Alicia Anthony reports:
"Explanatory, otherwise known as expository, writing presents a particular viewpoint or reports a certain event or situation...Rather than criticism or argument, analysis is the main goal evident in an explanatory essay. This analysis can be achieved by comparison, contrast, definition or example. This type of essay is commonly assigned as a classroom evaluation tool...The introduction of your essay should describe the problem, event or issue as clearly as possible. Be straightforward. State your thesis clearly and concisely. Make sure that your thesis is appropriate for the guidelines of the assignment. Since the thesis statement drives the rest of the paper, it is important that it can be easily supported with facts. Thesis statements for expository or explanatory essays should not take a position or voice an opinion...Supporting paragraphs should address the thesis statement. Each paragraph should include only one general idea or supporting detail. This helps the essay remain clear and ensures greater readability for your audience. Before beginning your supporting paragraphs, ensure you have proper sources that will enable you to contribute sufficient evidence to back up your claim...Although explanatory essays by nature must stick to the facts, creativity cannot be underestimated. You want your reader to remember your essay. Try to find little-known or particularly interesting facts to help support your thesis. This will ensure that you will leave a lasting impression on your audience...The conclusion of your essay must be effective and logical. No new information should be introduced at this point. Synthesize all of the information and evidence you have used throughout the course of your essay. A main thread should emerge as you analyze the information you have presented thus far. That main thread will be your conclusion, which should reinforce your thesis."
Sam Ashe-Edmunds reports:
"Even though an exploratory project doesn’t commit funds to specific actions, it may require a small business to commit personnel and time to the initiative. To determine whether or not you want to begin the research involved with an exploratory project, it’s a good idea to write a proposal outlining the broad strokes of the project. You can break down the process of writing an exploratory project proposal by organizing the document contents first, then using a step-by-step method to finish it...Write a list of the possible benefits of the project. Don’t conduct research to determine the exact benefits of the project, since this document is intended to propose further research to determine this, or the actual project. Benefits may include increased sales, revenues or market share, or decreased costs, production times or quality control problems. Write the methodologies you will use to conduct the project if it’s formally approved for development. Include research sources and staff...Create a cover page for your proposal that includes the project name, company name, author and contact information. Create a contents page that divides the proposal into different sections, such as reasons for conducting the project, staff, costs and timetable. Include an appendix that includes any support documents, charts, graphs, [budget or] other information not appropriate for the main body of the proposal in an appendix...Write an executive summary, which gives the benefits and methodologies of the report. Do not include details or support for any claims or suppositions — save that for the main body of the proposal. Tell the reader what the report includes and the final recommendation...Write the proposal following your contents page. Use headings and sub-headings to break the information into manageable sections readers can easily follow. Begin by describing the reason for pursuing the exploratory project, which is often the benefits. Follow the SWOT method, discussing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved with pursuing or not pursuing the exploratory project. You most likely will need to provide these as perceived, potential or possible factors because you are only proposing to research these in further detail with the project. Provide costs, timetables, staff needed and other logistics of conducting the exploratory project. Limit these to how they pertain to the project, not the solution...Finish the main body of the proposal with a summary of the contents. The executive summary, body and final summary should tell readers what they are about to read, [then] give them the information, then tell them what they just read."
A.L. Kennedy reports:
"A durable power of attorney document gives another person the power to make your healthcare or financial decisions if you become incapacitated. The power to handle your affairs for you lasts for as long as you are unable to make decisions yourself. Writing your own free durable power of attorney may be a good choice if you are trying to handle your own end-of-life affairs at minimal costs...Write or type the date, your full name, and a statement that the document is your durable power of attorney and that you understand the powers the document gives another person if you are incapacitated. Put this information at the top of the page...Name the person to whom you wish to give power of attorney. You may also wish to include additional identifying information, such as his relationship to you or his address. Specify whether he should have durable power of attorney for healthcare decisions, financial decisions, legal decisions[,] or all three. Specify that the power of attorney should last only as long as you are unable to make decisions for yourself, and that it should expire once you regain the capacity to make your own decisions...Write down any specific instructions you wish to leave with the person to whom you are giving power of attorney...Sign and date your durable power of attorney at the bottom of the page. In most states, a durable power of attorney must be witnessed by at least two witnesses in order to be legal. Your witnesses should be of sound mind, at least eighteen years of age, not related to you[,] and not the person named to receive power of attorney in the document. Some states also require a durable power of attorney to be notarized in addition to being witnessed."
