Julie Schneider reports:
"Your shop’s About section gives you a chance to tell the story of your business. An informative and captivating About section can help build a devoted following of customers. It can also spark unexpected opportunities, including press coverage, collaborations and new opportunities...But figuring out the best way to put your shop’s story into words — and images — might seem daunting. With that in mind, here are four tips to get you started...The best About sections feature a memorable story that describes how the shop owner got started. Sharing key backstory details, including the initial creative spark, notable milestones and how your business has evolved, can help shoppers (and whoever else may be reading your About section) connect with your brand on a personal level...If you develop a case of writer’s block when you sit down to write your story, imagine you’re explaining it to a customer at a craft fair or to a new acquaintance. Then, put those words to paper...High-quality images are another key to great About sections. This is your chance to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company, so include images of yourself practicing your craft in your workspace. If you’re hoping to attract press coverage, be sure to upload five professional-level, high-resolution photos (measuring at least 1,400 pixels wide) and a Shop Video. This shows you’ll be ready with the good stuff if the press comes a-knocking. If hiring a photographer isn’t in your budget, take your own publicity-ready photos and organize a photo shoot on a budget by using readily available elements like flattering natural light, simple backgrounds and props for context...Highlight unique materials, production processes and anything else that might help your shop stand out...When you include photos and information about you and your shop members on your About section, you put a friendly, approachable face on your business."
Seven Vocabulary Expansion Tips
Randall S. Hansen reports:
"Why expand your knowledge and use of words? You'll be able to communicate (speak and write) more clearly and concisely, people will understand you more easily, and you will increase the perception (and reality) that you are an intelligent person. Besides, learning new words is a fun activity -- and one you can even do with the people around you. Challenge a friend, family member, or roommate to learn new words with you...The more you read -- especially novels and literary works, but also magazines and newspapers -- the more words you'll be exposed to. As you read and uncover new words, use a combination of attempting to derive meaning from the context of the sentence as well as from looking up the definition in a dictionary...Use whatever versions you prefer -- in print, software, or online. When you uncover a new word, look it up in the dictionary to get both its pronunciation and its meaning(s). Next, go to the thesaurus and find similar words and phrases -- and their opposites (synonyms and antonyms, respectively) -- and learn the nuances among the words...It's a good idea to keep a running list of the new words you discover so that you can refer back to the list and slowly build them into your everyday vocabulary. Plus, keeping a journal of all your new words can provide positive reinforcement for learning even more words -- especially when you can see how many new words you've already learned...Using a word-a-day calendar or [w]ebsite -- or developing your own list of words to learn -- is a great technique many people use to learn new words. This approach may be too rigid for some, so even if you do use this method, don't feel you must learn a new word every day...One of the most powerful tools for learning new words -- and for deciphering the meaning of other new words -- is studying Latin and Greek roots. Latin and Greek elements (prefixes, roots, and suffixes) are a significant part of the English language and a great tool for learning new words...Word games that challenge you and help you discover new meanings and new words are a great and fun tool in your quest for expanding your vocabulary. Examples include crossword puzzles, anagrams, word jumble, Scrabble, and Boggle...Simply talking with other people can help you learn [and] discover new words. As with reading, once you hear a new word, remember to jot it down so that you can study it later -- and then slowly add the new word to your vocabulary...[R]emember that you must practice putting your new words into your writing and speaking or risk not retaining them in your brain. Use repetition exercises when you first learn a word -- and consider other learning techniques, such as index cards, recording yourself reciting your words, association games, and mnemonics."
