 15 seconds, a visitor to your site determines whether or not they are interested in your product or service. Web usability experts can provide all sorts of design insights, HTML advice and search engine optimization tips to increase your site visibility and appeal. While this is helpful, the most crucial factor in the sale is how you connect with your visitor. That connection occurs in one way – through content.

Research from academia, web consultants, and behavioral scientists over the past two decades has revealed ten techniques to sharpen your web-writing skills and tighten your customer connection.

The First Four Seconds
Visitors to your website want the gist of your site, services and products within 4 seconds. That’s enough time for you to have read this paragraph aloud.

On your homepage, you have 1–2 sentences, no more than 30 words, to get this information across. Don’t waste that time. Include specific points of differentiation that are important to your target audience in those 30 words – “free shipping” or “24-hour service” and so forth. If you can have someone not associated with your business read those 1-2 sentences aloud in four seconds, and then be able to tell you what makes your service or product different, you’ve hit the right mark.

Say Yes to What They Want
Now that your visitor understands what you are and has an idea of your products and services, think about what they want to see to pick your company over a competitor. People buy to satisfy emotions, soothe anxieties or gratify desires, so the want is important – it’s their justification to buy. Put yourself in your target audience’s shoes – imagine what they want to see on a site to make them say, “Aha – this is the one.” Is it “free shipping” or is it “guaranteed overnight delivery”?

For instance, if you are a flower shop that guarantees overnight delivery, think about the emotional reasons why your service might be important to a potential customer. Perhaps they’ve just had an argument with their significant other or a family member over the phone. Then, target your content at that reason. You could lead into your special overnight delivery service with “Need to apologize…? Tomorrow is not too late with fresh flowers. We guarantee overnight delivery anywhere in the continental US.”

Clarity of the Connection
Use short, 8-12 word sentences. Paragraphs should be 1-3 sentences long and contain only one idea or concept. The key is quick comprehension.

There are two ways to measure how well you do this, a subjective method and a statistical method. Personally, I try to combine the two.

First, I write (or copy and paste) my content in Microsoft Word and run the spell/grammar check with readability statistics turned on (under Options and then Grammar). This will provide you a “grade-level” score. If your score is within the 10.00 to 11.99 range, you’ve passed the statistical test. Anything below 8 and you risk treating your visitors like simpletons. Scores above 13 are typical of three things: academic treatises, scientific papers, and engineering analyses. Even if that’s what you offer, those are end products, not content written to connect with a person’s wants.

The subjective method for readability is to provide the content to someone who knows very little about the matter at hand and ask them to read it and then tell you the gist of it. If they can, you’ve written the content clear enough for it to be understood by the average visitor.

Jargon and Buzzwords
Your time with your potential customer is limited. Really think through if you want your website to have words like “paradigm,” “synergy,” “repurposeable,” “value-added,” “best of breed,” “game plan” or any other ambiguous hype. If you think you do, read the short book Why Business People Speak Like Idiots and then re-examine your site. Maximum impact equals meaningful words.

Limit Length
For each page of content or product, place the most important information in your first two paragraphs or product positions on the page. Then keep the rest of your webpage content to under three printed pages’ worth.

This can be hard to do with the banner, the navigation bar, the copyright notice, pictures, and so on. One approach is to create a “print page” hyperlink that pulls up a content only version of the page (with thumbnail pictures for specific products). Put these print pages in a sub-directory on your website to make it easier for yourself to separate the print pages from the full display pages.

An F-Shaped Pattern
Write your content so that the shape (of the paragraphs, sentences and lists as you look at them together) is easy to skim. After deciding on the gist of your site and its products or services during the first four seconds of their visit, a visitor spends 11 seconds or less scanning your page in an F-shaped pattern: first, across the top portion of your content; then down and across again – but this time, less than ¾ of the way across; and finally down the left-side looking for something of interest in the first two or three words of each line.

Key Words and Bullets
Because of this F-shaped pattern, any text beyond the first two short paragraphs needs to have its key words in the first two or three words of each sentence or list item. The trick is to imagine writing a three-word headline – then lengthen it at the end. For instance, “Overnight Delivery – Guaranteed or Your Money Back” is better than “We provide an overnight delivery guarantee.”

Lists flow naturally into this F-shaped pattern. Bullet point lists are easily skimmed and web visitors tend to return to easily-skimmed sites 47% more. If you’re selling over the web, that can quickly convert to 47% more sales.

