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LIZ PURCELL - Page 3 of 78 - freelance writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English from San Francisco State University

What Exactly Is a Ghost Rewriter, and Why Would You Ever Use This Service?

You seldom see the term “ghost rewriter” used, if you’ve ever seen it at all. If you search that term online, you’ll see tons of site listings for ghostwriters and then maybe some sprinkled in for rewriters. Ghostwriting is the more familiar service, which is an involved method of getting a book written that’s based on a concept, notes, and or interviews with and for the person who wishes to put their name on the book cover, even though they don’t write the book (there are far more books written by ghostwriters, including best-sellers, than you may be aware of). So, what is a ghost rewriter? Maybe it’s self-explanatory. If not, you’ll know more in a minute, as well as why an author might want a rewriter on his or her team.

There are new, budding, and prolific authors who are do-it-yourselfers. They appreciate input from an editor because they sincerely want to put the best book out there that they can write, but they want to do all the writing and revising. There are other new, budding, or prolific authors who want to write a rough draft of their fiction or non-fiction manuscript then turn it over to someone else to rewrite and revise it, including writing additional content, if needed, until it’s ready for readers. If you’re in the first group, you may wonder why any author would do what those in the second group do.

One reason may be that the author never focused on the technical and or creative mechanics of writing, and has no intention to. Ever. These writers rely on their editor/ghost rewriter to bring what they write to finished form. There are other authors, new or not, who don’t have the time, or inclination, to do more than a rough draft, so rely on an editor/ghost rewriter to bring their manuscript to the finished-product level. Yes, your book–your baby–is, after all is said and done, a product you promote and sell.

Ghost rewriting can be an involved process (though not as involved as ghostwriting usually is) because now the editor/rewriter is creating what is essentially a new first draft that will need to go through the revision process just as an author doing all the writing would be required to do. The author is the one credited for the work; though, mention of the editor usually appears on the copyright page, in acknowledgments, or both. Credit for services rendered is up to the author. But the fact that someone ghost rewrote (or ghostwrote) the book isn’t mentioned, at least, not usually.

If you think this is a form of cheating, please consider that a number of best-selling authors do a version of this: They engage a co-author to write their book(s). A good example is James Patterson. At some point in his career, he shifted gears from being a solo writer, and his fans (I’m one of them) don’t mind at all. They want to be entertained Patterson-style, and he fulfills this for them. He fleshes out an outline for a novel, working on it until he’s satisfied, and then he sends it to one of his co-authors to write the novel (that’s what the other names on his book covers are about, in case you weren’t certain). This happens with Patterson’s input and approval about what’s written, of course. What a terrific opportunity and win-win-win-win for him, the co-author, the publisher, and readers.

What you, as an author, need to decide is what works best for you; what helps you accomplish your desired outcome. Sometimes the best assistance for you is to have your manuscript evaluated or to use substantive editing services so you know how to improve your book. Just make sure the person doing this is going to provide you with enough guidance you’ll use to revise your manuscript so it becomes the engaging book for readers you intend. And if you need or want more assistance than that for the reasons listed above, or for some other reason, consider a ghost rewriter who’ll take your manuscript where it needs to go but not require his or her name on your book cover.

There’s an advantage to working with an editor/ghost rewriter: You can choose to start out with a completed rough draft or submit one or more chapters at a time, until the draft is completed (a number of my clients prefer to work this way); just be consistent about writing so that you never allow the momentum to flag. Yet another advantage to working with an editor/ghost rewriter, if you’re committed to improving your skills, is that you see what the person did with your manuscript and learn from it.

Ghost rewriters are skilled writers but may not wish to travel the publishing path themselves. They love writing and are avid readers. They love assisting authors, especially indie authors, to put their best foot forward for their particular audience. This is another win-win-win experience. As a new, budding, or–if you’ll pardon me–somewhat lazy author when it comes to the technical and creative mechanics of writing, finding the rewriter right for you can be the difference between not going far (or anywhere) with your book and going the distance (and getting great reviews).

