Writing Contests – 10 Tips and Advantages For Participating in a Writing Contest

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Are you a beginning writer or an experienced author and want to establish yourself as an authority expert in your field of knowledge?

When you enter a writing contest, you gain experience, and hopefully, you get feedback on your writing.

If you choose to enter a writing contest, there are many advantages that a writing competition can offer you. Let’s look at 10 tips and advantages that will help your writing career soar, while bringing attention to your name, and helping you earn extra cash, perks, or bonuses in the process.

1. Entering a writing contest gets your creative juices flowing.

Good creative writing contests have a defined topic or theme that helps a writer focus on what needs to be written. Some writers need a creative boost to encourage them to sit down and write.

2. When you enter a writing contest, you improve your ability to set a deadline and deliver the content on schedule.

One of the biggest challenges a new writer faces is dedicating the time to their own writing projects. When a writer pays money to enter a writing contest, that writer is more apt to create the document and submit it to a contest.

3. Getting recognized for your writing establishes you as an authority figure, and gives you exposure.

When you win, place, or receive an Honorable Mention in a writing contest, that “win” gives you recognition in the industry, and a definite forward push in the resume department where you can brag about your well-earned accomplishments.

4. Writing contests challenge you to believe in yourself and the writing skills that you possess.

When you listen to that inner voice that urges you to move forward with your writing career, that challenge is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

5. Many writing contests will post a list of the top 10 or 20 honorable mentions, which gets your name out there for possible new revenue streams.

Regardless if a writing contest charges a fee or not, the advantage is writing the piece, submitting it, and winning…even if it’s just a credit to your name that you entered the contest and did better than the majority of writers. You’ve achieved a name for yourself, and you can make money when people know you for your writing or the topics you write about.

6. When you follow the contest guidelines, rules, and regulations, you have a 90 percent better chance to win than most of the entrants.

This aspect alone is one of the top 10 reasons why writers’ submissions are rejected in a writing contest. What is so difficult about following the rules, or creating a checklist for the items you must do before submitting your entry?

7. When placing in the top 3 positions in any writing competition, you have a valuable edge and credential that you can add to your writing resume.

Do you remember when you were in grade school and you did something so remarkable that your teacher praised you in front of the entire class? Entering a writing contest and winning it is like being in grade school…except that you can earn money from winning a contest, and you’ve earned another selling point to add to your resume.

8. Entering a writing contest opens the doors for more cash and writing assignments.

Let’s face it; when you enter a writing competition, you can win cash, valuable prizes, and even paid writing assignments, based on your contest entry. Does it get any easier than that?

9. Entering a writing contest boosts your self-confidence, which encourages you to write more pages.

It’s not a question of whether you won or didn’t win a writing contest. The point is that you entered the contest, you paid your fee, and you wrote your entry. Why is that important? Entering a writing contest and actually completing everything on the checklist helps to boost your morale. If nothing else, you now know that you have the skills and motivation to write more articles, enter more contests, or write your book.

10. When you enter a writing contest and win one of the top 3 prizes, you can easily earn cash or publishing prizes that could launch your writing career.

The cold hard truth is that if you don’t get recommended by someone, or put your writing out there for the world to read, or attempt to enter any contests, no one will find you. However, by just entering one great writing contest you could earn cash, valuable services, prizes, and writing assignments that you never dreamed possible.

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Source by Candace Sinclair

Why You Should Use Bullets in Your Writing

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One of my favourite strategies for dealing with wordy copy is bullets. They are just like real bullets. Okay, maybe not just like them. But they’re fast, and effective.

Bullets can break down a long sentence-a fabulous option for the brevity-challenged writer. But there are also benefits to the reader. Bullets help break up the page. They make content more “readable.” In many ways, they can prevent your target audience’s eyes from glazing over.

Consider the following paragraph:

Caring for a dying cancer patient is part of a palliative approach when the healthcare team determines that a cancer is unlikely to be cured. The goal is to improve quality of life. This includes: managing physical symptoms such as pain, meeting emotional needs such as anxiety and depression, addressing spiritual needs, and supporting caregivers.

Now apply the “bullet treatment” to it:

Caring for a dying cancer patient is part of a palliative approach when the healthcare team determines that a cancer is unlikely to be cured. The goal is to improve quality of life. This includes:

– managing physical symptoms such as pain;

– meeting emotional needs such as anxiety and depression;

– addressing spiritual needs; and

– supporting caregivers.