Your lists should only have three to four items in them. If you have a lot of items, then segregate them into three to four categories. If a list has more than eight bulleted items, you risk the visitor simply hopping and skipping over the list.

Show Your Pricing
A common gap for business-to-business websites is the lack of pricing details. This information is crucial to the financial decision-maker in every potential customer. Even if you cannot give an exact price, then show respect for your prospective customer and at least discuss price levels. When I was CIO of Chrysalis Technologies, many companies wanted to meet one, two or even three times before discussing pricing basics. In five years, not one of those companies made a sale with us; we were simply too busy and moved on to a competitor who would at least provide us a ballpark cost up front.

This may seem to fly in the face of advice you’ve seen elsewhere, but think about it: if I want to buy something, then one of my next deciding factors is if I can afford that something at your site. If your price range is within the one I’ve established – either in an approved budget or in my mind – then how likely am I to buy now and move on to the rest of my day?

Unless you have a truly, globally unique product or service, you need to provide pricing as an essential part of the customer connection.

Ask for the Sale
Too many websites show the product or the service, let the visitor know the benefits, and then leave the visitor to ponder what to do next. This should be the easy part. Include a call to action with a “buy now” button or a phrase like “call now so your feelings arrive with your flowers.” If your visitor has to pause to reflect, you can lose that thread of connection, what’s been called the “succession of yeses.” For some potential customers, that pause is all they need to remember to comparison shop and move on.

Take the Five-One-Five Test
Once you believe your content is ready, print out five of your web pages (your home page plus four more) and show them to five people in the market(s) you are targeting. Give them one minute. Do they “get it”? Do they understand what you are selling? Can they tell you what stands out as a key differentiator of your service or products? Take in their feedback and revise your content.

Following these ten tips will provide you the best chance of connecting with your customer and getting the sale. Whether you’re providing business or consumer services or products, visitors to your website want a commitment within 15 seconds.

The question is, do you?

About this author
John Avellanet is the managing director & principal consultant of Cerulean Associates LLC, a Virginia-based IT management & compliance consultancy focused on helping clients improve their financial results by aligning IT and compliance with business strategies and new product development.

Cerulean Associates LLC is located at http://www.ceruleanllc.com on the web.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How to Write a Cover Letter That Makes Your Application Stand Out

Cover Letter Writing Tips

Remember these rules apply to email cover letters as well as ones on paper - don't let the casual nature and informality of e-mail destroy your chances right off the bat.

  • Be sure to proofread the cover letter for spelling and grammar.
  • Include all the information asked for in the job announcement such as references, salary requirement, etc.
  • Address the hiring manager directly, and include the name of the company and the open position. You can often find this information on the company web site. It's a small detail - but it really does make a big difference in how you are perceived.
  • Make it easy for the hiring manager—Use your name and the word "resume" in your e-mail header so it's easy to identify.
  • Use a simple, easy-to-read font.
  • Remember, there is intense competition for good jobs. Any and every detail could be a reason for the hiring manager to dismiss your application in favor of one that's error-free.
Additional Cover Letter Writing Tips
  • Always address the cover letter to a specific person by name and title. Even if responding to a job that states "no phone calls," consider calling to politely ask the name of the hiring authority. If not possible, send the letter to the title of the hiring manager: e.g., "Production Manager," "Maintenance Supervisor," "Office Manager," etc. Never use the term, "To Whom It May Concern".
  • Sign the cover letter in blue or black ink. This signiofies that the letter is original.
  • Keep it brief, usually no more than three to five paragraphs on one page. This shows you understand the value of the reader's time.
  • The paper and style of your cover letter should compliment your resume. Use the same paper stock for both your cover letter and resume.
  • Whenever possible, research each employer's organization and then personalize the letter. When you indicate that you know something about the organization, it shows that you are seriously interested in the employer. This approach is much more effective than sending out hundreds of identical form letters.
  • Highlight one or two of your most significant accomplishments or abilities. This draws immediate attention to your most impressive skills. It also demonstrates that you are an above average candidate, which increases your chances of being remembered.
  • Don't just describe your background - your resume takes care of that. Be clear about your objectives and make the employer want to take a closer look at your resume.
  • The cover letter should be written in a very clear and positive manner.
  • Do not add details about yourself, your past experiences, or your education that may call attention to your weaknesses or raise questions about your confidence or ability to do the job.
  • By using the active voice, you will grab the reader's interest and convey a sense of energy.
  • Organize your information for the reader. Group similar items together in paragraphs and then organize the paragraphs so they relate to each other logically. Avoid writing that lumps together unrelated information without a strong topic sentence.
  • Avoid jargon and cliches. It is tempting to use ready made phrases such as "self-starter," "proven leadership skills," "excellent interpersonal skills," but using today's buzzwords can suggest parroted formulas rather than original thought.
Source : http://www.jobgoround.com/