Sara Richmond-Walls reports:
"Imagery is language that appeals to the five senses: touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell. Successful authors weave imagery throughout their short stories with intricate detail, creating a painting out of words. An author wishing to create vivid imagery in a short story needs to remember to incorporate all five senses, show the reader what is happening instead of simply telling, avoid cliches and read often...Perhaps the strongest piece of advice given to aspiring authors of fiction is to show the reader what is happening instead of merely telling them...[S]howing engages readers and allows them to be participants...Authors often focus on the visual, describing things in unique ways by what the eye can see. A world of smells, tastes and sounds awaits a writer who is ready to dive into descriptive writing. Consider Ray Bradbury's short story 'All Summer in a Day.' In this story, it rains every day on the planet Venus, with the exception of one hour on one day every seven years. Instead of saying that the characters heard rain, Bradbury writes: 'But then they always awoke to the tatting drum, the endless shaking down of clear bead necklaces upon the roof, the walk, the gardens, the forests, and their dreams were gone.' Bradbury does not omit the sense of hearing, and thus creates a more detailed world for the reader to experience...While writing with imagery can make a story beautiful and eloquent, it can also destroy a story if it is riddled with cliches. Authors often use similes and metaphors to create imagery. These devices are excellent ways of enhancing a story. As an author, you have to come up with an original way to describe the sparkle in a character's eyes without referring to them as swimming pools, or diamonds, sapphires or other jewels to which eyes have so frequently been compared. In her book 'Imaginative Writing,' Janet Burroway writes, 'A cliche metaphor fails to surprise and so fails to illuminate.' The burden is on the writer to create something new...While it is important to construct original similes, metaphors and other word creations, reading quality writing by others can both inspire you and show you what not to do. Once you've decided to author your own fiction, you will find yourself reading the writing of others with the eye of a critic, for better or worse. Reading descriptive writing can enhance your own."
Computer Hope reports (with examples to illustrate):
Chris Morran reports:
"As helpful as crowdsourced review sites like Yelp can be, not every write-up is of use to a consumer trying to figure out whether a restaurant is worth the trip. Sometimes it’s because the review is too vague ('The menu wasn’t amazing' is one I come across too often). Other times it’s too specific ('The napkins didn’t match the table cloths! Never going back!'). And many reviewers tend to let their emotions get the best of them, giving slightly subpar meals a single star or throwing a restaurant a 5-star rating without really thinking about what that score implies. In a post for Cleveland.com, former restaurant critic David Farkas provides a very useful list of suggestions for how restaurant diners can make their online reviews more relevant and helpful to other consumers...[He] suggests using comparisons to other restaurants to provide some context rather than just slapping 'best' or 'worst' labels on an eatery...Talk about the staff: This suggestion goes beyond the usual 'The waiter was rude' or '[T]he host was pleasant' type of statement. 'I’m referring to the temperament of the place,' explains Farkas. 'Do servers look like they’re having a good time? Are they dressed neatly? Do they seem distracted? Help readers grasp the ambiance on the day you visited.'...Remain anonymous: This may seem like a no-brainer to many of you, but several 'elite' reviewers for Yelp and other sites have been accused of announcing their presence and demanding special treatment, or just putting the staff on notice that they are being reviewed. These few rotten apples aren’t about providing unbiased reviews for consumers, but are more about making themselves feel like VIPs. '[H]int online that you’re Mr. Somebody when you drop by this joint and your cred[ibility] is shot,' writes Farkas."
Dan O'Day reports:
"There is no formula for writing a 30-second radio ad. There is no one 'right' way. Here is a bare bones, 7-step structure that will enable you [to] write a serviceable radio commercial quickly…assuming you have adequate knowledge of the product or service being advertised...The Call to Action is the one action you want the targeted listener to take as a result of hearing your ad. Because the Call to Action almost always belongs at the end of the spot, with this method you’re beginning by writing your ad’s ending. The Call to Action is the one action you want the targeted listener to take as a result of hearing your ad. Because the Call to Action almost always belongs at the end of the spot, with this method you’re beginning by writing your ad’s ending...My favorite approach is Robert Collier’s copywriting dictum that successful advertising enters a conversation the targeted consumer already is having. Why is it my favorite? Because it’s easier to quickly establish rapport by going where the consumer is, rather than trying to coax the consumer to come to you. With certain campaigns, you need to start the conversation. This most frequently occurs when introducing a new product or service…which may require you to make the listener aware of a problem they didn’t know existed...Radio advertising solves problems. Those problems are the consumers’. Make it clear that you really do feel their pain, that you understand the problem and its ramifications...After you’ve identified the targeted listener’s pain point, don’t move on to your sales pitch. Instead, build upon that pain. It’s not enough simply to identify the problem. Remind the consumer how serious that problem is to them...There’s no point in highlighting the problem without making it clear that you have the solution for them...Most copywriters begin [their approach] with the first line of the commercial...Even a 30-second, single-voice radio spot that speaks directly to the consumer needs to be a story. If you were to break up your copy into paragraphs...each paragraph is the equivalent of a chapter in a book or a scene in a story. The story isn’t stitched together. Instead, it flows [easily] and naturally."