Looks better, doesn’t it?

Bullets are especially appealing to people who “scan.” You know who they are: they would prefer to scan quickly through the text, rather than to focus on every single word. With bullets, you have a higher probability of getting them to recall some of your key messages.

I’m not saying every single list has to be bulleted; however, it is a great “tool” for getting your point across in just about any kind of communication vehicle-in particular, websites and sales materials.

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Source by Lindsey McCaffrey

Understanding Your Placement in a World of Unnecessary Compartmentalization

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Understanding your placement in a world of many compartments! So many times, as individuals we find ourselves in a place of feeling compartmentalized, not even by our own doing. The murmurs we hear as we walk across a room, or in passing a group of family, or a group of supposed-friends, whispering and comparing themselves to others. Everyone is individual, no two people excel, at the same time, in everything. There is enough abundance on the planet for everyone. Not a single person, on the planet can take away the talent or skill from another person. JEALOUSY IS A FALLACY- CREATED BY UNPLANNED ACTION, UNKNOWN FACTS, OR FOR THE LACK OF WILL TO PRACTICE AND HONE YOUR OWN CHOICE OF SKILLS OR TALENTS, LACK OF PATIENCE, PURPOSE, OR THROUGH IMMATURE IDEALS. Anyone on the planet can be happy and does not need to compartmentalize another person to feel better about himself!

Ever wonder where they get the ideas? Why it is that they feel the need to verbalize, whether audible to you or not; their anxiety about the difference in your life from theirs? Or, have they come to trying to compartmentalize your ideas, philosophies, or even your way of living your life? SO many times, other peoples perception of their own lives clouds their judgments OF the innocent others, and they feel the need to compartmentalize people that they cannot either accept or understand.

Issues, from another persons childhood, have nothing to do with you, it’s their issue that they are trying to cloud, or to mask. Perhaps its their anxiety over some kind of talent, of their own making; their own advantage, or achievement that brings them anxiety for keeping their own talent hidden, dormant or unattended. Through analyzing or criticizing the differences that they find in me and in you, they only bring themselves to fit into a compartment similar to a messy dresser drawer with talents and skills that are unused or sadly not manifested- they need to utilize their own skill set bringing them their own success and leaving us alone!

Usually kids that are really into school are wanting to be in the front row of the lesson, or in closest proximity to the teacher. Fellow students can not understand that; I can not understand how they would not want to sit close to a teacher, mentor or leader. There is a sadness in anyone that does not want to learn.

That sadness is a mask; not the truth; YOU and me and anyone else is Brilliant; EVERYONE else around you CAN see that; WHY can’t you let that thought design POSITIVE ENERGY to express to YOURSELF? Again tell yourself how wonderful you truly are; IF NOT I WILL? YOU are amazing and beautiful; to all family, friends and future friends; let’s get-on with the business of expressing your brilliance to the WORLD!”

Learning peace; to love myself; no more responses to questions about the topic of judgement, by close friends and immediate family: your life is nobody’s business; just as the life of others is their own business; NO ONE’S LIFE IS MY CONCERN TO SPEAK OR COMMENT ABOUT; UNLESS I OFFER COMPLIMENTS FOR ALL OF THE GOOD THINGS THAT THEY REFLECT AND THAT I SEE AND ADMIRE. No one’s life decisions, or living is MINE TO JUDGE EITHER.

Guess there’s a lot of truth in the old adage,”LIVE AND LET LIVE IN PEACE, DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO AND SAY UNTO YOU!”

Enough of my ranting, and belly-aching, being on a spiritual journey to enligh-TEN-MENT is oftentimes a lonely journey… The day that you arrive to your graduation point and place in time; CALL ME; I’LL come to your festive occasion and celebrate your ENLIGHTENMENT DEGREE and HOPEFULLY I WILL BE WAITING TO RECEIVE MY ENLIGHTENED DIPLOMA AT THE SAME TIME AS YOU!

Have a great day!

I enjoy learning from you and from others offering me knowledge continuously!

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Source by Lorie Ann Jermoune

Similarity Between Writing a 5 Paragraph Essay and an Article

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The similarities between a five paragraph essay and an article are quite numerous but for the reason of this discussion just the relevant ones will be picked and discussed. An article is a piece of writing mostly nonfiction about the contemporary happenings in the society. It comes in various sizes of length and is usually for the newspaper, magazine, journals or books of reference.