No matter which group from above you fit into, the fact is this: No writer ever completes a book entirely alone. At least, writers shouldn’t, if they want to put the best book they can into publication. There should be one or more qualified beta readers involved to give quality feedback. At some point an editor needs to be involved, without exception. Line-editing may be needed. Eventually, the services of a proofreader are required. Best-selling authors have teams who assist them, whether they go the indie or traditional publishing route. And if you’re Patterson and want to publish ten books a year to keep your readers and publisher deliriously happy, you engage the services of co-authors. If you’re not 100 percent confident about your skills or don’t have or want to take the time to go the distance, you put a ghost rewriter on your team. A team makes a dream come alive.

I wish you the best with your writing and progress, always and in all ways.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Joyce Shafer

Junk Journalism: Why Writing For Ad Space Turns Readers Off

The most frustrating thing that can happen to someone attempting to research most any subject online is running into Junk Journalism. You visit a website looking for serious information or content only to be confronted by a wordy, mostly useless article. If you are lucky it might contain one or two sentences of information that will be helpful to you. The problem is that you had to read a dozen useless paragraphs and click through several pages to get there.

People experience this type of thing all the time. I know I do. So, I have learned that when I land on a site like that it is time to immediately move on to greener pastures. I mentally ban those sites and, after a while, recognize them in search results. And I am not alone. Newbies do not know this and will have to learn by experience just as I did. That is what keeps these useless, over monetized sites alive.

Now, don’t get me wrong. These websites obviously make money or they would not exist. And it may be that the hacks who write for them may also make money. The issue is not just how negatively they affect visitors, but what they do to the people who write the content. Writers develop enough bad habits without having their writing style ruined by producing pulp garbage for what amounts to ad sites with virtually no useful information.

A writer is like any other professional. If they start out or head in the wrong direction, it is hard to change course later. You might be a talented musician who learned to play by ear. That will entertain people at a local talent show or inspire parishioners at a church if religious music is your thing. What it will not do is get you a job as a serious music professional. For that you have to learn to read music and be able to transfer that information to the instrument of your choice. By the time you get around to doing that, your brain is already hard wired for playing by ear.

Another aspect to Junk Journalism is the disregard many writers have for spelling. Sure, we all turn off Spell Check to avoid having to go back and dump or change words it uses instead of those we type. That doesn’t give us permission to write something with misspelled words. I cannot get through any major News site without finding a number of misspelled words. If you doubt me, try it yourself. Misspelling doesn’t just tell the reader that you really don’t care about what you’re writing; It detracts from the subject and causes an unnecessary pause in the material.

Very few writers are disciplined enough to obey all the grammatical rules and that includes me. I do not believe there is anything wrong with having a ‘natural’ writing style that allows the Writer to make his or her point in their own words. That’s a far cry from being too lazy to spell words correctly or create a dumb-downed document using increasingly popular ‘phonetic’ spelling.

Just because our educational system sometimes embraces phonetic spelling doesn’t make it right, especially if you plan to write professionally. The teacher writes TELEPHONE on the board, then writes TELEFONE next to it and says that’s alright because it’s pronounced that way. Meanwhile, some brain trust in the back of the room that has already benefited from years of this type of education says, “Yeah, It’s spelled that way in Canada, right?” I think I have made my point.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by William A. Edwards

What Is a Professional Writer – Should You Write For Free?

Why are so many writers and authors so broke? I’ve asked myself this after attending writer groups. Sure a few of us have made some money in this venue, but most are broke. Why? Often it’s because they have low self-esteem and won’t ask for payment that equals their work or value. This is a personal problem, but there are other reasons as well. Another reason is because of simple economics; supply and demand. Today anyone can be a writer or an author because of word-processors, software and the Internet – and that means more writers, and although there are also more venues that require this skill, even poor writers look okay considering all the crap online. Okay so, before I go into any sort of tirade, let’s talk.