Beth Rifkin reports:
"To have the concerns or comments in your letter read by the appropriate officials, it needs to reach the right government agency. Addressing the letter clearly and correctly is important. An envelope that is sloppy, dirty, wrinkled or that contains an address scribbled with poor penmanship could be tossed aside without receiving further attention. By following proper and professional etiquette and standards, you stand a greater chance of having your letter be taken seriously. Identify the person to whom the letter is being sent. If it is a citizen working in the government agency, you would follow a standard business format for writing his name in the address...Document the office on the second line, such as, 'The Office of the Attorney General.' Write the street address, with a particular floor or suite, if applicable, on the next line. Write the city, state and zip code on the following line. Form a salutation that is in line with the particular person and the position that she or he holds. For the Attorney General, the proper salutation would be, 'Dear Mr. Attorney General,' or 'Dear Madam Attorney Genera[l].'"
Dana Kaye reports:
"If you are guilty of any of the following social media practices, for the sake of your readership, please stop immediately...A hashtag is not the secret to getting discovered, and no one meaningful is going to follow you based on a tweet in which eight out of 10 words are hashtags. Instead of trying to game the system and latching on to various trending hashtags, consider posting meaningful content that would attract your target audience...[Y]our social media followers expand beyond your friends and family. Your followers are your readers, your publishing team, librarians and booksellers. I see too many authors who forget about this, and continue posting about all aspects of their life, from photos of their breakfasts to complaining about writing and publishing. You are a public figure; your social media content should reflect that...If your Facebook posts automatically aggregate to Twitter, you’re not using either platform effectively. Facebook posts tend to be longer and meatier; tweets, on the other hand, are short and pithy. If your lengthy Facebook content is tweeted, those tweets will be cut off with an ellipsis, and followers won’t understand your content. If you post shorter, pithy content to Facebook, that content won’t perform as well. Take an extra few minutes and translate your content for both platforms...I can safely say that all of us, at one point or another, have received a Facebook message or @ reply on Twitter from someone asking us to check out their book. Social media is not about the hard sell, which, by the way, is the quickest way to have your account blocked...When tragedies like Sandy Hook or the Orlando shooting take place, no one wants to hear about your upcoming book tour or recent four-star review. If you’re going to schedule posts ahead of time, establish a system that reminds you when posts are going out, or stay attuned to the news cycle so you can cancel content in the event of a national emergency...Yes, I know your book is out today. And yes, I know you have a newsletter. Yes, I already saw your tweet about your book tour. If you want to run one in-case-you-missed-it (ICYMI) tweet at another time of day, or remind me once a month to sign up for your newsletter, fine. But if I see the exact same tweet 3-5 times a day? The only thing you’ll get from me is unfollowed...We all have opinions. But as a public figure the quickest way to alienate half your audience is to post content that offends or enrages them. If you don’t write about sex, politics or religion, then adhere to dinner party rules and don’t post about them...You wouldn’t send a book [in to] your editor without giving it a read through, so why would you post on social media without rereading your content? Tone is hard to convey on social media; that’s why I recommend reading your posts aloud in a deadpan tone. Does it convey the same attitude or message? Or could people take it the wrong way? If there’s a chance you’d offend someone or the post would come off as bullying or antagonistic, delete or revise...The purpose of social media is to establish your online brand and create relationships with potential readers and influencers. How can you do that if you’re only re-tweeting and sharing other people’s Facebook posts, not posting any content of your own? When I see authors only sharing other people’s content, it’s usually because they’re unsure of what content they should be posting...Before you post your first Instagram photo, before you sign up for Tumblr or Snapchat, it’s imperative that you develop a content strategy. You wouldn’t start writing your book without an idea of the characters, plot and genre. So why would you start posting to social media without a plan?"
Erick Kristian reports:
"A history report can take several forms. The report can be a general research paper and give an overview of a specific event...Or the report can be specific and discuss a particular aspect of a historical period...Either way, the process is more or less the same. Describing all the key facts and not using too much opinion (unless requested by the instructor) ensures a solid base for the report. Answer the question or topic title. This should be the main focus of the report. If the report topic is a generic research paper and an overall summary is the topic at hand, then give as complete and comprehensive a review as possible of the events that took place. If the report is more specific, then focus only on that topic and give a brief overview of the general situation...Learn about the topic. Before writing can begin, the student must have a good general understanding of the topic. Use a variety of materials, such as the Internet, encyclopedias, academic journals and history texts. If the topic is objective or argumentative, then look for content that supports the view of the topic. Write an introduction. The introduction should have an overview of the general event(s) and go from general to specific. The introduction should end with the thesis statement. The thesis statement is the purpose of the report[,] what the author is trying to prove or explain. Even a research paper will have a thesis...Create at least three strong arguments if the report is argumentative. Each argument should be supported with two or three facts supporting it. The facts should be based on cited materials and referenced in the report's 'works cited' or bibliography. Stick to the facts and avoid adding in opinion unless asked for. This will be the main body of the essay. Stick to the word count or page limit specified by the instructor. Outline the major events if the paper is research-oriented. Research papers do not necessarily have arguments but they are steeped in fact. The research paper must stick to the events. If there are varying versions of the facts, then state which side made what claims. Prepare a conclusion. The conclusion should go from specific to general. It should wrap up all the arguments concisely and reiterate the point of the topic or thesis statement. Always include a well[-]organized works cited page or bibliography. The instructor will likely suggest a format for citing references; adhere to it. Revise your paper. Look for ideas or statements that are not necessary and remove them. Proofread to remove grammatical and spelling errors. If you ar[e] not good at proofreading your own work, have a friend or tutor do it for you."
