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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




Esteem Wants to write chidlren's science articles Malaysia
Vocabulary Wants to improve vocabulary China
Book Report Writing a report on public health Ethiopia
Get Paid for Fiction Wants to start a publishing company USA
General How do you start write the first sentence? Malaysia
Get Paid for Fiction Want to get book published USA
General Wants to be a successful writer Indonesia
Get Paid for Fiction Looking for a literary agent and publisher USA
Book Report Lost work USA
Vocabulary Is good vocabulary necessary? Nigeria

Next 10


First 10 letters

Wants to write chidlren's science articles

Topic: Esteem


July 13, 2005

I want to take up writing as a part time career. I am interested to write non- fiction for children. Being a former marine scientist, I thought of introducing children to the underwater world. But I do not have much ideas to go about it. So I am contemplating on taking up a course in writing from The Writers Bureau LTD of Manchester. But I am very sceptical if they are genuine because their claims seems to be too good. Please advise what I should do or how I should go about my writing carrier.

Thank you.
Jay, Malaysia

Jay - Malaysia



Typically a writing course will give you practice writing. You may get some advice on style and grammar, etc. But the real part of writing non-fiction for children is in finding outlets for your writing.

I suggest that you seek out magazines for children that have science information articles, and then study them for the type of writing used. Check with your local schools to see if they subscribe to such magazines for the students or their library.

The book Writer's Market usually has listing of magazines for each group. Unfortunately, most magazines in the book are based in the U.S. You really need to start with magazines in your area.

Another possible source is a local newspapers. Often they would be glad to get a short article on a scientific subject for children and students.

If you can find some magazines that have similar articles, you can check with them for their requirements and then submit a short article. Short and simple is the initial route to go. Don't expect much--if any--financial return at first.

One good thing to do is to find a photographer or illustrator to work with on your articles. The combination of good information with some pictures or drawings will readily sell.

After you get enough material published, you may be able to put it all together into a book for children.

Try to get a copy of the Writer's Market book. It gives good tips on getting published.

Best wishes in your new career. It should be satisfying. The first step is the hardest.

Let me know how things turn out.

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Wants to improve vocabulary

Topic: Vocabulary


July 10, 2005

I don't have very good vocabulary, but if I really try to learn the words, I
can't memorize them. That will effect my in writing, and I won't be in a gifted and talented class. Therefore, I'm in China now and my vocabulary is the best NOW. What should I do?

Alice - China



The most important part of you vocabulary is to use words that other can understand. Some people with large vocabularies sound smart, but many people don't understand what they are talking about.

A good way to improve your vocabulary is to keep a small, pocket dictionary with you. When you are reading and run into a new word, you should look it up to see what it means. It is also a good idea to write down the word in a notebook of new words. Then try to use that word again in conversation or something you write. It is much easier to remember a word if you write it down and then use it.

Having that habit, you will gradually improve your vocabulary. Also note that you are learning words that are useful to you and not obscure words.

Best wishes in improving your vocabulary.

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Writing a report on public health

Topic: Book Report


June 18, 2005

Dear Sir,
I am doing my master in public health and i am wrting report on the give texts for the course.
I just wanted more information o how i can write good book report in my text books. I espcially have concern on how i can accomodate differet concepts in diferent chaprers. The concept i see in the texs are not as few as 3 but they are many.
thank you in advance

abdurahman - Ethiopia



You can use our program as a guide to get started. Outlining your material with the major headings and key points is a good method to organize an extensive report.

See: and for information on outlining.

I hope that helps in writing your report. Best wishes in your efforts and I hope you get a good grade.

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Wants to start a publishing company

Topic: Get Paid for Fiction


June 2, 2005

Hello. I am a screen/fiction/poetry writer and am starting an independent off/on-line magazine and an independent publishing company. Any helpful hints or directons you can point me in? Content and non capital resources are set and ready but I come mainly from the film world and am somewhat new then to the production, distribution and legal aspects of the magazine/publishing world.
Thank you




Most people who self-publish do so by formally starting a publishing company. Check out some books on self-publishing for details on forming a publishing company. One good one is "The Publishing Game" by Fern Reiss.

Just like any website, the online magazine or e-zine business has a revenue problem. People don't want to pay for subscriptions, and you can't make enough from ads.

If you have a hot niche for a magazine, you might be able to get funding. You could produce an e-zine for free and later offer a hardcopy version, if your ideas take off.

I think the best thing is to start by looking over some self-publishing books. They also cover distribution and legal issues. The business is very parallel to what you want to do.