Not long ago, an acquaintance of mine, Dr. Gary S Goodman, asked; “Should You Write For Free?” Next he asks a more in-depth question: “One clear sign that you are a pro is that you are paid for your work. If you are not paid, does this signify you are something less?”

My view is that if what you write is of value, then someone will be willing to pay you for it, unless they can get it somewhere else cheaper or free. In that case the buyer of such written material is either getting something inferior due to their price adverse nature, your marketing is insufficient, or what you write isn’t needed. In this day and age information is very cheap, sometimes free.

Writing in my view is not usually a very wise profession to be in, however every industry needs writing and the written word (currently) to get that information out to willing buyers and sellers. So there is room, lots of it, for writers, at least right now, in our pre-Artificial Intelligent age, as soon writers will not be needed, not even fictional writers – that is the way such technology is headed and so the professional writers days are most likely numbered.

As I look at my personal library of some 4600 books and growing, I realize that there are plenty of published writers and authors out there, all of which sell their work and have sold books, thus by definition are professional writers and authors. Still, since those terms are loosely defined, anyone who authors an essay online on their blog, which happens to have advertising on it, is indeed getting paid to write, right? Thus, the definition of professional writer or author applies. Interesting, maybe we need clarification on this topic. Your thoughts, comment below.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Lance Winslow

Multimedia Copywriting – What Is a Multimedia Copywriter?

A marketing message should be able to be seen in multiple formats the average, everyday consumer uses. It doesn’t matter if whether it’s on a computer, cell phone, web page, or social network.

Regardless of the variety of media at the disposal of consumers, a multimedia copywriter gives the businesses a better advantage of getting their sales messages in front of prospects’ eyes.

A multimedia copywriter is responsible for writing persuasive marketing messages and presenting it in a variety of visually engaging presentations. In other words, it’s the hybrid of a sales writer and graphic designer.

Their primary goal is to attract new leads and boost sales by using several media formats including:

  • printed media
  • video
  • animation
  • interactive design
  • illustration
  • PowerPoint demonstrations

Combining two or more of these elements keeps prospects’ attention long enough to make sure sales messages are seen, heard, and read.

Because multimedia copywriters are visual communicators of written words, they can create multiple forms of media from one sales message. This creates of a higher perceived value to prospects and buyers.

Plus, it reduces the cost of hiring a team of copywriters and graphic designers to create a single sales campaign.

What also makes the multimedia copywriter a stronger asset to any business is their ability to create high value informational products.

By using interactive media, businesses and multimedia copywriters can create highly engaging content unique and similar to video games. These products will have a high value because of the amount communications and interactions increases between businesses and prospects.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Shanika Journey

Create A Solid Online Presence to Make Money

In today’s modern world, it’s difficult to be a successful freelance writer without a solid online presence. Sure, you may get one or two clients via in-person networking, but the vast majority of your work, as an online freelance writer, will come from the web, on places like your website, your social media platforms and even via Google search results.

So if you’re just starting your freelancing journey, consider building your online presence as step #1. It will be the foundation for everything you do as a writer, and it will help you build the lucrative and successful career that you’ve been dreaming of. Don’t know where to start?

Here are the four must-have essentials:

1. A Portfolio Site – Your portfolio site is the most important piece of the puzzle. It’s where potential clients can go to learn about you and your skills and read samples of your writing. It’s also what will show up in Google search results if you practice search engine optimization techniques.

2. A LinkedIn Page – LinkedIn is a great place to find new clients and new projects. Upload samples of your work, get recommendations from colleagues and past employers, and create a profile to show off to potential clients.

3. A Twitter Account – With Twitter, you can establish yourself as a true expert in your niche and as a writer. Use this platform to share news and industry insights, and promote your work (and your client’s!) whenever possible. Optimize your profile with the right terms and hashtags, and you may even snag a few new projects.

4. Your Own Blog – Starting a blog can help your career in numerous ways. First, it can display a great snapshot of your skills. If you don’t have many samples yet, a blog also offers potential clients a way to evaluate your talents and see what you can really do. And it can help you establish yourself as an expert in a specific niche or industry as well.

