Mystery Writing in Five Steps
Bright Hub Education reports:
"Mysteries are addictive. Pick up a good one and you won't put it down until you're done. Then you'll want to read more from that author and about those characters. Learn to write your own addictive mystery story by following these five steps...Mystery is central to human thinking. What happened and why? This is the core idea to most great novels. But let's start small. Hone your skill with short mystery stories less than ten pages in length. Then consider tackling your own novel...Initially, spend all of your time crafting the finish. Your story will be no good if it doesn't end with a wham. Every word and paragraph leading up to the finale will be for nothing if you don't leave the reader wowed. Your conclusion must be surprising. Like a good roller coaster, it should make your readers lean in one direction and then whip them around. So think about the unexpected. Ask essential questions about your crime and criminal...Envision your final scene. Your sleuth discovers and reveals the last clues in a dramatic and entertaining fashion. Your criminal is exposed. The metaphorical curtain drops and the crowd applauds...If you can't feel this concluding moment and aren't excited to get there, get back to work on [it] until you have a finish line worth crossing. Once you have your finale, build your fictional machinery to carry your readers there...You need a lead character to build around. Craft one right and readers will want to read the next adventure. Free-write on every aspect of your character. The sleuth will flavor the entire story, so know the person well...You may want a super-intelligent, physically gifted wonder-detective, but be sure to have a character with balance. A perfect person with no flaws is tough for readers to relate to. A human with weaknesses and foibles will gain more empathy. A signature wrinkle, like being distracted by sweets or overly trustful of children, will give you a lovable and entertaining lead character...Looking again at the conclusion of your story, compose a list of clues for you[r] sleuth and reader to discover. Consider the order of discovery. What is the final clue that ties it all together? What clues are meaningless alone, but together with the other items [become] important? Show the readers something early that they won't take note of. Then, when another element of your mystery is revealed, that something becomes a big thing and it was right there all along. If you have an imperfect sleuth, he or she might have overlooked something the reader did see. Then your reader watches the sleuth proceed in the wrong direction. You can also do the opposite: [H]ave the sleuth two steps ahead of the reader. Your audience is wondering what your investigator is up to before realizing the truth. Be sure to lay out some false clues. This will help you draw your reader and sleuth in the wrong direction so you can surprise them in the end. Make them feel foolish for following a false lead. Make a trail that leads to the wrong culprit, the obvious choice, and then drop a clue showing why the person is innocent or even framed...Every element of your story should contribute to your theme. Begin with the place. City or country? A mystery in a crowded metropolis must deal with a multitude of potential witnesses and suspects. One taking place in a less populated area has fewer possibilities, but greater interaction among the people. Everyone knows everyone in a small town. Ten people in the same mansion is a classic setting. So is a locked-room mystery, where it seems obvious no one could have done it. Think about how the place, large or small, and the people affect the conclusion of your story. You choose the elements on which to focus...When you rewrite, notice if you wander onto an unimportant tangent. No one cares about the bowl of fruit on the table if it isn't poisoned. Keep your writing tight and focused on your finish...Mystery is a very dense genre, with many famous authors, sleuths, [sidekicks] and styles. But this is your story. Don't try to follow another's footsteps too closely. Write a mystery the way no one else has. Use bright, imaginative language and your unique rhythm. If you don't have fun writing, no one will have fun reading. Be excited to move toward your conclusion. Enjoy hanging out with your characters, especially your main one. Love reading your drafts aloud and savor the taste of the language. Create a signature style for yourself...Know that this can become a series. Develop a method and be organized so you can make another. For the next adventure of Detective X, have a different crime and criminal, but use the same rhythm and style. Build a following of loving readers."
"Writing philosophy essays doesn’t have to be boring...The trick is to make it interesting for you. There are different ways you can do this...[Y]ou have to ensure that you cover everything that is asked of you in the essay question. Here is how...A dialogue is a discussion between two or more people (or perhaps even one person and their conscience, or a better self). It is written much like a stage play is written. So when you write a dialogue[,] imagine that you are writing a stage play. It requires some sort of narrative at the start to introduce the characters (and perhaps the scenario) and then a discussion between the characters...You can include more characters if you need to. Importantly, however, you need to ensure that you answer the essay question in your discussion. This will include some preparatory work before you go ahead and write your masterpiece. In particular, this will require analysing [sic] the essay question and some initial planning...The first thing you need to do is to consider what you are going to do in your essay. This is a very tricky question, for how do you know what to do!? But we can break it down into two broadly different types: [E]ither you want to argue for a particular position, or you are really unsure and just want to conduct a discussion on the topic. Either option is as good as the other. Just remember who you are writing for. Basically, you aim to write for an educated layman. You don’t assume that they have any prior understanding of the topic on which you are writing, but you can assume that they have some degree of academic acumen. A great deal of planning should go into your essay before you start writing it...What you end up doing here greatly depends on the type of essay you are planning on writing. Remember, this is only a planning stage. You will not yet be writing the dialogue, [but] only planning what you are going to write...Make each character in your play hold a different position...The idea is to create a kind of brain map of the points you want to cover in your essay, so the writing stage is easy (well, easy enough!)...Most essays have an introduction, main body and conclusion. A dialogue is no exception. Well, it should have something that resembles these things, but it is a lot different. You cannot tell the reader exactly what you are going to do in the essay, but you should lead the[m] through it (with the dialogue) so they can follow what you are saying...Make it fun! That is to say, make sure that you enjoy what you are doing. There is no point in making the effort to write your philosophy essay in a dialogue and not enjoy[ing] it! Other than having fun, you would do well to read other dialogues. Almost all of Plato’s work is in dialogue form, and there are other good dialogues around, also."