A five paragraph essay is an essay that has all the ideas written and organized in five paragraphs. The essay is usually a prose and can be descriptive, argumentative, expository, imaginative, or analytical in nature, and usually from a personal view point. The similarities between writing a five paragraph essay and an article is that first an article contains paragraphs and an article may be five paragraphed. This simply means that both kinds of writing have their ideas developed sequentially in paragraphs following a logical sense of development of the idea and topic of discussion.

Another similarity is that both kinds of writings do not have address of both the writer and the person being written to in the case of an article. Since an article is for publication, it is normally assumed that it carries an address of the writer and the publisher, but that is only obtainable in letters. The same applies for an essay. Essays are mainly for students and for academic purposes; it does not require an address of the writer.

In addition to that, there are no salutations in both kinds of writing. There is no need for a “dear sir or ma” in a five paragraph essay nor in an article. The same goes for a complimentary conclusion. Hence the need for a “yours faithfully” is overruled in both kind of writing.

Both kinds of writing could have the same nature depending on the topic of discussion. That is they could both be descriptive, narrative, expository as the case maybe. An article as well as a five paragraph essay would have information to offer the reader, and could criticize an issue or try to persuade the reader with ideas on a particular issue.

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Source by John Halas

A Comparison of Pens – Choosing a Ballpoint, Rollerball or Fountain Pen

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Anybody who’s spent any length of time actually hand-writing something has a favorite type of pen, and they all have discriminating preference. One person may only want to write with a retractable medium-point ballpoint pen with blue ink, whereas another can’t go without her extra fine-point rollerball black ink pen with a cap.

There are three major kinds of pens: rollerball, ballpoint, and fountain. All three pens have advantages and disadvantages unique to their design, so the perfect pen for you really depends on what you want out of your pen. Here are the pros and cons for each type of pen, to help you in your decision of which to buy.

Ballpoint pens: The utilitarian

Ballpoint pens are everywhere. In 2005, Bic sold its hundred billionth ballpoint pen, to give you an idea of how many there are circling the globe. The ink ballpoint pens use also lasts a long time, doesn’t bleed through paper, and dries quickly enough that it resists smudging. You also don’t have to worry as much about a ballpoint pen leaking ink over your shirts or pants, unless you run it through the washing machine.

Though ballpoint pens are typically very simple and practical, it is possible to find some that are a little more sophisticated than average. Some major brands, like Graf von Faber Castell, create ballpoint and rollerball pens in the same lines as their fountain pens, so you can get elegance and utility in the same pen.

The cons of ballpoint pens are that there’s a limit to the places they can write. They can’t write on wet or oily surfaces, and neither can they write upside down or up against a wall. Ballpoints also have fewer ink colors available, as opposed to fountain pens and rollerballs, because of the consistency of the ink. They also require more pressure to write cleanly, so if you’re going to be writing a lot, be prepared for hand strain.

Fountain pens: The classic

Smooth, elegant, timeless: all these are words to describe the simple, stylish fountain pen. While ballpoint pens are more widespread today, fountain pens have been around for centuries. The ink flow is smooth and even and requires almost no pressure in order to produce clean, legible writing. People who have arthritis or other hand problems may find fountain pens easier to use than ballpoint. Plus, a single fountain pen can use a variety of colors, and all you have to do is change out the ink.

Fountain pens also imply sophistication. They’re very useful for professional art, penmanship and calligraphy, and their use associates them with class, status and elegance. Good quality fountain pens are built to last; if used correctly, they can outlive their owners several times over. Many major pen brands create pens that are virtually works of art themselves. For example, Graf von Faber Castell offers Classic Pernambuco, a line of pens that are made from the same wood used to craft violins.

For all their advantages, fountain pens are typically not suited for convenience and daily use. Many people may not want to deal with the hassle of changing out ink. Fountain pens require a little more care than ballpoint pens or rollerballs, and if something goes wrong with them, you usually have to spend some time figuring it out as opposed to tossing it and getting a new one.

Rollerball pens: The compromise

Rollerball pens combine the everyday practicality of a ballpoint with the smooth, even ink flow of a fountain pen. Like fountain pens, they have a greater variety of colors and require little pressure to write cleanly. Like ballpoint pens, they’re convenient for everyday use.