Be sure to tend to your blog and profiles regularly, update them with new skills and samples as you gain them, and use them to their fullest potential.

If you need advice on how to create a client-attracting online presence that will help you get more writing gigs and build your freelance writing career, then you should check out Maggie Linders’ Freelance Profit Academy.

Maggie, a six-figure freelance writer, teaches writers exactly how to build full-fledged, successful freelance writing businesses while offering personal coaching and support as well as daily scam-free job opportunities.

The Fastest Way to Earn Your First $1,000 as a Freelance Writer – You know what feels great? Earning your first big chunk of cash as a professional freelance writer. It makes you feel like you made the right choice – like quitting your 9-to-5, branching out on your own and blazing your own path was the best thing you’ve ever done. But if you’re just starting out, it can feel like that day is a long way away. If you’re starting off with content mills and bidding sites, you may very well be working for pennies – and that can take a while to add up.

Fortunately, those aren’t your only options. You can earn $1,000 as a freelance writer fast – long before your mortgage is due and the tax man comes calling.

Here’s how to do it:

Find A Few Clients In Need – Scour your LinkedIn network and check out the websites of local businesses and companies. Is there any group with a less-than-stellar website? You could probably beef up their web content and make a big difference. Are any of your connections starting a new job? Find out if their company could use content help. Is someone in the market for employment? Offer to write copy for their personal portfolio site.

Request A “Per-Project” Rate – If you want to reach $1,000 fast, forget billing hourly. Instead, propose a flat, per-project rate for your clients. Factor in how much time the project will take you, as well as your experience and skills, and come up with a fee that’s fair (but profitable!)

Exceed Your Deadlines – Sure, that new client might give you a month to complete their new website content, but do you really need that long? More importantly, do you want to wait that long for your payment? The quicker you get to work, the quicker you get paid!

Get Deposits And Ask For “Milestone” Payments – If you’re working on a particularly large project, a great way to get your cash early is to ask for a deposit or collect milestone payments. With a deposit, you’ll ask for a certain percentage of your total fee upfront. This is to reserve your time and protect you from getting stiffed. With milestone payments, you can have the client pay you for each chunk of content you turn in – maybe per webpage your write, per blog post or per eBook chapter.

Make Payment Easy – Finally, don’t make payment a hassle for your clients. Get a PayPal and Venmo account, and ditch the old mailed, paper checks you’re used to. Bill clients via email, and let them pay you instantly and seamlessly online. It’s better for both you and them. Earning your first $1,000 can seem like an uphill battle but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you want a proven, step-by-step system to earning your first $1,000 and more in a short period of time, check out Maggie Linder’s Freelance Profit Academy. This program has become very popular among freelance writers and has produced hundreds of success stories.

The Top 4 Places to Find Freelance Writing Jobs

You can find freelance writing jobs virtually anywhere – through old employers and colleagues, on Craigslist and bidding sites, and even on social media. Freelance writing opportunities are all around us. But as nice as it is to wade through the numerous opportunities, it can also make the process of landing new freelance gigs pretty time-consuming. Do you really have hours to scour the web, checking in on every possible job site, social platform and blog? Definitely not – at least not if you want to be profitable! Thankfully, you don’t have to. Below are a few of the best possible spots for finding gigs – gigs that can be lucrative and interesting and get you on the fast track to earnings.

1 – Morning Coffee Newsletter

This handy newsletter found at Freelancewritingjobs sends daily job alerts straight to your inbox. It features 10 to 20 handpicked freelance writing jobs from across the Internet, each with a different client, pay and focus. Some come from Craigslist (which means you don’t have to scour the dozens and dozens of city-based Craigslist ads for gigs!) and some come from other job sites across the web. The main point? The work is already done for you. Just sit back, check your email, and apply for anything that sounds like a good fit.