Molly Thompson reports:
"An important aspect of professional growth is continued training, either in your area of expertise or in a new one related to your company's business. Research available offerings to identify the advanced training most relevant to your profession and most beneficial to your organization...Prepare your letter as a formal business memorandum. Flush with the left-hand margin, using all capital letters, type 'TO,' 'FROM,' 'DATE' and 'SUBJECT' lines, double-spacing between each line. Using initial caps only, fill in your boss's name on the 'to' line, your name on the 'from' line, the date...and the subject of your memo, which should read 'Opportunity for Training.'...Write the first paragraph of your memo to describe the training program, what it entails[,] and when and where it is offered. Highlight specific elements of the course that relate directly to your work and the company's business, particularly if those build on previous training courses previously approved by the company. Reassure your boss that you have researched a range of programs and determined that this is the most comprehensive or most relevant to your company's business, as well as being the best value for the cost...Explain in the main paragraph your rationale for participating in the training. Don't give vague reasons such as 'I'll know more about my job.' Instead, give specific examples of how attending the training will enable you to perform at a higher level in your current job. Focus on the benefits to the company, rather than to you personally...If the training will equip you to train others in the office in a valuable subject area, emphasize that as an additional benefit to your organization...Follow with a direct request to attend the training. If your participation will take you away from your work duties for a week or longer, explain how you will help co-workers manage in your absence. Outline the training costs, along with any related expenses such as travel or lodging...Close the letter by asking your boss for a response by a specific date that will allow you sufficient time to register by the program deadline but also give him time to consider your request. Reassure him of your availability to discuss the request or the training program in more detail."
"In the past, it was considered acceptable to simply refer to a person as he or him or man. However, along with the integration of women into the workforce came more respect for women as individuals, and it is expected that we show that respect in our writing...To maintain credibility and accuracy in your content, you should avoid using gender bias in writing...Using the command form of verbs allows you to use the second person (you and your) instead of the third person (he and she)...By making your nouns and pronouns plural, you can use they and their to avoid gender bias...In many cases, the pronoun is not necessary in the sentence, and it can simply be removed...An easy fix for gender bias is to replace the pronoun with a noun such as individual, user, participant, person, etc...Oftentimes, it is effective to repeat the noun instead of using a pronoun. This is especially effective when you have more than one noun in the sentence that the pronoun could be referring to...In some instances, you can replace the pronoun with an article (a, an, or the)...Sometimes the best route is to rephrase the sentence to avoid gender bias."
Kathryn Hatter reports:
"Small businesses must work to develop their products and services as...key elements of their growth and success...[Y]our sales staff is the vehicle that moves products and services into the hands of your customers...Write a sales training manual that will give salespeople the knowledge, expertise and tools necessary to excel...Create job descriptions for every sales position in your company and write out each job description completely in the training manual. Include hours, performance expectations and required sales quotas in the job descriptions...Describe each product or service the company offers in complete detail. Make separate entries, dividing each item with horizontal dividers. If you have enough text to fill an entire printed page, use one page for each product or service. Include information about key features and benefits that sales reps must learn – especially in comparison with competitive products or services...Formulate sales scripts for reps for each product or service. Include scripts for cold calling by telephone, for cold calling in person, for sales appointments and for follow-up appointments. Make the scripts as complete as possible, incorporating common excuses and resistance given by customers...Include copies of all order forms and company paperwork in the manual. Fill out each form with sales data as an example of how to use the forms...Explain any applications or software necessary for the sales process. Provide complete instructions for using the software, including photos to help show how to use the software...Create a 'Tips' section with suggestions and valuable sales methods used by successful sales reps in your industry or company. Make each tip a bulleted entry for easy reading...Include graphs, diagrams, photos and tables that explain how the products or services work. This section can help familiarize new reps with the sales process, and some might be suitable for using with customers to explain products or services...Make a glossary and place it at the end of the manual. Include terms, lingo and special words that are important in the industry. Provide pronunciation, if necessary...Add blank pages where sales reps can write notes that pertain to the sales process...Number the pages and create a table of contents to enable sales reps to find specific information quickly and easily. If pages of the sales manual are suitable for customer use...place these pages in a special section designated for customer viewing. Sales reps can create copies of these pages and use them in the sales process. Use a large font, bold headers and subheadings[,] and numerous graphics to create a user-friendly manual. Keep the sales training manual updated regularly. When you add new products or services, add these items to the manual as soon as possible."
