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Writing Feedback

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 141 comments and questions on Writing issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.



List of next 15 letters

Title

Topic

Country

Having problems Book report
 
Writes ghost stories Get Paid for Fiction
 
Wants to be technical writer Esteem
 
Writing argument speech Speeches
 
Writing business letters Business Letters
 
Writing a proper essay General USA
 
Screenwriting terms General
 
Persuasive speech on drugs Speech Aid
 
Wants success in writing General USA
 
Lawyer or writer Journal
 
Social work journal Journal
 
Writing courses General USA
 
How do I get published? Get Paid for Fiction
 
Wants to making writing meaningful Graphical Outline
 
Subscribe to course General Greece
 

Next 15 letters

 




First 15 letters


Book report

Having problems

December 17, 2003

Question

I have entered all th e requested information into the bookreview tool and it is staeing there is an erron. i need to complete the review and print but I see no directions on how to correct the error ar even print what I have done so far. PLEASE ADVISE, I am of course under a time crunch .
Jean Montana

Jean - (1629)

Answer

Since the material is held in your computer's memory, it is possible you put in too many words. The tool is meant to just get your started in organizing your report. The best bet is to put in a short rough draft, and then past the output into your word processor to add in more details and spell-check.

If you still have trouble, let me know.

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Get Paid for Fiction

Writes ghost stories

December 12, 2003

Question

I'm an author of a small town in Magnolia North Carolina who writes ghosts that take place back in the civil war. I want to publish and put pictures in a book. But I don't know any local publishing companies in North Carolina. Its going to be a book of short stories, and entitled Ghosts of Duplin, By David Cottle, with illustrations of my hometown, historical land marks of my county. When I graduate from high school im seriously going to work towars publishing my book and full filling my dreams. I have a packard bell and emachine which I type them on. Also next October and every october there after I will put my ghosts stories in the local paper for recognition on contiuing my skills as a writer and to make people believe that I can write. I also wanna make tons of money while interesting people who love ghost stories. Because I do. But I only write when I'm outta school for the summer and christmas.

Well it would be nice to see how yall can help. Please send me a packet in the mail on how I can fullfill this dream.

Carroll - (1567)

Answer

It is a good idea to put your stories in the local newspaper to garner a reputation as a writer and to build up your confidence.

To find a publishing company, check the book Writer's Market. You can check it out of the library or purchase one. The book lists publishers that specialize in the various genres. You should be able to find some that deal with ghost stories. The top publishers are in NYC. You may have to submit a letter and short outline of your story before they will consider looking at it. Writer's Market has that information.

Best wishes in getting your book published.

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Esteem

Wants to be technical writer

November 28, 2003

Question

Sir,
I want to become a technical writer.
i am computer science Post graduate.
Please suggest can i become a good writer or not?
Please evaluate following:
During my college days my teacher asked definition of PERSONALITY.
i immediately created a definition of PERSONALITY,
That was as follows
"A Personality is a combination of the intrinsic and extrinsic qualities of a person".
Teacher said that is really accurate and technical deifinition.
I was so happy that i could create such difiniiton.
Please reply soon.


Abhishek - (1397)

Answer

Although there are good jobs in computer science, it is even more valuable to be able to do the technical writing for various projects. You can combine both jobs in one.

A good place to find out about technical writing in your location is through the Society for Technical Commnication. See:
http://www.stc.org/chapter/chapter_search.asp to find a chapter in your location. You can visit a meeting as a guest and get firsthand information from other writers.

Also, see the pages on technical writing in our site at:
http://www.school-for-champions.com/techwriting/

Although your definition was good, you must have good grammar and spelling in ALL of your writing, even in emails. A technical writer must use the spell-checker and make sure writing is always correct.

Best wishes in your efforts to succeed. I am sure you will make it as a champion.

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Speeches

Writing argument speech

November 26, 2003

Question

I need to deliver a 5-minute speech on "Heredity and environment which is more influential". I find it very difficult to prepare the speech even though I use your computer programme.