2 – Blogging Pro

The Blogging Pro job board is a great place to find high-paying, legitimate freelance writing gigs for one big reason: Clients have to pay to post a job on it. Sure, it’s only $30, but when there are alternative sites that are absolutely FREE for posting, you know a client means business if they’re willing to shell out cash for their post! You’ll find everything from niche, industry-specific gigs to full-time remote opportunities for single clients. It’s a must-see stop on your weekly job hunt.

3 – LinkedIn

LinkedIn can provide freelance writing job opportunities in two ways: 1 – Job postings on the site 2 – Easy and seamless networking. Though networking takes a little more work, you can often spot opportunities for gigs just by checking your feed daily. Did someone change jobs or get promoted? Reach out and see if they could use your services. Is someone launching a new website? Ask if they could use help with web content. You never know when a job is right around the corner.

4 – Freelance Profit Academy

Job scams are plenteous on the web, and unsuspecting freelance writers can get caught in their devious web easily. Thankfully, the Freelance Profit Academy houses a daily, scam-free job board that weeds out scams and supplies you with the highest-quality jobs sourced from around the web. Review each and every job to provide you with only the best ones.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Deon Christie

Writing For Business – The 8 Parts of a Personal Business Letter

What is a personal business letter? It is a letter that and written by an individual and mailed to a company, business, or government agency. It is more formal than a personal letter or note.

There are eight parts to a personal business letter as follows:

  1. Return Address: this is your address, do not include your name, and list your street address, apartment number if applicable line 2, your city, state and zip code all on one line. Spell out the full name of the city and state (the official Post Office Abbreviation is acceptable also) and add the zip code. Note: if you are typing the letter on letterhead that already includes the address this part is not needed.
  2. Date: Enter today’s day on the next line. Spell out the full month, comma, date, comma and the year in 4 figures such as “2011”
  3. Letter Address: This area has whom the letter is sent to and their complete address. Write out the person’s full name on the first line:The street address goes on the next line or two as required.Write out the full name of the city, the Postal Abbreviation for the State followed by the zip code.
  4. Salutation: This is a formal greeting. Usually “Dear” followed by formal titles, i.e.: Mr., Mrs., Miss, Dr., or Reverend. If you are writing to a woman and do not know her martial status or which title she prefers “Ms.” Is acceptable. Follow the title by either the full name or just the last name.
  5. Body: This is the most important part of your letter. Use paragraphs properly. Be short and to the point so the recipient quickly knows the purpose of your letter. Give enough detail, but don’t use more words than needed.
  6. Complementary Close: Use phrases such as “Sincerely yours,” or “Yours truly”. Capitalize the first letter of the first word, lower case for the second word followed by a comma.
  7. Sender’s Name: This is where your name goes, skip four spaces between the complementary closing and your typed name. Use your first and last name.After printing the letter, sign your name between the complementary close and your typed name.
  8. Enclosures: If you are including any documents with the letter, such as a resume, product sample, or other explanatory documents, show that there is an enclosure by typing “Enclosure(s)” one line below the closing. You may list each enclosure by name, this is a good way to make sure that the recipient knows exactly what is in the envelope.

These are the parts and order of a personal business letter. It is assumed that you are personally typing this letter yourself, so there is no need for the typist’s initials.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Patricia M Hines

Lockspam Free 3.0 Released!

6 August, 2004: Polesoft Inc., home of Professional anti spam software, announced today that Lockspam Free 3.0 (see also Lockspam Pro 3.0 in the end) is now available.

Some features of Lockspam Free 3.0 antispam software:

1. Function with Most POP3 Mail Clients

Lockspam Free 3.0 can work with mail clients like Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Incredimail, Mozilla, Pegasus Mail, The Bat!, Foxmail, i.Scribe and many other mail clients.

2. Support Multi-User Mode

Lockspam also support multi-user OS, like Windows XP, install once, works for all.

3. Apply Advanced Filtering Rules

Lockspam Free 3.0 has a 6-step filtering process for probable spam messages.