Column Five Media reports:
"A powerful script is the foundation of a great video...But when you’re writing a motion graphic script, it’s about more than simple dialogue. A good motion graphic combines audio and visuals to tell a compelling story, yet many scriptwriters forget this. Too often scriptwriting and design are entirely divorced in the creation process. Writers churn out words, then kick their scripts to designers to execute. This happens for practical reasons, because you can’t move into design without a script. But what a script truly represents is the story you’re telling. That story is communicated through various elements, from voiceover to color palette, so every element should be considered from the start. This is why applying some design thinking to your scriptwriting process is tremendously beneficial. When you consider how your words will translate to design, you craft a script that ensures they will...This doesn’t mean you need an art director looking over your shoulder as you write, but there are specific things you can do in the scriptwriting process to make things easier for your design team down the line...Once you receive your creative brief, you know your goals for the motion graphic at hand. From there, you can call a creative meeting to talk high-level story. The goal here isn’t to outline a detailed script; it’s to identify the core story structure. What’s the premise? What are the plot points? Do you have a conflict-solution, setup-payoff, or cliffhanger? This conversation helps the team spot any gaps and start thinking about cool design opportunities that may be relevant to the script...In short, this conversation gets the creative wheels turning for everyone. Then you can produce a script draft and iterate accordingly...The biggest advantage (and power) of motion graphics is that they leverage both audio and visual channels. This actually makes a writer’s job easier. In such limited space, you need to make the most of what you have. Look for opportunities to communicate parts of your story via design. Any time you visualize information, you save space on the page...Always give your script a pass to spot opportunities to show, not tell...Sometimes writers like to add some of their own visual directions in a motion graphic script. This is understandable, as you may 'see' an idea as you write it. However, writers often make a mistake when they do this...You can certainly make some suggestions, especially for abstract ideas. But the designer is responsible for making sure the visuals communicate the story cohesively. Let them do their thing...Keep the script lean to give breathing room that allows the on-screen visuals to provide more color and bring it to life...If you have trouble cutting down, do a pass to look for alternate words. Reducing syllables or restructuring syntax can help you get the tightest script possible...The more you see your scripts turned into storyboards, the more you’ll get a sense of how your work translates. Stay open to communication and collaboration with your creative team and you’ll get a much better motion graphic."
Grace Ferguson reports:
"Many employers do not offer employees the option to request a paycheck advance, but some do. Each employer that does has its own rules for requesting an advance. This includes both how an employee qualifies for an advance and how it should be repaid...Some companies require employees to visit the payroll or human resources department to request a salary advance, while others require that they go through their supervisor or manager. In the former case, payroll or HR will probably give you a standard paycheck advance form to complete. If not, you may be asked to write a letter from scratch. In the latter case, explain to your superior why you need the advance so she may send the request for you to the next in the chain of command. The related department also checks your paycheck advance records; in many cases, you cannot request more than one salary advance per year and each requested amount cannot exceed the amount of salary due to you when you receive the advance...When crafting a salary advance letter from scratch, keep it brief, polite and to the point. Address the letter to the proper person...or department and date it. In the first paragraph, give the reason why you are requesting a salary advance. Typically, your situation must be an emergency...to qualify for an advance. Planned or recurring events usually do not qualify as an emergency. Therefore, in your letter, state the specific emergency that you are undergoing...Note that the hardship is a one-time event and that you do not plan to make a habit of making salary advance requests...In the second paragraph of the letter, state the amount that you are requesting. Carefully examine your situation so you ask for an appropriate amount...Also, say how you will repay the money, such as by payroll deduction. If you can repay the total advance before your next paycheck, say so in the letter. Include the date you will make the payment and the method, such as money order or personal check...End the letter by thanking the person to whom it is addressed for considering your request and asking them to contact you if they need additional information or have other guidelines for you to follow. Proofread the letter and correct mistakes, if necessary. If you are completing a standard request form instead of writing the letter from scratch, fill out the form completely, sign it...and obtain the required signatures, if applicable...Give the letter to the required person or department within the requested period, such as 24 hours in advance. In most cases, the payroll department double-checks the letter to ensure it has the appropriate signatures before it processes the check. When you pick up your check, you may be asked to sign a repayment agreement. Honor the repayment agreement as agreed...Requesting a salary advance may indicate to your employer that you are having financial issues; therefore, use one only as a last resort. Try other ways of obtaining the funds, like a short-term loan from a credit union or, if you are comfortable with the idea, from friends or relatives."