Best wishes with your ventures, and let me know how things turn out.

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How do you start write the first sentence?

Topic: General


May 30, 2005

Hi, Thanks to helping people. the question i do know how to start write the first sentence, spelling wrong sometimes. for overcome the problem what i should to do.

krishnan - Malaysia



In the first sentence, you can write: "This article (or story) is about.." and then finish that thought. You can speak the sentence to yourself first and then write it down.

If you use a word processor to write, you can quickly check your spelling. If you are writing by hand, keep the words simple. Perhaps have someone look at what you have written before passing it on.

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Want to get book published

Topic: Get Paid for Fiction


May 12, 2005

i have creative mind and i write stories but do not know what to do with it.I am a book right now i know someone is not just going to publish my book just like that,but i have some really good ideas please help me out.

orane - USA



The best way to get started is to write some short stories or short-short stories for magazines. They can be ideas from your book or something else.

Go to the library or bookstore and get the book Writer's Market. That lists magazines that accept stories. Many pay, but you just want to get published at first. You can also try your local newspaper.

Once you have some stories published, you can try to get your book published.

Note that you should use the spell-checker and grammar-checker before sending out any story. Have someone look it over too. If you send out poor work, they probably won't ever use you again.

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Wants to be a successful writer

Topic: General


May 4, 2005

Dear Sir / Madam,

I was surfing the net and found this website on successful writing. I have a desire to be a writer and love writing so much. I would like to learn more on how to improve my writing skills to a literary level as I dream of writing a book someday.

Look forward to hear from you and start learning and improving myself in the field of writing.

Thank you very much.

With Kind regards,

Corazon - Indonesia



A good place to start is with short stories about people you know and your family. You can then practice on describing the people and events so that they can be visualized by others.

You can also start a journal of your observations and experiences. This all is a way to improve your writing skills, as well as to gather material for your book.

Before you write a book, it is good to write short articles for magazines or the newspaper. If you get published, that will give great encouragement.

Note that before writing a book, it is good to summarize your idea in a page or two to see if a publisher would be interested.

Best wishes in your writing career.

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Looking for a literary agent and publisher

Topic: Get Paid for Fiction


April 25, 2005

I am looking for a literary agent and a publisher for my book "full circle: escape from Baghdad and the return".

Can you help?
For details go to My website:

Saul - USA



You have a great subject for a book, and I am sure you can find a publisher for it. My suggestion is to get a copy of The Writer's Market. That book has a listing of many agents and publishers and their requirements.

You can also go to a local bookstore and find books that would be somewhat similar: Iraq, autobiographies, current events, etc. You can see who publishes those types of books as a starter.

Since you live in the NY area, you should have easy access to the top literary agents. Call them from the Writer's Market listing, and also send a short letter (not an email) with a paragraph about your book to try to get some interest. You should also be able to give an overview of your book in one or two pages.

Your website is a great tool and place to allow them to quickly get information about your book. Include your web address in any letters you send.

Best wishes in getting your book published. It will take a little persistence, but I am sure you will succeed. Let me know how things turn out.

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Lost work

Topic: Book Report


April 17, 2005

Thanks. I thought this was a good site until my daughter lost an hour of work. We'll be sure not to come back here. M. Cullen




I am sorry that your daughter lost an hour of work. But note that there is a warning that says you could lose your work if you computer runs out of memory or something happens on the Internet. The following is clearly stated on the page:

Note: Although you can use this tool to write a full report, it is a good idea to only do a rough draft. Information is held in your computer's memory, so it is possible that you could run out of memory or something could happen on the Internet and you could lose an hour's worth of work.

The best bet is to use the tool to create a short rough draft, paste the output to your word processor, save the file, and then complete the report on your computer."

We can't be responsible for someone not heeding the warning or for something that happens to your computer.

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Is good vocabulary necessary?

Topic: Vocabulary


April 14, 2005


I am a 200l student of English in a federal university in Nigeria. My term paper for this semester is: 'the acquisition of a good vocabulary is neccessary in composition. Discuss'.

I need your help to enable me write an outstanding paper.

Thanks in anticipation.

emma - Nigeria



Certainly a good vocabulary is important in being able to express your thoughts and ideas. The words must convey the message but they also should be such that the listener or reader can understand the meaning. Often people look at a good vocabulary as knowing long and difficult words. That makes them sound smart, even though no one can understand what is said or written. Soon people lose interest.

I hope those thoughts help you. Best wishes in your paper.

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