Plus, rollerball pens come with either liquid ink or gel ink. The brighter colors of gel ink show up on darker paper, so if you’ve got an art or scrapbooking project, a rollerball pen may be the way to go.

The disadvantages of a rollerball are mostly ink-related. The ink is dispensed through the tip more quickly, meaning that it won’t last as long as a ballpoint pen. Though the ink is easier to read, it also seeps through paper, making your writing illegible should you write on both sides of the sheet. Also, gel inks don’t flow as readily as liquid inks, which means you could get a lot of blobs or skipping while you’re writing with them.

Choose your pen wisely

With all the digital technology of today, it may seem that pens are merely a relic of the past. Why write it out when you have a computer to do the work for you?

But pens have an advantage that computers do not, beyond their sleek sophistication. They give you connection: both physical and personal connection to the words that you’re writing, as well as a connection to all the writers in the past that scribed their works by hand.

Where everybody’s “words” look the same on computers, with pens each letter is uniquely yours, committed to paper in your handwriting. Choose the pen that works for you, and enjoy a new level of connection with everything you write.

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Source by Frank Mazza

Sexual Hauntings 2 – How To Get Rid Of An Incubus Or Succubus

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Are you experiencing strange sexual assaults at night, in your bed, from an unseen force? Are you becoming scared to go to bed now for fear of a recurrence of these horrible attacks? If so, then it is a strong possibility that you have either an incubus (if you’re female) or a succubus (if you’re male) haunting your house. You therefore need to take urgent steps to get rid of this entity. Divine Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare are the only weapons that can be employed to stop the incubus and succubus.

But how do you actually get rid of such a formidable and frightening demon completely?

Well, the first thing you need to do is to have a good look around your house to see if you have any items or ornaments relating to the occult or witchcraft. You need to pinpoint exactly which items you have bought recently which may have sparked off these paranormal activities. There have been many cases in history where the victim of an incubus or succubus attack has brought into their home, or been given, an object – an item that may have been cursed, or even been used in actual black magic rituals – totally unaware that that object may be carrying dark, malevolent powers. And if you think you have found the likely source of your hauntings, then the best advice you could take would be to get rid of that object immediately.

If, however, there are no possessions in your home which you could reasonably attribute to paranormal activity, then your next step would be to research the history of your home – that is, of course, if you have not long moved into the property and have only just started to experience these night demon attacks. You need to find out everything you can about the place, either from official records or by making enquiries within the neighbourhood: who were the previous residents, did they too suffer similar sexual assaults from demonic entities, and so on.

Once you have solid proof that you do indeed have an incubus or succubus haunting your home, you can then take the necessary steps towards driving out the entity for good. If you a Christian, you must use all your faith to make you strong, and call on the power of The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ – with the assistance of a priest or a similar spiritual leader – to command this evil entity to depart, to leave you alone in peace and never bother you again. As powerful and threatening as the incubus and succubus can be, it is certainly not indestructible, and can quite easily be vanquished, with the help of God and prayer, as easily as Satan himself can be.

If you are not a Christian, then there are alternative methods you can employ to expel your sex demon: aura cleansing with an experienced practitioner, a process which involves “amputating” the cord that ties the entity to you repeatedly; Wiccan rites, which are good for charging the air with positive energy and eliminating the negative energy; and even psychic energy employed by yourself, under the guidance of an experienced medium or psychic, which involves you summoning up all your will power and mental strength to deny the entity all access to both your body and your mind, with a view to eventually causing it to leave your home completely.

Incubi and Sucubi can not force sexual intercourse on an unwilling person strong enough to resist them. They can also be repelled by certain powerful amulets, including the Quabbalah amulet containing the Holy Angelic names Sanvi, Sansanvi Semnageolf.

So next time you are lying in bed and are suddenly awoken, in the middle of the night, by a cold breath on your cheek, a lustfully wandering hand, or the pressure of an unseen body pinning you down to the mattress, please do not feel too afraid, for given the methods of protection I have highlighted, then you can rest assured that this incubus or succubus assault on your body will be a – mercifully – transient one.

