List of Topics


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




What happens to the turning points in a short film? Screen Paradigm UK
How can I test my writing ability? Motivations USA
I need a free English course General Egypt
Writing a fiction book Reader Interest USA
Writing a screenplay treatment Screen Paradigm USA
Need to write up meeting notes General Australia
Wants to become a film director Get Paid for Fiction USA
Material helpful but needs more details Book Report USA
What happens into the second act of a script? Screen Paradigm USA
How to proofread General USA
How do you put turning points in a script? Screen Paradigm USA
Haunted by a burning desire for writing Get Paid for Fiction UK
Is the hangman a mouse? Hangman USA
How do I go about getting a publisher? General USA
Wants to increase her vocabulary for ESL Vocabulary USA

Next 15 letters


First 15 letters

Screen Paradigm

What happens to the turning points in a short film?

November 5, 2007


Regarding turning points in the plot at page/minute 27 and 87

What happens if the film is shorter, e.g. 100 pages/minutes. Is it proportional? (100/120 x 27 = page 25. 100/120 x 87 = 7)


Joe - UK (14704)


To a degree the turning point is proportional to the length of movie or television show. Watch half-hour television shows to find the turning points. Often they have a commercial break at those points. Likewise, try to identify the initial turning point in various movies.

Of course, this is not a hard rule that it must be at specific times or pages, but it is a good rule of thumb, used to get and keep the viewer's attention and interest.

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How can I test my writing ability?

October 10, 2007


How can I test if my writing ability is improving? Do I have pass some examination to you?

Angel - USA (14507)


The more you write, the easier it should be for you. As your ability improves, the words seem to flow better. Note that you should always make sure your spelling an grammar are correct.

Carefully read your material yourself, putting yourself in the role of a reader of lower education than you. Is it easy to read? Can you understand the ideas?

It is good to get someone else to read what you have written to get an honest evaluation. If they have trouble understanding what you have written, then you need to work on that.

Remember that writing is communicating your ideas to another person.

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I need a free English course

September 4, 2007


plese i speak a little english i need a free english course to advanc myself

can you send to me this course, please?

thak you advance

mido - Egypt (14346)


I am sorry, but we do not offer a course in English.

But if you go to our Science section, there are a number of lessons marked "audio" that you can read while listening to the words:

Also, you can read our Famous Speeches while listening to the words:

Reading while you hear the words spoken is a good way to learn English better.

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Reader Interest

Writing a fiction book

August 10, 2007


Dear school of champions, my name is David vega. I started writing a fiction book a few days ago, And I dont know if I have to show it to an editor, or just keep writng until I finish my book and then show it? I am hoping that you may tell me so that I may know what I have to do. Thank you very much

DAVID - USA (14180)


To sell a fiction book, you usually need to go through a literary agent, who will then take your material to publishers. You can also approach publishers yourself. In either case, you first need to send a query letter, stating in a paragraph or two, what your book is about and perhaps something about your background. You could include a one-page summary of your story.

If there is some interest, you can send a sample chapter to show your writing style and ability. In the meantime, you continue to write your book.

When you finish your book, you can hire an editor to go over it and fine-tune the writing. If a publisher has shown interest, they will use their own editors.

Get the book "The Writer's Handbook" in a bookstore or from the library for a listing of agents and publishers, as well as articles on selling your work.

Best wishes on finishing and selling your fiction book.

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Screen Paradigm

Writing a screenplay treatment

March 27, 2007


You state that a "treatment" is a few page synopsis of a screenplay if I am correct. Also that its possible to sell a script with just a treatment. After I write this, where would I begin to shop for a buyer. Thanks for your time.

John - USA (13441)


I met a fellow who was able to get a job as a mail boy in one of the movie studies. (Actually, a plum job.) He got to know one of the producers and showed him a 1-page story synopsis. The producer liked it and started buying his story ideas at $6000 a pop. Although, his ideas must have been good, he also was able to get it to the right person.

Typically, you need an agent to sell your screenplay to a producer. You have to go through a process to get an agent. You pitch your story idea in one or two sentences. Then have a 1-page synopsis. If he is interested, show a treatment of up to 10 pages. If you have the full screenplay available, all the better.

