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Feedback Q&A on Writing

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 10 letters




Journal I want an easy way to improve my writing USA
Get Paid for Fiction Can I make money writing fiction? USA
General How to write a paragraph? UAE
Motivations What motivates people to succeed? UK
Get Paid for Fiction Where are the best places to sell scripts? USA
Book Royalties Wants to make top royalties from book India
Speech Aid Words are really articles Canada
Routes in Professional Writing How can I begin being a writer? Ghana
Book Royalties Offered 7 1/2% royalties on my book USA
Vocabulary My mother's vocabulary is much better than mine Ghana

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First 10 letters

I want an easy way to improve my writing

Topic: Journal


January 4, 2010





The best way to improve your writing is to write something every day. Writing your journal. Send e-mails to friends. Write letters. You can even get a blog to write in your thoughts.

You cannot depend on the other people to improve your writing, however it is often good to have others read your work and suggest improvements. But the main thing is that you must write, write, write.

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Can I make money writing fiction?

Topic: Get Paid for Fiction


September 13, 2009

Well, if i'm here i am new at this. What I'm wondering, is there a realistic chance to make money writing fiction? Looking for a career change. I have always enjoyed reading and writing. I feel i have a talent for fiction writing, and can produce a worthy peice of fiction. I would very much like to explore this option. Thanks

david - USA



If you are good at writing, there are jobs available in the business, technical and marketing writing fields.

It is not easy to earn a living at fiction writing. For one thing, you are selling individual projects to publishers. Although some authors of best selling books can make a lot of money, most are simply lucky to get their book or story published.

Pick up a copy of Writer's Market at the library to see where you can sell your writing. Also see our section on Fiction Writing at:

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How to write a paragraph?

Topic: General


August 26, 2009

How to write a paragraph?




A paragraph is at least two or three sentences on a single thought. Some paragraphs are many sentences long. Look at any of your books to see how they have several sentences in a paragraph and then a break to the next paragraph and slightly different thought. This email is an example of one paragraph.

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What motivates people to succeed?

Topic: Motivations


July 4, 2009

Hi i have an essay about the desire to higher status and greater wealth is what motivates people to succeed are you agree or not pls let me know about vocabulary that i can use on it and guide me to write

mojdeh - UK



People are motivated to succeed for various reasons. Those who are seeking wealth know that it can allow them to buy what they want, as well as to gain in status and feel more important than others.

But there are others who are motivated to do something they love to do. They are not as concerned about money, although they would like to gain recognition. Artists are a good example of this.

Finally, there are people who are motivated to help others and make a difference in the world.

The ideal motivation that would result in success and happiness would be to do what you love to do, to have it help out others, and also to make good money from doing that.

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Where are the best places to sell scripts?

Topic: Get Paid for Fiction


February 7, 2009

where are the best places to sell scripts. i would prefer not to sell mine online.

colin - USA



Television and movie studios will not accept unsolicited scripts and will return them unopened or simply discard them. You must go through an agent to have your scripts submitted.

Typically, television shows do not buy individual scripts. But they will look at a sample script to decide whether to hire the writer on staff. Submitted scripts don't have to be for the show, but they should be the same type (i.e. comedy script for a comedy show, etc.)

Movie studios will purchase scripts or the rights to scripts.

To get an agent, you must send a query letter, telling that you have some scripts, a sentence about your story an a little about your background. Most won't be interested, but you may pique the interest of one who will agree to represent you. Obviously, the agents should be located in LA, Beverly Hills or Hollywood.

Get a copy of Writer's Market for a listing of agents and their requirements.

PS: Don't bother to send letters or email to agents or studios without properly capitalizing sentences.

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Wants to make top royalties from book

Topic: Book Royalties


December 2, 2008

I live in India and wish to approach a publisher who is a good pay master as i strongly feel that the book which i wish to publish is best in quality and not available anywhere and hence will b in demand.

Since i don't know A B C of royalty, how do i bargain with the publisher? How do i know the ideal rate for me? y not opt for a lump-sum amount whether the book sells or not?

pl advise

mahesh - India



The most important issue you should concentrate on is being able to convince a publisher to publish your book. That should be done before even thinking of the royalties, because it is the most difficult thing to do.

You need to start by sending a query letter with a short summary of your book concept to various publishers. Start with the top publishers that have handled bestsellers and work down from there. You can also approach literary agents who can help you find a publisher and negotiate the best terms.

To get the very top royalties, you need to get at least two publishers interested in your book. Then they will bid against each other to provide you with the best cash advance and royalties.

Realized that a publisher is in the business of making money by selling books. They are putting up a substantial cash investment to publish the book. They are not in the business of charity to give authors lump-sum money whether of the book sells or not.

Again, I want to emphasize that your first objective is simply to get the book published. Even if you do not make good royalties from the book, need a published author can open the doors to other moneymaking opportunities.

Best wishes for success in your new book.

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Words are really articles

Topic: Speech Aid


August 24, 2008

I think there is an error on your web site. The words 'a' and 'the' are described as prepositions. They are articles -- though I see them described as adjectives on a universtity writing web site, and I suppose you could make a case for that...

Mary - Canada



Thanks for pointing that out. I made the correction. They certainly aren't adjectives.

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How can I begin being a writer?

Topic: Routes in Professional Writing


April 25, 2008

how can i begin and when can i begin.

john - Ghana



To become a professional writer, you can find out if they use writers at your job or you can look for writing jobs. You can also write articles for newspapers or magazines. Often you can write those for free until they feel you are good enough to be paid for the writing.

Look over our other writing lessons and write as often as you can. Note that you need to use proper punctuation and capitalize certain words like "I" for someone to think of you as a professional.

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Offered 7 1/2% royalties on my book

Topic: Book Royalties


March 25, 2008

I have been offered a contract by a book company with a paperback royalty of 7 1/2% of the retail price on the first 10,000 copies and 8% of the retail price on all copies sold thereafter. Is that a fair and reasonable price, if the book is only to be printed in paperback?

Dorothy - USA



7 1/2% is a reasonable royalty on a paperback, although on the low end. You might try to negotiate more on the sales over 10,000. Perhaps 9% or even 10%.

The big concern is being able to effectively promote and market your book. You can't completely depend on the publisher. Discuss promotion with them to see how you can increase your book sales.

Best wishes on a successful book.

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My mother's vocabulary is much better than mine

Topic: Vocabulary


January 25, 2008

my mum's vocabs are 100 times good than mine, though i've high level education degrees than her. i don't seem to understand how? though she would always urge me to keep reading anytime i'd this issue.

thaddeus - Ghana



Some people are better in certain areas than others. My mother was good with numbers but not with words. On the other hand, my father had a good vocabulary but was not good in arithmetic.

Although reading can help you improve your vocabulary, what is really needed is to pay attention to words--especially those you don't understand. When you hear intelligent people talk, make sure you understand the words they use. You can even keep a notebook to write down a word to look up later.

The motivation for having a good vocabulary is that people often judge others by how well they speak or write. That does not mean using long or difficult words. Instead, it means using words correctly.

Listen to your mother when she talks and learn from her vocabulary.

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