Allowed List > Allowed Keywords > Blocked List > Blocked Keywords > Polesoft Security Pack > heuristic Polesoft Anti-spam Engine.

a) User definable Allowed/Blocked Keywords

In addition to the sophisticated lists contained in Lockspam Free 3.0 and updated daily.

b) Polesoft Security Pack

More and more emails contain viruses. To combat this growing problem Polesoft have made available the Security Pack.

The Security Pack contains pattern files of recent virus attachments and those scanned by Anti-Virus products. If any attachment matches the pattern files the message is regarded as spam and sent to the Polesoft Antispam folder.

c) Polesoft Antispam Engine

Polesoft Antispam Engine is based on Bayesian filtering and heuristically learns users’ preferences and follows their logic in differentiating spam and normal mails.

Polesoft Behavior Pattern Recognition* and Polesoft Beneficiary Black List (BBL)* are core technologies that can be applied and updated only wth registered copy of Lockspam Pro.

4. Automatically Scan Incoming Mails

Lockspam Free 3.0 starts to work and deals with incoming mails automatically.

5. Automatically Import Contact Lists

Right after installation, Lockspam Import Wizard will fetch all your contact lists from Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.

6. Automatically Check for Updates

Lockspam will check for updates automatically, thus ensuring your mail box is equipped against the latest spam.

7. Free and Frequent Updates

For Free users, updates for these services are available:

a) Polesoft Security Pack, which can easily spot and quarantine virus spam.

b) Polesoft heuristic Anti-spam Engine.

For Lockspam Pro users, there are two more available:

a) Daily updated Beneficiary Black List (BBL).

b) New Add-in Installation Packages for Outlook and Outlook Express

8. Weed Out Spam in East Asian Languages

Polesoft Anti-spam Engine can easily analyse the content of emails in East Asian languages, as well as English.

9. Training Lockspam Is Easy

Lockspam is easy to teach. By Blocking spam and Unblocking innocent mails, Lockspam will learn your preferences and judge mails in line with your logic.

10. Looking for Probable Spam Is Easy

a) Emails identified as spam are stored in the delete folder.

b) Emails identified as probable spam are stored in the Polesoft Antispam folder with [Polesoft Antispam] added to the subject line.

Lockspam Free 3.0 is available in a full featured 14 day evaluation version from the Polesoft site. To learn more about the differences between Lockspam Free version and Lockspam Pro version, please visit Lockspam Version Comparisons [http://www.polesoft.com/product_lockspam37.html] .

To summarize, Lockspam Free Version 3.0 answers the urgent need for safe anti spam software on the desktop. Lockspam Free 3.0 can update to Lockspam Pro 3.0 ($29.95) and will continue to receive free updates for the lifetime of the product ensuring that your mailbox is always safe from spam.

The CEO of Polesoft, Lytton Liou said, “We hope our patent-pending technology will help to bring back the ease freedom of communicating through the internet without the irritation and timewasting caused by the spammers”.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by

Difference Between SEO Writing and Ghost Writing

A person or a company may require understanding the difference between SEO writing and ghost writing while looking for a freelancer to outsource various types of writing projects. The SEO writing and the ghost writing are two form of writing quite different from each other. An SEO writer writes content for the SEO use specifically, whereas the ghost writer can be writing about anything, it can include writing content for the site as well. Both types of writers may not get the credit for their work. It may be credited to someone else as they usually write for other companies or people for a decided amount. They may have to follow some specific requirements or instructions of the project providers.

The SEO writing is not exactly a writing skill; it is more of a social skill. The SEO writing has a focus on the product marketing or selling. So if you are an SEO writer, it means that you are not exactly a writer, you are more of a sales person. Unlike other sales persons, you do not use a pitch; you are using your words to sell a product or to intrigue the demand of your product in the minds of people.

A ghost writer is the person who writes contents which are informative by its nature. Usually his writings are not dealing much with the selling of a product. Although he can write about the benefits of a product, but his content is not focused on the selling of any product.