S M - (1382)

Answer

I'll give you a logical flow for putting your speech together:

Start by putting together your research. Divide a sheet of paper into four sections. List items in favor of heredity in one section, against heridity in another, for environment in one and against in the final section. From this information draw your conclusion. Note that your conclusion may be that they are equally influential.

Now your speech will consist of your Introduction, where get the interest of the audience and explain that you will give the arguments and draw conclusions as to which is more influential.

The Body of your speech consists of the first section on the arguments for and against Heredity, the section section on the arguments for and against Environment, and then the third section of analysis and the conclusion your have drawn.

Finally, you wrap up your speech with a quick summary of what you have talked about.

Since this is a 5-minute speech, you don't want to give too many examples or arguments. Three in each section is fine.

I hope that helps. Best wishes, and let me know how it turns out.

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Business Letters

Writing business letters

November 26, 2003

Question

Dear School for Champions,
I wish to get these tutorials in my mail box daily. I am a banker and I want to learn to write business letters better than I do now. How can you help me? Please respond. Thank you.
Regards,
Nnenna Mojekwu.

Nnenna - (1384)

Answer

Unfortunately, we do not send out lessons. You are free to access any that are available in the site.

To help you in writing business letters, check the following websites:

http://writing.colostate.edu/references/documents/bletter/index.cfm?guides_active=documents

http://www.asu.edu/duas/wcenter/business.html

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/pw/p_basicbusletter.html

Best wishes in improving your skills.

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General

Writing a proper essay

November 14, 2003

Question

I'm looking for a professional writer to help me learn how to write a proper essay. I believe one of the areas that continues to stop me in my tracks is, I don't know how to narrow a topic down so it is manageable.
Thanks

Jenny - USA (1240)

Answer

The biggest thing is to define a specific topic about which you are writing and what point you are trying to make. Just writing about coffee means you could write volumes on the subject. But writing about the effects of coffee drinking on nervous people narrows the topic down considerably.

I believe that three major points makes for a good essay. Five, maybe.

Go through the speech writing guide at
http://www.school-for-champions.com/writing/speechaid.htm
It will help you see about limiting the topic.

To get assistance or advice, you might check the local colleges to see if an instructor would give you some advice for a fee. Look in the Yellow Pages to find writers in your locale and ask for pointers or leads.

Best wishes in your writing.

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General

Screenwriting terms

November 12, 2003

Question

I would truly appreciate an answer to some screenwriting terms? The following are frequently popping up: Treatment, production value,bookends, reversals,supernumerary,super,card stock,slug line,indian blanket, fly page,v.o.,o.c., o.s.,short slug line, log line, elipse, formula, formating, ?? Thanks loads!

- (1191)

Answer

Probably the most important word is treatment, which is a short summary of the screenplay and is often used to get an agent's or producer's interest in the script. I've seen some of the other words, and many seem to be more concerned with production shop-talk than things that really affect a screenplay.

VO is voice over, OC is off camera, and OS is off stage.

I haven't seen most of the other terms in scripts nor in writing books.

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Speech Aid

Persuasive speech on drugs

November 10, 2003

Question

I AM WRITING A PERSUASIVE SPEECH ABOUT " DRUG ABUSE" I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT DRUG ABUSE IS LIFE ABUSE AND ALSO THAT IT IS NOT A DISEASE AND THEY HAVE HAVE THE POWER ONLY THE CHOICE IS IN THEIR HANDS CAN YOU HELP WRITE MY ATTENTION DEVICE AND ALSO THE LINK TO MY PROBLEM WITH A VERY OUTSTANDING THESIS STATEMENT. I WANT TO USE PROBLEM SOLUTION STRATEGY AND I AM KIND OF STANDING AND STACKY IREALLY NEED YOUR HELP.
I WOULD REALLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU REPLY.

tHANKS.