Nicole Grizzle reports:
"Plot twists change how your audience thinks about your story by blowing their minds...The absolute best plot twists stick with your readers for years. Every author wants to have their audience feel this way about their writing. Yet, many times their plot twists fall flat. Instead of igniting passion, their plot twists have people yawn...In general, there are three types of plot twists.
1. Plant the idea that something strange is happening.
AllBusiness Editors reports:
"The opinion and editorial sections of newspapers, better known as the op-ed pages, remain one of [the] print medium’s most unique and well-read features. The points of view expressed by guest columnists and letters to the editor can grab the attention of readers and spread influence in the community. You can establish yourself as an expert in your field as well as an engaged member of your community while at the same time providing a powerful platform for promoting your business by writing a column or letter to the editor of your local newspaper...Choose a topic: There’s certainly no shortage of news (international, national and local) to sound off about on any given day, and that could put you front and center in the community conversation. Topics may range from large, far-reaching issues such as the current financial crisis and changing political winds (with you giving a local perspective and sharing your own unique point of view) to local events a businessperson such as yourself may be uniquely positioned to shed some light on...State [up-front] what your opinion is and why you are positioned to illuminate...on the issue. It is important in a sea of information inundating the public all the time to state your case forcefully and to grab the attention of readers...Once you’ve expressed what the topic is, detail point-by-point, by way of your own experience, why you are uniquely qualified to take a stand...To sound off on a proposed law that could impact your business and others and attach your name and that of your business to that opinion is one thing. But steer away from extremely polarizing issues...Remember to stress your connection to the community even as you share your unique business perspective. If the topic involves your city’s public schools, be sure to state that you graduated from this or that high school, or that your children attend such-and-such a grammar school. Be sure to promote that you are a local business owner for X number of years, mentioning your business name. (You will also sign the letter or column with your name, title...and name of your business.)...Once you’ve put the finishing touches on your column or letter and have a trusted second party with strong grammar skills...read through it and give you their two cents’ worth, consult your local paper to find the editor in charge of the op-ed section. This is as easy as a phone call to the newspaper office or a look at the paper’s [website]. Editors typically are inundated with phone calls, so it’s usually best to contact them via e-mail. In that correspondence, introduce yourself, state briefly why you’re writing the letter or column, and include the submission in a Microsoft Word attachment. Be sure to include your contact information in the e-mail, as typically editors will want to confirm information. Once your column or letter is published, you could be well on your way to establishing your voice in the community and generating valuable publicity for yourself and your business. Furthermore, as you establish yourself as an 'expert' who has been quoted in the local press, you could be sought out by one of the paper’s reporters for a news story about which you could share your expertise or even be sought out by other media, including local television or radio stations."
Terry Masters reports:
"Withdrawing from a business relationship can be easier if you put your intentions in writing. A letter to withdraw from a limited partnership doesn't have to be a complicated document, but it must comply with any requirements of state law or the company's partnership agreement...Before you consider writing a withdrawal letter, ensure you have the right to withdraw from the business relationship at will. State law allows partners to place withdrawal restrictions in the certificate of limited partnership and the partnership agreement, so check both documents to determine whether you'll need to find grounds that will allow you to withdraw from the partnership early...Limited partnerships are organized under state law. All states allow partners to withdraw from a partnership at will -- absent any withdrawal restrictions -- by providing notice of the partner's intent to withdraw. Most states refrain from defining adequate notice. Instead, they let the partnership set withdrawal notification requirements in the partnership agreement. However, some states do mandate that the notice be provided in writing or provided a certain number of days in advance of the partner's final day of involvement with the business. Check for any state requirements that govern your withdrawal letter to ensure compliance with the law...Your limited partnership's partnership agreement likely spells out exactly how a partner can withdraw from the business, including a detail of any required information that needs to be part of the withdrawal letter...For your withdrawal letter to effectively express your intention to withdraw from the limited partnership by a specific date, it must adhere to any requirements established by the company's partnership agreement...A partnership withdrawal letter doesn't have to be in any particular format. Include a date at the top of the letter. Address it to the general partner if you're a limited partner or to all of the partners if you're a general partner. Alternatively, address the letter to anyone specified as the proper recipient by the partnership agreement. The body of the letter should simply ask the recipient to accept the letter as evidence of your intention to withdraw from the partnership by a certain date. If you're requesting an early withdrawal from a limited partnership that restricts withdrawals, state the basis of your request to be let out of the partnership early. You can include any other information that you deem appropriate. Sign the letter, and send it by registered mail so you have proof of delivery."
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