Both of the writing types are unique and have its own importance in the relevant fields. If a person is good at SEO writing, he may not be able to perform at the same level as a ghost writer. The same works vice versa. A ghost writer will have to face lots of problems if he wants to write an effective SEO content. Each of the writers can perform exceptionally in the relevant field but cannot perform with the same efficiency for other, as each of the field requires specific specialties. An SEO writer knows well how he can create an article which can be of a great help to optimize the site with a search engine.

The SEO writing requires lots of time to perfect the contents. An SEO writer may have to spend longer hours on just one single article. He may have to edit the articles over and over again. He may have to change the headlines, text of some specific part or he may have to amend the subheadings. He has to make it sure that it is good enough to optimize the site conveniently with a search engine. It has to be attention grabbing. He is required to write such a content that has to interest a reader and should be able to generate a lead or offer a sale to the company.

An SEO writer has to write a convincing content, whereas, it isn’t the same for a ghost writer. A ghost writer also has to write interesting content, but he is not required to write a convincing content that has to offer a sale or a lead. An SEO writer can earn a lot higher amounts than what a ghost writer does.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Marc Andre Gaensslen

Rwanda Under a Shroud

Sundaram’s title, “Bad News” is appropriately titled to describe what reporting the news in Rwanda is not about. There, under President Kegame, only half the news is written. Bad news, news that in any way ever so slightly criticizes or shows the dictator in a negative way, is dealt with harshly and in a myriad number of ways.

This is the main reason for the author’s training program for journalists in Rwanda: to reconnect the country, covered with a dictatorial shroud of secrecy, with reality.

Although the program didn’t start out this way – journalists were to be trained in fundamental journalistic principles covering relatively benign stories with government approval – Sundaram makes it clear early on in the book that the mantra of the journalist is always the search for truth, however uncomfortable and dangerous it may be. We know it in his description of the trainees: suffering from “hunger and fatigue,” some “with deep gashes.”

The repression in Rwanda, difficult to endure for everyone except those who wield power in a dictatorship, was particularly trying for one of the student journalists, “a certain Gibson.” Gibson is a fascinating study of a gifted and intelligent though “quiet” man. The author shows us how this thoughtful and introspective man was affected by the threats the repression had on him. He is an important figure in the story. The author weaves the story of Gibson’s struggles and fears with stories of his fellow students. He is there near the end of the book still the author’s “favorite student,” a testament to the best of journalism in the face of the omnipresence and apparent indestructibility of the Rwandan state apparatus.

And there are surprises in Sundaram’s edition as well. The reader will be shocked to learn about a journalist named Roger, his conversations in confidence with Sandaram, and the revelations that would ensue.

Anjan has us see the extent to which the government controls the minds of Rwandans by the remark made by one of his journalism students speaking on behalf of the class, “We have freedom in Rwanda.” These words we wonder at in amazement from a member of the critical press, a member who should be the first person to arrive at the truth based on the facts.

Rwanda is a country in denial. First, in an orchestrated denial from the top, the government. Second, in a denial by capitulation of the population toward news that the government doesn’t want printed.

One of the recurring themes in “Bad News” is the thoroughness of the repression in Rwanda.One of the most striking examples of government control is how children can report parents to the government and parents children, even have them killed to please the president and the state. Or how the author’s immediate circle of friends, “almost every prominent journalist had either fled or been arrested.”

It is interesting to note there is little sharing with others, even a family member being pursued by the government. The family will seek to be rid of the dissident for fear they will be exposed.

A dictatorship dehumanizes people. It makes them harm themselves. Everything they have belongs to the dictator. If they are told to give up what they have or even destroy it they will do it gladly to please the dictator. On a larger scale dictatorships are like local cults we read about or see on television. Or like the man who said, “I did it.” What did this man and all of the able bodied men and women do in the village to harm themselves and their families? The answer will be one the reader and the author at the time “would never have expected.”

There is irony in the book. Sundaram tells us of the beauty of the city of Kigali and the unspeakable violence of the genocide in 1994, and today the apparent calm of the country and the relentless pursuit of dissidents.