Monday, September 15, 2008

Website Content Writing Tips

When writing for the web, use

  • shorter sentences, words and paragraphs
  • one idea per paragraph
  • concise text - half the word count (or less) than writing for print
  • the inverted pyramid style, putting the most important point or the conclusion first.
  • Simple words
  • Objective language to build credibility, rather than exaggerated claims or overly promotional words like "great", "tremendous" etc.
  • bulleted lists
  • highlighted text (bold or color, also hyperlinked text) for scannability
  • meaningful headlines and subheads, avoiding cute or clever lines
Read More Article...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ten Writing Tips for Creating an Effective Code of Conduct

You have been given the task of writing an effective code of conduct for your organization. A blank pad of paper rests in front of you along with a freshly sharpened number two pencil and a mint fresh copy of Roget's Thesaurus. Ten minutes pass. Twenty minutes slip away.

You've held meetings, sought and received input, looked at samples, identified provisions you want in your code of conduct and yet nothing springs out of your mind and onto the page. Why not? You're a good writer. You were chosen for this project because your reports are fact filled and precise; you are a champ at describing processes in concrete terms. What's wrong with you?

Nothing.

You are simply faced with the reality of writing about abstract concepts rather than the physical world. To start writing a code of conduct, think in terms of values, belief and expectations rather than facts.

Read More Article...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Four Tips to Improve Your Writing Skills

And How to Avoid Common Mistakes

Below are some basic writing rules, along with an example of the rule being broken. Learn how to avoid these common mistakes.

1. Be Consistent

Sequence of Tenses

After he broke his arm, he is home for two weeks.

Shift of Pronoun

If one is tense, they should try to relax.

Parallelism

She skis, plays tennis, and flying hang gliders.

Noun Agreement

Eric and James want to be a pilot.

Pronoun Reference

Several people wanted the job, and he or she filled out the required applications.

Subject-Verb Agreement

There is eight people on the shore.

2. Express Ideas Logically

Coordination and Subordination

Jen has a rash, and she is probably allergic to something.

Logical Comparison

Joey grew more vegetables than his neighbor's garden.

Modification and Word Order

Barking loudly, the tree had the dog's leash wrapped around it.

3. Be Clear and Precise

Ambiguous and Vague Pronouns

In the newspaper they say that few people voted.

Diction

He circumvented the globe on his trip.

Wordiness

There are many problems in the contemporary world in which we live.

Improper Modification

If your car is parked here while not eating in the restaurant, it will be towed away.

4. Follow Conventions

Pronoun Case

He sat between you and I at the stadium.

Idiom

Jack had a different opinion towards him.

Comparison of Modifiers

Of the sixteen executives, Gretchen makes more money.

Sentence Fragment

Abby having to go home early.

Double Negative

Andie has scarcely no free time.


If you're not sure whether you're following the rules of writing correctly, be sure to ask your teachers or parents for help.

Source : http://www.collegeboard.com/

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why You Should Take Part In A Writing Workshop

Before you should decide whether or not taking part in a writing workshop is right for you and your writing you should first understand just what a writing workshop is.

A workshop is an educational format where an expert shares information on a focused topic over a short period of time. Some workshops are intended to be simply informative while others involve more hands-on activities. Today there are many options for enjoying a workshop: you can attend workshops in person, view them on television or tape, or participate in an online workshop.

So now that you know what a workshop is you can see how this format can readily be adapted for writers. Writing workshops can cover the basics of writing, writing challenges, topics related to publication and careers in writing, or specific research subjects. Some of these programs are featured as part of larger events, such as conferences, while some groups or individuals offer them as one-time events. Some organizations, institutes and educational programs offer workshops to their students or members while others open those workshops to the community at large.