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Source by Alan Toner

History of the Chinese Hand Held Fan

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The first Chinese fans were nothing more than bird feathers or large leaves. Tradition holds that King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty in the 11th century B.C. invented the Chinese hand-held fan, and the oldest known Chinese hand held fan was found in China in 1982 and is approximately 2,300 years old. The earliest half-moon fans were constructed of silk wrapped around bamboo spokes that were arranged in a semi-circle. Fans were used only by the members of the royal court for many centuries, only becoming available to the general public during the Han Dynasty, 206 B.C. – 220 A.D. By the time of the Jin Dynasty, 317-420 A.D., so many fans were being made that the emperor halted the use of silk in their manufacture because silk producers could not keep up.

While the Chinese are credited with the invention of the half-moon hand held fan, these first fans did not fold like modern ones do. The folding half-moon fan was brought to China in the 11th century A.D. from Japan. Today Chinese fans are still made from the traditional bamboo and silk materials, and also of paper, wood, bone, palm tree leaves and other materials.

During the 5th century A.D. the moon fan, or round fan became very popular. Young ladies, especially those inside the imperial palace were very fond of these. These round fans later took on other shapes also, such as oval. The ancient Chinese were a very artistic culture. Everyday items such as fans were valued not only for their functionality, but by their beauty. Fan painting and decoration are but one example of this. There has been a revival of the ancient art form of the Chinese Hand Held Fan. Thy are things of beauty that can add to the decor of any home.

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Source by Alan Beggerow

Tips For Creating Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns

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Crowdfunding today is gaining popularity. Indeed, the battle for page views as well as pledges has increasingly becoming competitive, most especially on the portal sites that features plenty of live projects at once. For businesses searching for tips on how you can optimize your crowdfunding campaign for success, know that there are techniques and secrets that are sure to provide you with the best chance of meeting your goals.

Different Crowdfunding Secrets You Must Be Aware Of

Strategic social media – Experts highly emphasized that you do not need a blanket presence on social media. What you must do is to choose the networks that will best match your marketing and content strategies and where your possible supporters can be found. You must not forget to customize your promotion in order for you to suit every platform.

Come up with an excellent video – Video clips will provide visitors with a far better idea of your project. Videos will allow your clients to see you or perhaps your offerings in action instead of just clicking through a series of static images. Remember though that an amateur-looking video is not enough to convince anybody to get involved. In fact, this can even damage the credibility of your campaign. With that said, it is a worthy investment for you to get expert help in order to make your video pitch the best it can be.

Produce a beneficial media page – Popular crowdfunding projects often are featured in the press. This will not happen if you do not actually have a solid website and some press materials that plenty of journalists can easily download. Know that even when you are a one-man show, you must not rely solely on your Facebook page. Bear in mind that when journalists cannot search more information regarding your project, they might choose to promote other projects instead.

Always communicate – Regardless of whether it is good or bad news, you must always keep your backers in the loop. Consider posting on your crowdfunding page on a regular basis, and remember to keep the process going once the campaign has ended.

Keep it personal – You must introduce your team so your supporters will know the people behind your project even if you are already an established organization or perhaps a start-up one. You must consider the personality as well as humor in the crowdfunding campaign.

Create a reward scheme – This is indeed a smart strategy. Experts say that you must consider creating a reward scheme with various price points.

Be mindful that there is no exact way of guaranteeing crowd success; however, by studying the strategies, projects and secrets that have already worked for other people, you can definitely maximize your chances. More information mentioned here.

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Source by Danica I Bridges

Writing the Flashback in Fiction

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Flashbacks are tools for the fiction writer to add depth and interest to a story, as they can be a part of any piece of writing in any genre and type. Flashbacks are important for the drama in the story, because they bring the reader into the life of the characters on an emotional level and let him enter the characters’ thoughts, feelings, and expectations.

The main obligation of the flashback is to take the readers back in time when that time or place in the past matters greatly to the storyline and to the present and the future of the characters. By the same token, the flashback has to aid the reader’s grasp of the story. The reader’s grasp usually matches the writer’s understanding of his characters and their situations. If a writer has not fully fleshed out his characters in his mind, the flashbacks may run the risk of being irrelevant to the story.

Let’s say, in a very short story, a character named Mike eats a quart of ice-cream in one sitting and remembers, in flashback, his mother serving him ice-cream. Then Mike goes to his job with the CIA and discovers his best friend is a mole. After a few incidents, he proves who the mole is to his bosses. Here, the ice-cream incident and the flashback that come with it have nothing to do with the discovery of the mole, so it shouldn’t be included in Mike’s discovery-of-the-mole story, even if the writer may imagine it helps to bring out the soft side of this character.