The agent will then go through the same process to pitch and sell your script to a producer. But it is possible that they may like the idea but not your script. Even then, you can make out.

Note that before submitting a screenplay to anyone, it is a good idea to register it with the Writers Guild of america:

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Need to write up meeting notes

March 12, 2007


at work i need to be able to write minutes up and write letters to different business for upcoming projects and incvite them to join. have problems putting it all together what can i do.

Gina - Australia (13353)


Writing up minutes requires that you are able to take notes during the meeting. You need to write who was there, and who brought up certain points. You have to get a method of abbreviating things with key words, because you can't keep up writing everything. After the meeting, the key words should help you recall what was said. Keep things short and simple.

Usually, letters to other businesses have what they call "boiler plate" information that is sent to everyone. Look at old letters that were sent on a similar subject to get an idea of the words and format used in each. You should have an outline or some notes from your boss concerning the specifics of the letter.

I hope these ideas help.

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Get Paid for Fiction

Wants to become a film director

January 19, 2007


To begin with, my name is Jonathan and I'm eighteen-years-old. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a film director. I'm going to be graduating from high-school soon and college seems very far from reach. I have decided to pursure this dream one step at a time. I strongly doubt that I will graduate one day and become a film director the next. Even though I strongly have my sights set on being a film director, I have decided to recieve a career as a writer first. I am full of ideas that I know people would love to hear about. I was wondering if you could give me some information on how I would go about writing and publishing a book. I would like to know about all of the benefits, such as the money I could make. This is the only thing in my life that I know I'm good at without having any doubt. I would like to thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you as soon as possible.

Jonathan - USA (12912)


If you've always wanted to be a film director, why change directions now? Getting a book published is not easy, and making a lot of money from it is rare. How many successful authors can you name? Now compare with how many successful film directors you can name.

If you had a dream of being a film director, go for it. You don't have to go to college, but you should try to take some courses that relate to acting, writing, and directing. This can be done in night school or at your local community college.

Get involved with a local theatrical group. Find out who the director is and tell him that you are interested in becoming a director too. You can help them in their play production as an actor, stagehand or assistant to the director. This is a way to get firsthand knowledge of what it takes to be a director.

Also you can get up a group of friends and create your own short videos. You can post them on YouTube while improving your skills in the trade. Check into public access television in your community. You might be able to put on a half hour production that you direct.

Look into the biography of Steven Spielberg to see how he got started in the business.

This should all keep you pretty busy on developing your film director skills, as well as to help you make connections for you to achieve your dreams.

I hope these ideas help, and best wishes in becoming a film director.

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Book Report

Material helpful but needs more details

December 30, 2006


this website helps us about the plot, but i think in a main book report, you have to give description witht he characters, the setting and much more, this website could be improved but it helped me alot!! thanks

sana - USA (12718)


Thanks for the feedback. The book report program is pretty simple right now. We'll follow your advice and upgrade it to include more about characters setting and such.

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Screen Paradigm

What happens into the second act of a script?

November 6, 2006


What happens into the second act, say from page 30 to page 60. Page 60 is the midpoint, what should more or less happen at that point. From page 60 to the end of act 2, what happens during that stretch? Thanks. Your article has been very helpful.

Mark - USA (12341)


It is a time for developing the characters and their relationships, as well as for developing the plot.

You can study well-plotted TV shows to see what happens at the various points. Even a half-hour show can be split into the various dramatic parts. But often they build up until a commercial to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats.

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How to proofread

September 30, 2006


I HAVE written a short storie and a poeam and I am not sure how to proofread

sandra - USA (12047)


The very first thing is to use Word or your word processor to check the spelling and grammar. A good trick to use in proofreading is to start from the bottom and scan upwards through the poem or story. That way, you will see errors you made. Finally, it is good to have someone else read it to make sure their are no mistakes and that things make sense.

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Screen Paradigm

How do you put turning points in a script?

September 18, 2006


I like, and understand the paradigim, however, can you please share any examples of how to get your script to move people in the first ten, and ther after in these strategic turning points.Any help will do.

thank you.

Henry - USA (11947)


You really have to start with the basic idea of your story and have a general idea of your plot before you need to think of these turning points. In fact, you could outline or write your script before even considering them.