Why would a writer want to attend a workshop? What benefit could it be?

Join the writing community. One of the strongest benefits you can receive from attending such a gathering is getting to know other writers. Writing is a solitary profession and can be very lonely. Enjoying the company of other writers and talking about writing with people who really understand your joys and worries can be wonderfully energizing to you personally as well as your writing. You can also make contacts that may lead to support and growth of your writing or perhaps even professional advancement. You never know when the friend you make today might be in a position to recommend you to an editor or publisher down the road.

Learn something new. No matter what level your writing career there are always lessons to be learned from other writers. Sometimes there are research strategies and shortcuts or perhaps it is a method for dealing with writer's block. You can learn market news and contacts as well as important information about reviewing contracts. Workshops are generally geared toward a specific genre or market niche and offer a wealth of specialized information depending on whether you write about crime or food.

Improve your craft. Generating new work or revising existing pieces is often a large part of attending a workshop. Sometimes you must bring something with you, create a project as part of the workshop or are inspired by the gathering itself. Sometimes talking with others or listening to the presenters causes you to suddenly rethink a stalled project or inspires a new one. Whatever the impetus there is definitely an increase in production after attending a workshop and that is the surest way to improve your word craft.

If you have not taken part in a writing workshop in the past then perhaps you might consider doing so in the near future so you can join the writing community, learn something new, and improve your craft.

About The Author

Deanna Mascle shares more writing tips and writing resources with her online Writing Workshop at http://WordCraftOnline.com as well as her free Writing Workshop ebook.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Best-selling author shares writing tips

Nelson bookworms received a rare treat on Monday with a talk by best-selling English writer Kate Mosse.

More than 70 people crammed into a room at the Elma Turner Library to hear her speak about her latest best-seller, Sepulchre, her work with adult literacy programmes, and her role as one of the founders of the women's literary prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction.

Mosse entertained the audience with tales of her meticulous research in French towns, many of which were the inspiration behind her novels.

"Something I take very seriously is that if you decide to set a novel in a real place, you owe it to the people who live there and lived there in the past to get it right."

That research went as far as using the Internet to find out the weather conditions on a particular day in the late 19th century.

"I tend to believe real readers don't need to check that out, and they trust the writer to get that right for them."

She also had some simple advice for those hoping to pen their own best-seller.

Read More Article...

Monday, September 8, 2008

5 tips for writing timeless content

Some time ago I wrote that bloggers should focus on timeless content. Quoting the post “Blogs that are focused on news or current events die as soon as the articles stop coming on a consistent basis. If you write timeless content, on the other hand, people will still be reading your blog for months or years after you stop writing as long as the content has some value for them.”

Below you will find 5 practical tips for making your content more timeless, regardless of the topic you are writing about:

  1. Avoid words that bring the idea of time: whenever you are writing about a particular topic try to avoid words like today, yesterday, recently or expressions like this week or this month. If someone comes across those words while reading your blog posts it is very likely that he will associate the article with a specific time frame, say “the summer of 2005″. The problem is that the reader might think that the content is not fresh and therefore no longer valuable.

  2. Put dates at the bottom of posts: the standard design of many blog templates and Wordpress themes feature the date at which the post was published right below the title. Many readers get discouraged to read a certain post if they see that it was written long ago. A good way to prevent this is to move the date to the end of the post. Do not remove the date altogether because a minimum time reference is useful.

  3. Get rid of the calendar: if you wander through the blogosphere you will notice the enormous quantity of calendars on the sidebars. This feature could be useful if you write content that is dependent on time. Someone writing about his journey across the Sahara desert, for instance, would need to have a calendar so that readers would be able to track posts in a chronological order and find posts of a specific day. Most bloggers, however, write about topics that are not dependent on time. The first question you need to ask yourself is: “Will my readers benefit from having a calendar where they can click on a particular day and check what I have written on that day?”

  4. Get rid of the monthly archives: the same reasoning of the calendar applies to the monthly archives. Unless it makes sense for your readers to search blog posts by month (for example if you are blogging about a long journey or about the World Cup) you should avoid using monthly archives.