Writing the Abstract to a Dissertation
Tracy Spencer reports:
"The abstract of your dissertation is the first impression readers will have of your research. It is a summary of your work and can be used to help readers decide if reading your entire dissertation would be worthwhile. A well-composed abstract can attract people to your study...The abstract is commonly placed after the title page of the dissertation, though exact placement can vary among institutions. The abstract includes the problem under investigation, the purpose of the research, the research questions and any associated hypotheses, the research methodology and design, a general description of the participants or subjects, prominent findings, conclusions and recommendations. The trick is to include all of this information in very limited space. Your dissertation committee chair can guide you to your institution's specific requirements for word count...The problem and purpose statements of a dissertation explain why the research needed to be conducted. When readers are deciding whether or not to read your study, they will want to know that your work met a specific need...In most academic studies, the identity of your participants should remain confidential, but readers who scan abstracts may need to know the type of participants involved in your research. Include descriptions of your participants in general terms...The findings and recommendations may be the most important elements for attracting an audience. These are your contributions to the field, so you may want to allot most of your space to these areas. If you have a large quantity of findings, you may need to combine some of them into categories for the abstract...Remember to save room for any related statistics if you completed a quantitative study. These details can make your abstract shine."
Marcy Kennedy reports:
"If I took a survey asking writers what the most important elements of fiction were, I’d probably end up with a few consistent answers—plot, characters, dialogue, showing rather than telling. We might not automatically think of including internal dialogue on the list, but we should...It serves practical purposes, like helping us control our pacing, but it serves deeper, more subtle roles as well. Without enough internal dialogue or without strong internal dialogue, our fiction can end up confusing and emotionless. We have people randomly acting, like we’re watching a TV show without any sound. Unfortunately, too much internal dialogue or poor internal dialogue can make our fiction feel immature, slow, or claustrophobic...A paragraph focusing on your point-of-view character includes your POV character acting, thinking (a.k.a. internal dialogue), feeling, or speaking. We should try to alternate evenly between the two. Alternating evenly makes sure that we keep the reader grounded in the external environment, while also keeping them emotionally connected to the character. The added bonus is that if you’re working on alternating, you’ll be less likely to create the 'floating head' syndrome where your POV character thinks to themselves for paragraphs (or pages!) at a time and puts your reader to sleep...All the techniques that we can use for making dialogue sound more natural—like sentence fragments, dropped words, and contractions—should also be used in internal dialogue. A quick way to check for this is to imagine quotation marks around your internalization. If your character said this out loud, would it sound natural or would it sound strange and awkward? (For the really personal items, imagine they’re speaking to their therapist.) If you’re not sure, speak them aloud yourself. You can change the tense to first person from third person if you need to. If it sounds fine in first person, it’s also fine the way you’ve written it in third person...Internal dialogue is your point-of-view character thinking to themselves, so it needs to sound as much like them as their spoken dialogue. What words would your character (rather than you) use in this situation?...Whatever your character’s personality, it should come through in their internalization just as much—or more—than it does in their spoken dialogue and actions...Direct internal dialogue is dialogue that’s written in first person, present tense...Because direct internal dialogue is in first person, present tense—even when we’re writing in a third person, past tense story—we need to italicize it. But the italics draw a lot of attention to it. Most internal dialogue can be written as indirect internal dialogue (where we stay in the same person and tense as the story)...Emphasizing a thought through direct internal dialogue should be done sparingly, when we really need to draw attention to an important thought. It’s like exclamation marks. They lose their oomph if you pepper your pages with them...You might occasionally hear someone complain about internal dialogue—there’s too much of it or it isn’t advancing the story. What they’re usually complaining about is actually repetitious internal dialogue. Repetitious internal dialogue makes for boring, flabby reading...What we want to do instead is to use one or the other (not both) or to add some variety to either the internal dialogue or action...Or we could add variety by showing that the way our character imagined something happening is very different from the way it actually happens...It might seem obvious, but we also shouldn’t double up on what’s said in internal dialogue and in spoken dialogue...The fix for this involves us deciding where that dialogue actually needs to be—inside or outside."
