Writing Tips

When it comes to Writing, we've been there, done that, now serving 354 tips in 16 categories ranging from Addresses for Letters to Semicolons. Need more advice? Ask a Life Coach or take our Life Coach Directory for a spin.



Misplaced Modifiers

By Tammy R

A misplaced modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that is mistakenly separated from the word it is supposed to describe. As a result, the sentence is awkward, confusing, illogical, and sometimes humorous.

A misplaced modifier can be corrected by moving the modifier to a more sensible place in the sentence, usually next to the word it describes.

Examples:

1. Misplaced: Mary almost read every book in the library. (This means she contemplated reading every book but didn't.)
Correct: Mary read almost every book in the library. (This means she read most, but not all, of the books.)

2. Misplaced: Fred kept a black book of all the girls he had dated in his desk. (This means that Fred dated girls while in his desk.)
Correct: Fred kept in his desk a black book of all the girls he had dated. (This means Fred kept the black book in his desk.)

3. Misplaced: I showed my dog to the veterinarian with the fleas. (This means the veterinarian has fleas.)
Correct: I showed my dog with the fleas to the veterinarian. (This means the dog has fleas.)

4. Misplaced: The fans were told at midnight the concert would begin. (This means the announcement came at midnight. The start time of the concert is ambiguous.)
Correct: The fans were told the concert would begin at midnight. (This means the concert would start at midnight.)

5. Misplaced: Jane only ate bread for dinner. (This means that all Jane did with the bread was eat it; she did not knead the dough or bake it in the oven.)
Correct: Jane ate only bread for dinner. (This means Jane ate bread for dinner and nothing else.)

   

Guru FAQs

Meanwhile, we've taken the time to put together your most frequently asked questions in an effort to try to help you along in the tip writing world. Read on.

LifeTips Content Assignments:
Q: "Do you have any jobs available?"
A: Yes, we always have jobs available. You can find those jobs by logging onto the Guru admin area and looking under "Tip Site Gigs" and "Client Gigs". Please apply for jobs through this area and if we choose you for a project, you'll get a note of approval from one of our editors.

Q: "Are deadlines flexible?"
A: In a word, no. But we do make exceptions. If you choose to ignore a deadline or simply dismiss the deadline you were assigned, you will have forfeited your project and any subsequent cash payout. If you require an extension of your deadline, simply ask us. We're always willing to work with you and come up with agreeable terms for deadline projects.

Q: "Do I have to fill in..."
A: YES, you do. Each and every tip you write must have a question, keyword association, mobile and most importantly, source area filled out. Should you choose not to fill out any of these areas, we will deduct payment from your overall project.

Q: "I'm an expert in a particular area, do I need a source?"
A: If you directly quote someone, use statistics or offer any type of medical, legal or financial information you must source your information.

Q: "How long should tips be?"
A: Tips vary in length, but are usually around 200-300 words, depending on the topic. The general rule: give as much information as you can so the reader leaves the tip with a definite plan of action.

Books:
Q: "Did you receive my book proposal?"
A: If you submitted your book proposal through the Guru Admin area, as required, then yes, we did get your book proposal. Please understand that we get over a dozen book proposals a day, so it takes time for our editor, Melanie, to go through each and every one of them. Once your proposal is accepted, you will hear from us!

Q: "When will my book be published?"
A: The book publishing process is a long and arduous one. The books go through several editorial drafts before the content (inside of the book) is sent to design for layout. The layout process takes the most time, as we need to fit the tips into the allotted spaces, and sometimes add additional pages and design functionality for the books. Once design is finished it comes back to editorial for another proofing. As you can see, this is a back and forth process that requires many proofs and approvals. It can take a few months for your book to be published once your tips have been approved. We are excited, too!! But we take care to review and review and review your tips and the layout to ensure that the book looks its best.

Q: "How do I get paid for my book?"
A: You get paid by live check once a month for any of your books that were sold the previous month through Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com or other retailers. You will be paid $2/book sale.

Q: "How can other people buy my book?"
A: The books are sold on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other retailers. You can order directly from those sites. If you have a situation where a client/consumer wants to buy in bulk (more than 100 copies) you can email Melanie Nayer and ask for a bulk rate.

Q: "Where can I find other books that you've published?"
A: All the books in the LifeTips 101 book series are found on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and other online book sites. You can also find the most recent books published on Melanie's blog, which is updated weekly with new books printed, news on books, and other Guru jobs and information.

General LifeTips Questions:
Q: "Did you get my W9?"
A: Yes, we did. It might take up to 4-6 weeks for it to register online, as your W9 goes through our accounting department for processing, etc. Don't worry! If you sent it over, we're sure it's here!

Q: "What are the keywords/mobile/question areas, and what does it mean?"
A: This is the foundation of tip writing. Please familiarize yourself with the keywords portion first. Keywords are essential for SEO and web content. You must include the keyword(s) you are targeting in your tips. The question is simply that.the question that answers your tip. This "question" will be featured on the FAQ pages of relating tip sites. The "Mobile" field is for opt-in cell phone subscribers to get mobile messaging on their phones. You should write a 140-character (one sentence) summary of your tip for cell phone downloads.

Q: "When do I get paid?"
A: Checks are cut once a month during the first week of every month. If you were due any money, you can safely assume that your check went out the first week of the month after your assignment was approved by our editors. Please allow 10-14 business days for your check to arrive.

Q: "I didn't get paid $10 per tip - why?"
A: We pay UP TO $10/tip, as stated in all the LifeTips documents and terms and conditions. The grading is based on spelling/grammar and overall tip content. Please review the terms and conditions agreement you signed when submitting your application for more details.