  5. When blogging about news or current events make sure to add value: every blog will mention a certain news or an interesting event once in a while. When you do post something that could not be relevant a couple of months ahead make sure to add some value to it so that a future reader will not lose his time completely by reading it. Value could be added through your opinion on the matter, a deeper analysis, a cross reference and the like.
Source : http://www.dailyblogtips.com/

Sunday, September 7, 2008

How to write poetry

Learn how to write poetry that is on a par with the greats. Here is a basic course for those interested in writing good poetry.

Although some would argue that the Golden Age of Poetry passed away with Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg, people everywhere are still writing volumes and volumes of the stuff. Like any other artistic endeavor, fads and movements come and go, but the interest in writing poetry has never faded completely. Indeed, run the word 'poetry' in any good Internet search engine and see how many thousands of hits you receive. Although the quality and caliber of poetry may vary widely, the basic desire to express personal thoughts in an intense and intimate writing style is nearly universal in scope. All of us are familiar with the sentimental poetry of greeting cards, or the image-filled lyrics of our favorite songs. Presidential inaugurations always include a commissioned poem from one of our best writers, and many of our most sacred traditions are enhanced with poetry. There can be no doubt that poetry and the writers who create it are part of our collective consciousness.

But how does one begin the challenge of writing poetry?

To begin with, there are as many forms of poetry as there are writers who create it. Some forms, such as free verse or light verse, are still hugely popular with many readers. Other forms, such as sonnets or blank verse, have faded somewhat in popularity, but are still worth studying and creating. In short, poetry should never be limited to what is current or popular, but what is most effective for the particular effect a poet wishes to have on his audience. Before starting to write poetry, you should develop a true appreciation for all the forms it has taken over the centuries. Once you have a strong foundation, then you can consider which forms are the most appealing for your particular voice.

Read More Article...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Teenagers invited to enter writing contest

FAIRFIELD — The Lane Libraries will soon launch its seventh annual Teen Writing Contest, "Our Own Words," for short story and poetry writers ages 13-18. Work will be judged on originality, clarity, ideas presented, voice, word choice, presentation, sentence structure/fluency and spelling. There are two divisions: Division I for ages 13-15 and Division II for ages 16-18, according to a release from the libraries.

Writers who participate should attach a completed entry form to the work and submit it at any Lane Libraries location beginning Sept. 9. Teachers who submit class work should be aware each entry must have a separate entry form with it. Entry forms and guidelines are available at any Lane Library location or online at www.laneteenzone.org.

Read More Article...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Five Reasons Why Blogging Leads to Writing Jobs

Daily Writing Tips has already covered Five reasons why blogging improves your writing. But once you’ve polished up your skills, and grown used to writing frequently and receiving feedback, blogging can also help you get paid for your writing.

1. It’s a free (or very cheap) way to self-publish your writing

Posting your writing on a blog is a form of self-publishing, even if you don’t think of it that way. After all, blogging software uses a Publish button to submit a post, and if you run Google Adsense on your blog, Google refers to you as a Publisher. In the past, to get published you either persuaded an editor to print your work, or you paid to have the piece printed yourself. Blogging allows you to self-publish for free (or at the small cost of hosting and an internet connection). If your blog becomes popular, you could run advertisements to make some money or invite sponsorship from companies – glance over to the right to see some of Daily Writing Tips’s sponsors.

Read More Article...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

7 Tips for Writing a Great Campaign Speech

PIONEERING NEWS correspondent Eric Sevareid, like the other stellar electronic correspondents of his day at CBS, considered himself a writer first -- he called his several published collections of broadcast analyses "oral essays."

Another CBS television peer, Walter Cronkite, in his autobiography entitled A Reporter's Life, tells a story about Sevareid the "oral essay" writer at the 1952 Democratic Convention. As Cronkite relates: "That was the convention that nominated as its presidential candidate the reluctant Gov. Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, As we waited in the hall for him to arrive, an advance copy of his acceptance speech was passed out to the press. Eric Sevareid was sitting with me at the anchor desk, and we both began poring over the speech. I was deeply impressed by the beauty of Stevenson's language, unmatched by any other politician in my time. Eric and I finished our reading," Cronkite continues, "and as I looked toward that master essayist, expecting to hear a paean of appreciation, he tossed down the Stevenson copy with a look of disgust. And he said: 'I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy covering a politician who writes better than I do.'"

Now it's a fact of life that candidates running for political office at every level are surrounded by consultants and advisers. And each consultant, naturally, considers his or her particular area of expertise the most critical: the pollster knows that polling is the most important aspect of the campaign, the fundraiser is certain that fundraising is the most important and the grassroots GOTV organizer is convinced that direct mail and phone banks are the critical parts of the campaign.