One way to bring flashbacks to a story is to give them in total in the beginning as a prologue, an introduction, or an introductory chapter. The advantages of the total flashbacks are:

o Total flashbacks allow the telling of the story without stopping the action.

o They give the story a chronological order.

o During the storytelling, the critical backstory data serves to give depth to the story.

o Writing the total flashback is easy on the writer. After he is done with the backstory in flashback, telling the real story becomes uncomplicated.

The disadvantage of the total flashback in the beginning of a story is that it can bore the reader with the long past, instead of pulling him into the story’s action and the story’s present time.

Another way to insert flashbacks in a story is to give them in several large chunks inside the story. The film industry can use cut-aways for this; however, in writing straight fiction, large chunks work better only in slow-moving stories. If the writer is telling a fast-paced story in any genre, he needs to avoid the large chunks of flashbacks.

In addition, this type of flashback is best used by signaling its beginning and end in some way or possibly putting the flashback in italics. As to the dialogue in a large chunk of flashback, it can be summarized, if possible.

A third way of inserting the flashbacks in the story is to insert small pieces of flashback, possibly in one or two sentences wherever they are needed. The advantages of this technique are:

o The writer has flexibility in telling the story, as to how to tell it and how much he will let the reader know.

o The writer can weave in critical information and background material at any time he wishes.

o He can use it to increase suspense or to attract the reader’s curiosity

o He can create layered characters during the writing of the real story.

On the negative side, if not handled well by the writer, this technique may cause the reader to confuse the past with the present.

A few points to pay attention to while creating flashbacks are:

o The contents of the flashback should not be more exciting than the real story.

o A flashback works better if it follows a strong scene.

o The writer should orient the reader at the start of the flashback in time and space. If the transition of the flashback is not adequately written, past and present may become a jumble in the reader’s mind.

o During the revision process, it may be necessary to leave out the least important incidents in the flashbacks and trim down the existing ones.

o As to usage, the writer may want to make use of the verb tenses to signal a flashback’s beginning and ending. If the story is told in the present tense, the entire flashback can be in the past tense. If the story is told in past tense, the flashback may begin with past perfect to signal the change, then the flashback may continue with the past tense again, in order not to overuse the weighty past perfect. Then the ending of the flashback can be maneuvered into past perfect again before continuing the story with the past tense.

Some caveats concerning flashbacks are:

o The writer should not make the contents of the flashback more interesting or longer than the real story.

o The writer should not introduce the flashback as the first real scene in the story. This doesn’t always work.

o Flashbacks within flashbacks run the risk of confusing the story and the reader who is reading it, unless the writer is as highly experienced as John Updike.

o Too many and too long flashbacks tend to turn a story into an epic. If that is not the intention and there is a limit to word count, the writer must be careful with long flashbacks.

o It works better to use flashbacks sparingly and with discretion since they do tend to slow the pacing. An experienced writer will not use flashbacks past the three-quarters of the real story.

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Source by Joy Cagil

10 Keys to Write Copy That Gets Results

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Whether you're writing a brochure, copy for a newspaper ad, a script for a radio announcement or your web site, there are some tried and true techniques that can help you make sure that your copy gets the results you're looking for.

Think about writing copy as making a sales pitch to a customer. Your goal is to persuade that customer to do something – most likely to purchase your product or service. Here are "10 Keys to Writing Copy That Gets Results":

# 1: Put yourself in the consumer's shoes.

People do not take action unless there is a reason to do so. "What's in it for me" may seem like a selfish motivation but it is, nonetheless, human nature. In order to effectively persuade a consumer, you need to put yourself in their place and consider why what you have to offer meets their needs. This should not be a quick exercise or one that is taken lightly. Spend some time to really think about the appearances that you could make that would really resonate with your target audience.

For example, suppose you're selling housecleaning services to busy professional men and women. Obviously there are benefits to purchasing this service – the customer will save time. But what else? What really motivates these people? Here are some possibilities:

– We'll take care of the cleaning so you can spend more quality time with your family.

– Your time is valuable. Spend it where it really counts. Let us take care of the rest.

– You work hard at your real job. We work hard at our.

What if you do not really know your customers? What if you're a 25-year-old woman and you've created a product that appeals to 50 year old men? Then you need to get out and interact with your target customers, either one on one, or through market research. You must know your customer to be able to write effective copy.