Q: "I don't like the Guru Admin area; can I send you my tips in a word document?"
A: We need you to use the Guru Admin area! The Guru admin area talks to our LifeTips tip sites which talks to our book publisher database.it's a lot of technical jargon, but it works! We recommend that you write your tips out in Word, if you feel more comfortable, and then copy them into the Guru Admin project area.

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Looking For Reviews?

It is always a good idea to get reviews before the
publication process begins, but if you haven't, don't
worry, you can still get reviews. How do you get
reviews? That is the big question, but everyone uses
different methods. Choosing what methods work for
you is the best way to go. I will share with you how
I've been successful at gaining them.
It all started with my first book, THE GOLDEN
LOCKET, a teen novel. I happened to be in the mall at
the same time Mort Crim, an Author and News
Broadcaster was. He was at Waldenbooks signing his
book, SECOND THOUGHTS. I decided to go get a
copy, when I did, I handed him my business card and
told him that I had a book in the publication process. I
then asked him if he would kindly review it for me. A
few days later, Mort Crim took my husband and I out to
breakfast, he gave me a review, and also gave me a
signed copy of his new book. I was thrilled! I will never
forget Mort Crim and what a wonderful man he truly is.
It never hurts to try something like this. I just happened
to stumble across Mort's book signing event, but it's
also possible to just look up events and attend them as
well. Just remember to bring your business cards! There
are many authors out there who will support you and
give you a review, but you will never get it if you don't
ask.

Ask and you shall receive! This is what I did to get
more reviews. While attending Oakland University, I
had asked two of my professors to write a review for
me on my new release, ALL ABOUT ME. They did!
They read my book and gave me a great review. One
thing about professors, they will tell you the truth!
Now, I had three reviews for this book. Then I
remembered my friend from C&G Newspapers who
had written a review for me in the past for THE
GOLDEN LOCKET. I had asked her to write one for
ALL ABOUT ME. She did! Keep all of your contacts,
usually if they write a review once, they will more than
likely write you another.

Another great way to gain reviews is by email. Don't
waste time and money sending media packages out,
unless you get the O.K. first. There are plenty of ways
to get in touch with editors and review personnel by
email. Most marketing books have the names and
emails of book reviewers. Sometimes you can just look
them up under a specific website as well. Example: If
you wanted The New York Times to write a review, just
look up their website, find the editor's email and email
them. I have done this several times with several review
personnel. If I receive a response, then I will proceed
with sending them a package. This way you received a
response, and the reviewer is expecting your package.
No time wasted, and you have a better chance at
gaining that review.

Don't forget, even if you had your book published, still
fight for these reviews. Reviews can be printed up in
the news, announced on the radio, advertised at your
book signings; you can do all sorts of things with your
reviews. Once, I even made a plaque and placed it on
my table at my book signing event; for all to see. I had
received this review after my book had been published,
so I couldn't place it in my book, but I wanted to show
it off. Reviews are a great advertising piece; get as
many as you can.

   

Can't Think Of An Idea?

Have you ever caught yourself in a daze? Have you ever been in a bind and had to think quickly of a solution to get yourself out? Have you ever picked up a pencil or pen and started to draw for no reason? Did you actually come up with something? Have you ever created a story? Have you ever danced new moves? Have you ever thought of some new math puzzles? I could make this list go on and on. This is the many ways that we can make use out of our creative mind to spark our imagination. Sometimes we use our creative mind in a conscious manner because we realize that we are trying to come up with something creative. We can also use our creative mind naturally, without knowing what we are going to come up with. Our creative mind works in many different ways, but one thing is for sure, it is always there. Look around you, what do you see? Create a story utilizing objects and pictures. What did you come up with? Just start writing and you will be surprized what you accomplish. Don't be affraid of your creative mind, just go with the flow.

   

Creating A Character

Have you ever been drawn to someone because of his or her personality? You saw something that you liked about a particular person, but you just couldn't place your finger on it. Maybe they were funny, sweet, exciting or charming. Maybe they were very intelligent, or maybe they could do something that you wished you could do. Whatever the reasoning, know your characters you are creating. Do you know their type of personality? There are many types. Let me list a few:

1. The person who likes to help others.
2. The person who likes to succeed.
3. The person who is romantic.
4. The person who must do everything right.
5. The person who must understand everything and its meaning.
6. The enthusiast person, they are happy about everything.
7. The person who makes peace with the world and its people.
8. A strong person. A leader.
9. A weak person, one who follows others.
10. A trusting person.
11. A person who is a skeptic.
12. A moody person.
13. A person who must be around others at all times.
14. A person who wants to be alone.
15. An animal lover.

When creating a character give them personality along with creating an image. You can use more than one personality type as well.

   

Fragments

A fragment is a group of words posed as a sentence. However, these word groupings cannot stand alone and make sense.

"Tangled in the jewelry box."

When fragments appear next to other sentences in a specific context, they can be difficult to spot.

"That's when I saw the necklace. Tangled in the jewelry box."

The fragment is usually missing either a subject or a verb. In this case, the question would be what is lying in the middle of the floor? We can answer that if the fragment is in context. In this case the answer is the necklace. To fix the fragment, many times you can put the fragment with another sentence or transform it into a sentence.

"That's when I saw the necklace tangled in the jewelry box."

Or:

"That's when I saw the necklace. It was tangled in the jewelry box."

Some writers use fragments to emphasize other sentences or certain points. If you choose to do so, always make sure the fragment will be easily understood from the surrounding text so your reader will not be confused.

   
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