Suppose you have written a boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-wins-girl script. In order to get the audience's (and agent's) attention, you could start the movie off with a car chase, ending (at 10 minutes) in a minor wreck. At this point, you could introduce the boy, introduce the girl or have them meet. You've hooked the audience and got them interested in what is going to happen next.

The ending is more tricky, because you want to build up some suspense, even in a comedy. At 10 minutes before the end, issues start to be resolved.

Look for this in good movies. Rent videos or see them in theatres. TV editing off screws things up.

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Get Paid for Fiction

Haunted by a burning desire for writing

September 18, 2006


I'm haunted by a burning desire for writing. no matter how hard I try not to think I could't become a best selling author, the idea doesn't seem to bulge at all,so i decided to give it a go and i was amazed by the flow of a story 'pulled from a hat'. I'll soon finish but I dont think its any good, the dialogue is so wooden it could splinter. Anyway at least I thought it could get rid of the haunting.But i was completely wrong, it,s still there and the worst thing is that it grows stronger every day. It's a nightmare I'd do anything to do away with, i'm even scared that making it know i want to get rid of it would intensify its pursuit for my lame writting skills. But what could I do? I'm desparate for help, could you please do anything for me?

Adjani - UK (11952)


The biggest advice I can give to aspiring writers is: write, write, and write some more. The more you write and edit your material, the more your skills improve. You can not only write stories, but also write letters to friends, and write a journal of your activities.

It is better to start with very short stories, because you are sure to finish them and they help you work on dialog and plot structure. Short stories or short-shorts are easier to get published in magazines. It can be your start. Once you are comfortable and feel skilled, you can start on your novel. You can also try to get a book of short stories published.

Famous author Ernest Hemingway start by writing short reports for a newspaper. Then he wrote short stories about the war. And finally, he started to write books.

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Is the hangman a mouse?

August 31, 2006


I was just wondering if your hangman was supposed to be an animated "mouse". Thanks.

Aaron - USA (11805)


I think it was the logo that was used for the Java coding language from several years ago. All of the words seem related to the computer industry. Perhaps the game should be updated. It seems a little slow.

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How do I go about getting a publisher?

August 28, 2006


I am about 2 weeks away from finishing my first book. Going through the web for a publisher is a nightmare. What do I do and how do I go about it?

Marty - USA (11789)


Get a copy of Writer's Markets, either in the book store or library. They have a list of book publishers according to their specialties. Send publishers a query letter, telling about your book in a paragraph or two. The Writer's Market book usual has an article on Query Letters, their format and requirements. There are also some books that explain about these letters. You may have to include a self-addressed stamped envelope to get an answer.

Also write up a several page synopsis of your book to send as a follow-up. Having a complete book is good, because then you can send it or a sample chapter if they are interested.

The whole process takes a number of steps. You are building a relationship.

Parallel to this, also send your query letter to Literary Agents. They usually have contacts with publishers and can get them to read your material better than sending something to a publisher cold.

Writer's Market is a much better source for quality publishers and literary agents than the web.

Best wishes in your efforts to get published. Hope you have a best-seller.

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Wants to increase her vocabulary for ESL

July 22, 2006


Hi, my name is Clara and i'm a college student currently. English is not my first language and i started to learning it from scratch in grade 9 highschool from ESL classes. Ever since i been collecting new vocabularies, highlighting words in books, newspapers, etc. but after looking up each word's definition after a while i seem to have forgot lots of these words. So i just need some suggestions if i'm doing the right thing to improve my english skills and understanding. thank you very much

Clara - USA (11528)


It is not unusual to forget words you have seen only once, even though you have looked up the definition. Some words are not commonly used, so if you forget them, it is not a big deal. If you have to look up a word a second time, it is good, because the word is used more often and should stick in your memory.

When you write papers or do homework in school, you may often have several sentences where you have written the same word. In such a case, it is good to look up the synonyms of the word and use a different word for it. Like in the previous sentence, you could look up "word" and replace the second one with "expression" or something similar. The Thesaurus in MS Word is handy for doing this. In my opinion, doing that is the best way to build your vocabulary.

I hope these ideas help.

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