Carol Stephen reports:
"Entrepreneurs often say that they’d like to blog. They put someone on the job (often the poor intern who has no idea how to motivate others, let alone get the blog going), and hope for the best. What happens, though? The blog is dormant, wakes up from time to time, goes back into a Rumpelstiltskin-like slumber, and then languishes. While a team approach works well for some, putting a single (often inexperienced) person in charge of a business blog isn’t the best idea, in my opinion. A much better idea? Put two people in charge, and let them motivate each other...Drafting in the sense of writing means creating a rough outline. Drafting in the aerodynamic sense, and for a business, can mean that everyone gets a break and works off each other...I like the idea of appointing a leader, but with a twist: have two leaders who are buddies with a similar work ethic and writing skillset...With two people in charge of blogging, neither of them bears full responsibility. And they can brainstorm with each other, pass the writing back and forth, and one can take over when the other is ill or on vacation. Blogging is critical for a startup or for anyone who wants to be found online. In my opinion, it’s a responsibility that shouldn’t be left to an intern, but given to someone on the team who is more invested in its long-term success. And when one person runs out of ideas, the other person can say[,] '[W]hat about this? [Y]ou’ve never covered this before!' If you want your business to succeed, hire someone whose primary job is to create content. This can mean social media posts, but more importantly it means original writing that positions your brand as a leader. Writers can not only write blog posts, but [also] create playbooks, headlines for curated content, online materials, and slideshows. You want someone with experience as a writer, and that includes good grammatical skills. There’s nothing worse than seeing good content ruined by spelling errors and bad grammar...The idea of having a writer for a movie might sound silly and straightforward. But often movies with fantastic special effects seem to miss one element: a writer. As a writer, this is offensive. Why couldn’t they hire one writer to make sure the script makes sense? Aside from continuity editing, the writer’s job is to create dialog that flows and sounds natural. Like a movie, your business needs a good writer, too. Preferably two or more writers!...Whether you’re a solopreneur or a brand, I highly recommend the blogging buddy route...Content has become more important and a blogging buddy can help your cause."
Virginia Van de Wall reports:
"Decide between omniscient or limited. Determining which third-person POV you’re going to write from is crucial. With omniscient third-person, you, as the narrator, are all[-]knowing and can write from multiple characters’ POVs. With limited third-person, you, as the narrator, can only see into the mind of one character. Limited-third person is definitely the more popular choice, as omniscient can be hard to perfect. Are you writing in the past or present? It’s very easy for writers to switch back and forth between past and present without even realizing it, resulting in seemingly sloppy work. The trick is to be conscious of your tense as you write...Have a defined voice. Make sure you have thought about your characters’ personalities before you begin writing...Once you have determined this, make sure to really make their personalities and voices clear when you write. As the narrator, your scenic descriptions and explanations should be neutral, but the minute you enter your character’s mind your words should be bursting with personality...Don’t get choppy. When writing in the third person, it’s easy to fall victim of the ‘he said, she said’ narrative. Instead of describing your scene in the ‘She did this. She did that. She thought this.’ fashion, make sure to spice it up and add colorful language. Is there another way you could describe your MC? Could you combine a few sentences to make a more coherent thought?...Stick to your POV. After you have started writing, make sure to stay consistent. You don’t want to switch between the first[-]person and third[-]person perspective and confuse your readers!"