- (1148)

Answer

In your speech, you want to persuade those in the audience that take drugs not to do so in excess. But also, you want to persuade those who don't take drugs that such abuse is bad.

Did you ever see the commercial where they showed some eggs frying? Then they said that is what happens to your brain, when you abuse drugs.

This is the type of attention-grabber you need. In fact, why not use something like that?

Like: "How many of you like eggs for breakfast? Have you ever seen eggs frying in the pot on the stove? That's the same thing that happens to the brain of someone who abuses drugs --- his brain gets fried.

Drug abuse is a major problem. I'm going to show how big a problem it is and the damage it can do to people who take drugs, as well as to their family and friends. The solution isn't easy, but I'm sure you will agree on it..."

I hope that gives you some ideas.

PS: Certianly don't write your speech in CAPS. No one likes to read all CAPS.

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General

Wants success in writing

November 10, 2003

Question

Dear Sir or Madam;

I am so glad with your website that told me about how to success in writing, so I want to get free online lessons. I hope that I will improve my writing skill.

Your sincerely,

Monita - USA (1151)

Answer

We don't have any other lessons than those on the site. You can look though them to give you a start.

The best thing to do is to start writing a journal, jotting down descriptions of things you see, your thoughts and feelings, and perhaps ideas for stories. Writing something every day gives you practice at improving your writing.

Your first stories should only be one or two pages long. They are called short-short stories. Writing some of those is a good way to get started. Some publications print short-short stories.

Check to see if there are some writing courses in your community under adult education. Then a teacher can help.

Best wishes in becoming a writing champion. It is hard work, but it is worth it.

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Journal

Lawyer or writer

October 1, 2003

Question

Hi! I have a huge dilemma. I am a college student, majoring in pre-law. For the past few years, I was convinced that I wanted to be a lawyer. I have attended some seminars on career exploration and they suggested some methods on how to determine what is the right career for me. Strangely, I did not fit with a law career but I ignored the results. At school, every time I write an essay for a class, I am being praised tremendously. I always thought professors and everyone else was exagerrating my talent. My honors english class professor asked me once what I am planning to do with my writing talent. I said:" what writing talent?":)..I was never aware of having one. Now for whatever reason I'm beginning to picture being a writer and I kind of like the idea but I'm not sure I'm good enough. I used to keep a journal and I enjoyed it a lot. Now due to a tight schedule I have no time for it anymore. I guess my question is: How do I know if I should be a writer? From what I've told you so far, do you think I even have a shot at it? I guess I'm insecure or selling myself short. Anything you can suggest to find out if this is for me? I would appreciate your help so much. Thank you,
Julie

JUlie - (707)

Answer

I met a fellow who received a degree in Chemistry, got a job and realized he didn't really care for the work. He went back to school and is now an accountant. In other words, it is tough to know what you really like to do as a profession.

You probably went into law because there were some things about it that appealed to you, and you have some skills in the area.

When you talk about being a writer, what type are you picturing? If you are thinking of becoming a fiction writer, remember that it is very, very tough to break into that field. That isn't to say that it is not worth taking a shot at it, if you have a good idea for a book.

There are numerous types of non-fiction writers, including marketing, technical, educational, medical and legal. Most people in those fields like to write and are good at it, but are not the creative type.

With skills in writing, you could also use your legal background for either doing legal writing or writing fiction based on the legal profession, a la Earle Stanley Gardner who wrote the Perry Mason series.

Probably the best thing to do is to take a look at the jobs available, both as a lawyer and as a writer. This can give you a good perspective on what you want to do in the future. Hopefully, you can use all of your talents, instead of picking one at the expense of the other.

Best wishes in your career, and let me know how things turn out.

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Journal

Social work journal

September 28, 2003

Question

I am a graduate student in the field of Social Work. My class assignment is to write a journal on one of my cases frro my intern. I need some special tips to make my jouranl stand out.