And ultimately each may be -- but only if the candidate has already developed a rationale for running, has fashioned a central message that unifies and fires his or her campaign, and has developed the skill and ability to communicate it in a strong, logical, beautifully written campaign speech.

I am constantly amazed at seeing so many candidates for every level of public office, of every political party, with campaign organizations running as smoothly as a Rolls-Royce V-12 engine, get up before a crowd of happy supporters and absolutely bomb when giving a speech. Boring. Flat Clicheridden. Jejune.

Read More Article...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Writing a Novel: Taking Those First Vital Steps

'Some day I think I'll write a novel.' Many people express this wish but do no more. They don't have the burning desire to write which marks really committed writers.

'Everyone has a book in them' is a frequently stated belief. It may be true, but it's the getting it out that matters. This book is designed to help you put your novel on the page in the way that will give you the best chance of selling it. It's not easy, it can be hard work and often disappointing, and luck plays a critical part, but it is possible. With persistence, knowledge of your new world, and belief in yourself, you can succeed. The rewards, the delight in achievement, make all the effort worth while.

Read More Article...

Monday, September 1, 2008

6 Ways to Leverage Technical Articles

Technology vendors often contribute bylined articles to trade journals. The articles are great exposure for these companies but they don't come cheap – the trades rarely pay for these articles but the vendors spend time and resources to assign pieces, write them, approve them and submit them. Your PR agency can help your clients leverage their investment by wringing top value out of these articles. Here are some possibilities:

  • Reprints
  • White papers
  • Product briefs
  • Booklets
  • Speech outline and handouts
  • Reprints
It's pretty galling to contribute a byline to a publication, only to turn around and spend major bucks for reprint rights. But reprints are good things: they significantly increase your client’s exposure to the market. Make sure you use the reprints anywhere you can, including press kits, presentation handouts and conference take-aways. Post them on your site too. Even if you haven’t paid for electronic rights you can probably link to the publication’s URL, assuming they’ve posted your article online. (It doesn’t hurt to ask.) If you’ve got digital reprint rights and are posting the article on your client’s site, avoid using a scanned hard copy of the printed article – the resolution is poor and not very readable. Create a .PDF file and use that for posting and downloading.

White Paper

Please don’t use the published article as is for a white paper -- even if you retain all rights it's shamelessly self-plagiarizing, and if the publication retains all rights it's rather criminal. However, you can use the article text to form the technology section of a white paper. Edit for length as necessary and re-work the text to emphasize your client’s product and technology take. Then add white paper elements like a beginning executive summary and a problem statement. Follow these with your technology section, and then add details on how your client’s product will solve the problem, a customer case study, and a conclusion on how great the product is. (You can always switch the order by writing a white paper first, then editing the technology section into a bylined trade journal article.)

Product Briefs

The article can serve as a great basis for expanded product briefs – say the front and back of an 8-1/2x11, or a longer technical brochure. Edit the article for length and jazz up the text, and you’ve got a solid technology basis for the marketing document. (Good marcom can explain what a NAS gateway is, but not by yammering about “enterprise-wide intelligent data management portals.” Puts readers right to sleep.)

Booklets

One of the best press kits I ever saw included a sharp and informative booklet on the vendor’s technology. The booklet explained the general technology’s development and background, presented the vendor’s product, and listed clear customer advantages. It impressed both journalists and customers in a way a press release or even a white paper wouldn’t have done. Booklets are labor-intensive, so use your trade journal article as the basis for writing your own.

Speech Outline and Handouts

Use existing articles as the basis for client speeches and presentations. Since trade journal articles are usually vendor-neutral, they’ll work as-is for similar talks. When the presentation is about a product you can still use the article outline for the background technology and analysis then add product details, customer case studies, and Q&A’s. You can use article reprints as a handout, or turn the outline into speaker’s notes and use that instead.

If your client gulps at the cost of developing a trade journal article, don’t leave them gasping for breath – list all the ways they can leverage it to increase market exposure and profits.

Christine Taylor is president of Keyword Copywriting, which helps marketing and PR pros leverage their relationships with technology clients. E-mail her at http://www.keywordcopy.com

Source : http://www.streetdirectory.com/