David Huyck reports:
"Whether you are working on a story of your own, like me, or illustrating the work of another author, the manuscript allows you to navigate through the period of being lost in a sea of nebulous bits of images and / or snippets of unattached text. Once you have the finished story in writing, begin by reading it aloud several times to feel the rhythm of it. I like to mark up the manuscript with pencil, dividing up the story into spreads (everywhere two pages face each other is called a spread), deciding where to put all those critical page turns, which are the secret to a picture book's magic. As I read, in my mind I am picturing the page layouts in broad strokes — a mountain here, the moon up there, the main character creeping through the bushes over there, etc. — all in an effort to plan out the way the book works. The process here is the same as when you are illustrating a story written by someone else. When I'm done, the text is all marked up with ideas and notes and sketches, too...At the first pass, just try to feel out the most instinctual page turns, but after you get a loose sense of it, you need to make sure it is going to fit into the traditional picture book lengths...[Y]ou need to leave space for the title page and the copyright and dedication page. There are ways to fudge it, but there are basically two conventions: The 'end matter'[,] as these pages are collectively called, can go in the front, taking up three pages, usually, or they can be divided to the front and back, and then they will take up two pages. However, there are always exceptions...All books must have pages in multiples of four — this is because the pages are made by folding a sheet of paper in half, which creates a first page outside the fold, two facing pages inside the fold, and then a fourth page on the back...[Y]ou need to plan out each page and spread. As is common to most visual storytelling, like film, animation, and comics, I use a storyboard to work out these details. My storyboards are iterative. I start with a template of small rectangles where I can try out broad ideas. I have a template that works for a vertical page layout, and another for a horizontal layout. As I work out the general page designs and the lights and darks of each spread, I begin to work larger and larger, usually going through the entire story at least three times, adding detail and refining the image at each larger stage...All along the way, you'll be able to get a real sense for exactly how the theoretical book will function once it becomes a real object. You can edit out the parts that aren't needed and quickly try out details to see if they make the story more clear. In the end, it means that you won't spend hours or days on a piece of final art that doesn't work in the finished book...After all the initial planning, you should be ready to make something to show an editor or agent. Also called a 'mock-up', the picture book dummy is the thing you will send off to see if they think your book is publishable. Typically, a dummy is made up of the story's full text, and pencil sketches for the majority of the images. Finished art for one to three pages (leaning towards three) gives the recipient a clear idea of what you intend the book's illustrations to look like. Historically, the dummy would be a physical object, sent in the mail and at least printed out at [full size], if not hand-bound, so it feels and acts like a real picture book. These days, dummies can be sent as PDFs as an email attachment, and most editors and agents can get a good enough sense of things from that digital document. If you send the dummy directly to an editor, s/he may or may not see it as a good fit for his/her publishing house. If you guess well, the right editor at the right publisher might agree that this is a book s/he can publish, and after that editor gets approval from his/her publishing house, we can make a deal and begin making it into a real book. If you guess poorly, you may have to wait until that editor tells you [s/]he can't use it before you send it off to someone else, and that can take as long as six months or longer. If you have an agent, his/her job (after giving me his/her best-guess 'yea' or 'nay' as to the book's 'publishability') is to help you pitch it to just the right editor at just the right publishing house. A good agent knows the market well enough to show it to the most likely editors and has a friendly relationship with those editors, so they won't slam the door in your face. The trade[-]off, of course, is that s/he will take a cut if the book sells. But I'm happy for them to get paid for saving me all that time and waiting, especially if the agent then negotiates a good contract for the book...In the best of worlds, a good agent can help an illustrator stay focused on the creative work, while [taking] care of the business side of things. As always, once I get this story put together and into someone else's hands, it's time to start working on the next idea. So I'll start over at the beginning of the process, and do it all again!"
Dan Koboldt reports:
"I’m here to talk about creating realness in your manuscript...I prefer real[-]world scenarios, something that might actually happen. I want characters that you might bump into on the street. If you’re into the same kind of thing, then I do have advice for you. Keep it real. It really is that simple. At least it is for me...[Using a setting you know] means writing about areas that you know, that you’ve actually been to and spent time in, if it’s not where you live...If you’re writing about a fictional place, even if it’s in another time, I think it’s a good idea to include aspects of a real town/city/village/whatever...You want readers to recognize things in your work so they can relate...I’ve always thought one of my strongest assets was the ability to write dialogue. This is why I used to write screenplays...[Reflecting how people talk] makes the story more real. But don’t do it so much that no one else can understand what’s being said...I’ve found that it helps to model my characters after real people...[I]t definitely helps to have an actor in mind if your book were someday made into a movie. Yes, I know how unlikely it is to happen but it helps. And if not an actor, obviously it works even better to base characters on real people that you know. If they seem like a real person, a reader is more likely to connect with them. At least that’s my theory and the way I write. I realize a lot of readers may want to escape and read about some perfect guy/girl. That’s fine for them, but those are the books I don’t even pick up in the store or scroll right past online...Body language is a great tool in writing for showing and not telling. I’ve always been a quiet person who listens more than talks. I think this has made me a stronger writer. I’ve worked in retail and the people-watching you can do there has taught me a lot. That old saying about actions speaking louder than words is often true, even in writing...I’d say to base the person [who is your main character's best friend] on your real[-]life best friend, or at least the best friend of someone you know. It really does make a huge difference. Trust me, it will feel more authentic. Basically, I can sum all these points up with the simple 'Write what you know.' It’s one of the things my favorite writing teacher would say often. No, I don’t know a serial killer but I do know a lot about psychics. I do know Wilmington. And it’s fun to start with these little things you know, think to yourself, 'What if…?' and start creating a story you didn’t know you knew."
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