Thank-you

- (693)

Answer

It sort of depends on what type of journal is expected. Typically, it would be a daily summary of what happened and your thoughts and analyses on the case. If you do this methodically, with the same structure and including a dialog with yourself each day, it could be a good tool and also impress your teacher.

Most people would write it out in long-hand and then type it up, including spell- and grammar-checking. Others can think better while typing. An interesting look at the types of journals people are doing are blogs, where people post their daily random thoughts on their website or on a blogsite.

Another type of journal for a social worker could be a taping interviews with the people in a case and trasncribing the interview, along with personal comments and thoughts. That probably isn't your assignment, though.

I hope this gives you some ideas. Best wishes in your project.

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General

Writing courses

September 10, 2003

Question

Dear Representative,

I cannot figure out how to register for class. I am excited about learning from your website. Upon my gaining knowledge and becoming a better writer and reader, I would like to refer others to your site.

Sincerely,

Erica - USA (455)

Answer

The courses and lessons in the School for Champions are really meant to supplement other studies or courses in school. You can go through any of the lessons free of charge. Hopefully they will give you a headstart on becoming a better writer, as well as to excel in other areas of your life.

Best wishes in your studies.

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Get Paid for Fiction

How do I get published?

September 3, 2003

Question

If I have a book I've written that I believe could become a best seller (or at least sell enough for a publisher to make money) -

how would I go about looking for a publisher? After 1 or rejections should I stop submitting? Does it cost money to submit a book and how to I ensure no one steals my content.

Ken - (403)

Answer

The best way to start to get a publisher is to first get a copy of the book "Writer's Market" either from the library or a bookstore. It has an extensive listing of book publishers, as well as many tips on marketing your book.

You should have your story idea summarized in three formats: a paragraph, a page or two, and in about 10 pages. You never send the whole book until you are pretty well down the path.

Fiction is the most difficult to sell. How to books and biographies are the easiest.

Although some writers are able to sell directly to a publisher, usually it is best to get a literary agent interested in your work. The agent will then shop around the synopsis of the book to the publishers. They are doing this on speculation of 25% of your earnings.

The top literary agents are in New York or a few other major cities, near the publishing industry. It is possible to find a local agent through the Yellow Pages, but the agent may not have the necessary contacts.

You would typically send a query letter with a paragraph about your book or a one page summary to see if you can get some interest. You may have to query a dozen agents and/or publishers until you get a bite. A first time author must be very persistant and have a thick skin for rejection or no answer at all.

Get the "Writer's Market" and then go to it. Best wishes in your efforts.

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Graphical Outline

Wants to making writing meaningful

August 17, 2003

Question

I always write but my writing doesn't make a sense to me. What should I do to make my writing meaningful?

Please respond me,

Mustafe - (246)

Answer

The most important thing is define what you are writing about. What do you want to achieve in what are will write? Is there a point you want to make or some opinion you want to state? Perhaps write that item down as a question, just like you did in your email.

Keep whatever you are writing to one topic. It is better to have 3 essays on 3 different topics than to have one essay with 3 topics.

Then try to divide your topic into at most 5 points, arguments or examples. 3 is better.

So, what you are doing is to be very methodical in what you write. In this way, you will try to make sure it makes sense to you and others. Some people outline, some use graphical outlines and some just write out their thoughts. But it has to be in some order.

I hope these ideas help you.

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General

Subscribe to course

August 8, 2003

Question

hallo, my name is vassilis and i am from Greece. i am interesting to improve my english and of course to be better in written communication . i wonder if it is possible to participate in these free online lessons and if yes what else i have to do for this subscribing. i look forward for your message.

vassilios - Greece (140)

Answer

You are welcome to go through any of the lessons in the School for Champions website. There is no obligation or registration.

Unfortunately, we do not have any solid lessons to improve your writing skills in English. But there are a number of website that offer free lessons in this area:

http://www.churchillhouse.com/english/

http://www.englishlearner.com/online/index.shtml

http://www.english-online.org.uk/

I think these websites will be helpful to you. Let me know if they help.

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Next 15 letters


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