Anjon Sundaram has given us a glimpse of life under a dictatorship and how power and tyranny emerged in Rwanda out of the catastrophe of genocide. I highly recommend the book.

One of the most telling aspects of the repression in Rwanda is how the international community sings the praises of the government. All that is left to defend the truth is a small group of journalists inside Rwanda fighting the secrecy of repression not with their words but with their lives.

When Sandarum’s story is told, the reader becomes appreciative of the uproar, even in America, of excessive intrusiveness of surveillance. Gibson says, “We hide from the government, which wants to see us all the time.” Thoughts immediately turn to increased video surveillance in America since the age of terrorism was ratcheted up with the attacks of 9/11. And in recent years, Americans have learned that the National Security Agency might be listening to a citizen’s most confidential telephone calls. So our citizens fight two fears: fear of governmental control over their thoughts and motivations, and fear of a nebulous external threat of international terrorism disrupting their lives.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Daniel J Hersh

A Children’s Writer’s Guide to Critiquing Manuscripts

If you’ve just joined or started a critique group for writers but no one seems to know what to do next, maybe this guide and checklist will help. If you aren’t in a critique group, you can still use it to critique your own writing.


Begin with some basic procedural guidelines for critiquing:

1) Start with something positive – Point out at least one thing that worked really well in the manuscript.

2) Be specific in your comments and suggestions – For example, saying “I liked your story” is flattering to the writer, but doesn’t really mean much. Saying something like, “I felt the dialogue sounded exactly like something two teenagers would say and advanced the plot well” is more specific.

3) Use the checklist (below) – This will help you be more specific in your comments and suggestions. And, if you use the checklist to critique your own writing it will help you recognize weak points in your story before you share your work with anyone.


I. Character

__ Are my characters well-rounded? Do the major characters have both positive and negative traits?

__ Is my main character someone readers can care about? Does he/she want something important?

__ Have I revealed character through action?

__ Does my main character take action? Or is she too passive?

__ Is each character’s voice distinctly his/her own?

__ Have I avoided stereotypes and stock characters?

__ Does my main character solve his/her own problem? Is he or she different in some way from how he or she was at the beginning of the story? (this doesn’t always have to happen, but usually it means your story has some depth to it)

II. Point of View

__ Have I stayed with my POV character throughout the story?

__ Would the story be stronger if I switched from third person to first person or vice versa? Would the story be better told from a different character’s point of view?

III. Plot

__ What is the basic conflict of my story?


__ Do I introduce my characters and the conflict right away? Or do I take too much time revving up? Could I chop off the first paragraph and start with the second?


__ Have I put complications in the middle that get worse and worse and build to a climax?

__ Does my character have to work to reach his/her goal?


__ Does my main character solve his/her own problem?

__ Does the ending grow logically out of the rest of the story?

__ Is my ending satisfying without being predictable?

IV. Language


__ Are my details specific, not generalized?

__ Have I bogged down the action with tedious passages of description? (One way to check this is to see how many “ing” words are used; very many usually means there is too much description)

__ Would that description work better if I wove it gradually into the story rather than presenting it as a block?

__ Have I described with more than one sense (i.e. sight, sound, touch, taste, smell)?


__ Have I used strong and specific verbs and nouns?

__ Have I successfully avoided passive voice?

__ Can I cut out redundancies? Small talk? Clutter? Meaningless qualifiers such as “just” and “very”? Passages that bog down the action? Have I used too many different dialogue tags that attract attention?


__ Are there awkward or confusing sentences or scenes that need to be cleaned up?

__ When I read my story out loud, does the rhythm sound right? Is it choppy? Too wordy? Monotonous?

__ Are my transitions smooth?

__ Have I avoided clichés?

__ Does each sentence sparkle with my own voice? Is that voice strong and credible?

V. Purpose

__ 1. Does each character and action in the story have a definite purpose?

With these specific points to look for when critiquing a children’s story, it should be much easier for you and your fellow writers to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each and every manuscript.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Suzanne Lieurance

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