# 2: Make it as long as you need to.

Ignore anything you hear about recommended length of copy. There are no hard and fast rules. Your copy simply needs to be as long as necessary to convey your key selling points. That does not mean, though, that you should ramble on and on. No. You should identify 3-5 key points that directly refer to customer needs and then clearly and concisely provide enough detail about your product or service to convince the customer to take action.

Sometimes you can do this effectively with a single line of copy and an effective photo. Consider a full color photo of a tasty slice of pizza, with a single line of copy that simple says: "Hungry?"

Sometimes you can not do this effectively without several paragraphs of copy, along with photos or schematics describing your product, how it works and how it will meet customer needs. Consider a brochure describing a piece of manufacturing equipment that costs several thousand dollars.

Always remember that your objective is to convince the consumer to buy. If you can do that in one sentence, do it in one sentence. If not, make your copy as long as you need to.

# 3: Keep it simple.

Whatever your target audience is teenagers or doctors, you need to convey a simple message. Your audience is busy and your message is competing with literally hundreds of other messages and distractions. Know the points you want to make and make them simply and clearly. Edit your copy mercilessly so that it contains only those "need to know" elements that will guide the consumer in making a purchase decision.

# 4: Convert features to benefits.

Too often copy focuses on the features of a product rather than its benefits. What's the difference? Features are the attributes of a product or service – a statement of fact. For example: "XYZ orange juice has calcium." Benefits, on the other hand, answer the all-important question of "What's in it for me?" In this case: "XYZ orange juice has calcium to help you build strong bones." Make sure that your copy goes beyond a description of features to clearly focus on the benefits for consumers. What's in it for them?

# 5: Do not be an "also ran."

Make sure that you distinguish yourself from your competition when you're writing copy. Spend some time reviewing the advertising of your competitors. Note their key copy points. Note the benefits that focus on. Then be different. You're trying to convince consumers to pick your product or service over the other options available to them. That means differentiating yourself.

Keep in mind that you have indirect as well as direct competition. Indirect competition are the other choices consumers could make. For instance, in the housecleaning example given earlier, indirect competition would be the consumer doing the cleaning on their own – or assigning the task to children. Your copy needs to address all of the alternatives to your product or service – and offer compelling reasons why the consumer should overlook those alternatives to choose you!

# 6: Be consistent.

Advertising or communication needs to be consistent to be effective. It's the cumulative impact of your communication that will ever make an impact with consumers. That's why it's so important that you use consistent themes and messages in all of your advertising. That consistency will help to reinforce your product benefits; continued emphasis on the same points will absolutely lead to sales. Make sure your copy is consistent in all media – radio, print, etc. – and that you're reinforcing the same points, not sending "mixed messages."

# 7: Do not forget the details.

Remember, your copy is your sales pitch. But unlike a real sales pitch you do not have the luxury of responding to any questions that the potential customer might have as he or she reads or listens to your pitch. That's why your copy needs to include all of the key points and information necessary to help the consumer make a decision. Spend some time thinking of the potential customers that consumers might have about your product or service – then make sure you've provided answers to these questions in your copy.

# 8: Consider the "look."

When you're writing copy for print – newspaper or magazine ads or brochures, your copy will be working in concert with graphic elements. These elements can help to drive your point (as in the pizza example earlier) or they can serve as distractions, or worse, detractors from the copy. Some examples are photos, line art, bulleted lists, bold headings, etc. Make sure you're considering the "look" of your copy and how it relates to graphic elements, noting how the reader's eye is likely to "track" through the copy.

# 9: Read it out loud!

A good salesperson is often said to have "a silver tongue." The same should be true of your copy. Remember your copy is your pitch. Whatever you're writing a radio script which will be verbalized, or newspaper copy, you need to consider how it "sounds." The best way to do this is to read your copy out loud. You'll be surprised at the little "glitches" you'll notice when you do this. It's a simple technique to tighten and improve your sales copy.

# 10: Know when it's time to hire an expert.

Copywriting is an art. Good copywriters can drive sales of your product or service upward. Poor copy – copy that does not motivate consumers to buy – is simply a waste of your money. A newspaper ad that does not persuade is a bad investment. If your ads are not getting the results you'd like, it may be time to find outside help. It can be worth every penny!

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Source by Linda Pophal