Therese Droste reports:
"Working within a large organization provides many advantages. One of the pros is that internal job opportunities arise from time to time, so employees don't even have to leave the building to advance their careers. But it's easy to trip up when applying for an internal job. Why? One of the main problems is that many employees approach internal job offerings too casually. It's important to remember that similar rules and standards are in place when applying for any job, whether inside or outside a company. Applying from within doesn't always necessarily give you an 'in.' The bottom line is you're trying to get a new job, and you need to use every professional tactic you can to get it. Follow these tips to help you get in from the inside...You'll never be taken seriously if you apply each time a position opens. Clarify your reasons for applying for a specific job. If the opportunity is in a department in which you wish your career to grow, or if the position will allow you to expand your knowledge in a particular area, make it known...Many internal candidates don't update their resumes, assuming that it's all in the family and the new internal position is merely an extension of their current one. Make sure your resume includes all the achievements you've earned since joining the organization...What if you've done work for the manager who needs a new assistant, and he already knows you're terrific? There are still things the manager doesn't know about you...No matter how often you've talked to the person you're applying to, or how well he may know you, you want to use the application process as an opportunity to show how professional you are...When writing a cover letter for an internal position, be sure to expand on what makes you such a natural fit for the position: You're already familiar with the company's culture, there would be less onboarding time needed for things like orientation and paperwork, you would adhere to the same high standards that are currently expected of you, you would welcome the opportunity to build upon your success and continue your career at the company, et cetera. At the same time, you want to highlight the skills that would make you a valuable addition to that person's team—just as you would in a resume for an outside company...While you may not want your current boss to know you're seeking a new opportunity in the company, he will find out quickly if you become a candidate. Bosses don't like to be in the dark about what their employees are up to, so don't keep them there. Be honest about your reasons for applying for another position, and see if he would be willing to put in a good word for you...If you don't know the manager you're hoping to work for, get other people you know in common to promote you...Remember it's still a job interview, and all the regular courtesies apply, including sending an interview thank-you letter...Try to get some feedback from HR [if you don't get the job]. Turn the rejection into an opportunity by getting whatever skills you need so that the next time you apply for a similar job, you'll be the winning candidate."
Steve's Digicams reports:
"In screenwriting, musical sequences in films often randomly show up in places throughout the script. And, sometimes these sequences have very little to do with what is going on in the film. Unlike standard scripts, the dialogue through the rest of the film usually has nothing to do with the musical number...Musicals can be broken down into four types: all-sung, operas, integrated and un-integrated. All-sung musicals mean that there is no dialogue; the entire script is sung. Operas are usually film adaptations of a stage opera even though some can be written for film. Un-integrated means that the entire film is about one artist, and the viewer will watch a montage of their work. While these three genres have been done in the past, they are not as popular as the integrated musical format. The integrated musical format makes the singing part of the dialogue and sometimes part of the plot. In the later case, however, it is harder to make musical numbers fit into the plot. For this reason, musicals are often seen as one of the most unrealistic genres. The audience just has to believe that random people will start singing along with the main character, and they have to believe that somehow these people are all hearing the same music. Further, the musical numbers do not actually advance the plot. They are inserted almost in addition to the plot. In fact, some numbers do not even have any relevance to the action that had just taken place in the previous scene. Integrated musicals require a bit more suspension of disbelief than normal...As mentioned previously, musical numbers can be randomly inserted throughout the plot. So, when it comes to writing the screenplay for musicals, they are pretty much done the same way as standard screenplays. A screenwriter is not going to be the one writing the music and lyrics for the musical number. That is the responsibility of the lyricist and composer. The screenwriter simply has to make space for the numbers within the screenplay...The only difference between the standard screenplay and the musical screenplay is the parenthetical (insert musical number here). After that has been added, the screenwriter can continue on with the rest of the plot and dialogue...While musicals were the cash cow of Hollywood through much of the middle of the 20th century, the popularity of musicals has waned in recent years. Hollywood still makes a few of them every year, but not as many in the past. Other countries such as India, on the other hand, have a thriving musical film business."
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.