Tag Archives: Write to Fit

To Sell Local, Buy Local

Small Business Saturday was occurring as I was editing this week’s video interview with Marcia Lawrence, owner of Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore in Emporia, Kansas. As I listened to the local radio station advertising all the terrific, locally-owned businesses, I thought of the nutrition store where I once worked that closed its natural foods lunch counter for lack of customers. Two and three years after the closure, someone would come in and ask what had happened to that “wonderful lunch buffet.” When they expressed disappointment, I wondered how disappointed they could be. After all, they were just finding out after years had passed that the lunch in our store was no longer available.

Admiration won’t keep your favorite stores in business; only paying customers will. If you love your local bookstore, wherever it may be, show your love with your purchases and send your friends its way as well.

That leads me to today’s interview in which Marcia reveals her favorite sections at Ellen Plumb’s: new books, the classics, and travel books. Her enthusiasm is obvious as she points to new books on current issues, including White Trash and America and Its Guns.  Next, she strokes the covers of “pettable” classics, and, finally, takes us to the growing travel book section. In the final minute, she says it’s not too late to special order books for Christmas. If there is a favorite book you think a friend would enjoy, get in touch with your local bookstore, wherever it may be, and share your love of books.

If you have a favorite local bookstore in your town, please leave a comment about it.

What Bookstore Owners Want

Yesterday, I had the pleasure to interview Marcia Lawrence, owner of Ellen Plumb’s City Bookstore at 1101 Commercial in Emporia, Kansas. Ellen Plumb’s opened September 6, 2016, and I thought getting to know something about Marcia’s book stocking/purchasing processes might be useful to authors looking for space on the shelves of independent bookstores. Check out her interview to learn more about book distributors, consignment sales, and the challenges an independent bookstore owner faces. Also, check her out on Facebook.

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Writing: From Concept to Rough Draft–A Series Overview

Overcoming the Blank Screen

Whether you write with pen, typewriter, or computer, you will probably suffer a bout of writer’s block at some time during your writing life. To help my students get past the blank screen, I put together a prewriting guide.  In the next few blog posts, I will explain the various sections in the guide and the importance of each. Topics that will be covered in the series include freewriting on the subject, developing  the topic sentence or thesis statement, identifying an audience and purpose, and creating the working title and outline.

Write to Fit Project Planner

I discussed the Write to Fit Project Planner in a previous post. Once you have it filled out, it is time to move forward with the first stage of writing: gathering information. The Write to Fit Project Prewriting Guide outlined below is the perfect form to help with that task.

Write to Fit Project Prewriting Guide

This guide gets you started and gives you an organized direction, but your ideas are not written in stone. You may change any one or all of them as better ideas come to you. That is how the writing process works.

Freewriting: The Blurt

With the topic of your project in mind, set a timer and write for ten to fifteen minutes without stopping. One of the following questions may help you get started. What is your experience with the topic? What do you know or believe? How did you learn what you know? Why do you believe what you do? What people do you associate with the topic?

Connection

Explain your connection to the topic. Did someone you know teach you these things? Have you personally observed or experienced the examples given in the essay? Are you writing from experiences gained through a hobby, job, or course?

 Audience

Describe the people you feel will most enjoy or benefit from your essay or article. Consider age, gender, marital status, educational level, profession, and any other pertinent identifying factors.

Purpose

Do you want to inform, entertain, or persuade your audience?

Topic Sentence or Thesis Statement

What is the main point you want to make? If you are writing a single standalone paragraph, the main point will be given in the topic sentence. If you are writing an essay or longer work, your main point will be made in a thesis statement.

Working Outline

A working outline is a simple listing of the details that support your thesis in the order you think you will use them.

Concluding Sentence

Review the information in your previous answers and create a sentence that will bring your essay to an effective conclusion. As with all other answers in this guide, this sentence may be changed as better words and ideas come to you.

You may download a copy of the Write to Fit Project Prewriting Guide and use it to organize your writing projects. Come back to read in depth explanations on each of the components in the guide in upcoming posts.

 

© 2015 Hazel Hart

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If at First You Don’t Succeed . . .

I’ve tried blogging several times without much success, so when my relentless friend and writing buddy, Bonnie Myrick, told me about WordPress’s Blogging 101 course, I immediately signed up. After all, my current blog is all about writing to fit any situation, and blogging is a situation with which I need help. You’ll see what I mean when you read the history of my blogging attempts.

Darksideduo

If you go to the Blogging 101 Commons page and check my avatar, you will see @darksideduo as my username. That name is the result of a blog that never happened beyond the signup stage. Bonnie, my above-mentioned relentless friend, and I had published a book of dark fiction titled Dark Side of the Rainbow. Advice from those who were supposed to know about self-publishing said a blog was absolutely essential to our success. However, once we signed up, we had no idea how to use the blogging tools. We lived fifty miles apart and signed up on my computer, which meant Bonnie was not present to bug me, so now all I have to show for it is a username I can’t get rid of.

Seasoned Aspirer

If I could choose a new username, Seasoned Aspirer would be it. It was the name I used for my publishing company when I published books on lulu.com. It was also the name of a blog I had on GoDaddy. It was my longest running blog but suffered from infrequent posting and lack of publicity. I started a version of Seasoned Aspirer on WordPress, but I couldn’t figure out how to transfer the GoDaddy posts to the new platform, so I had to start over. Seasoned Aspirer is now about doing things I always wanted to do–travel, get healthy, and voice my opinions on a variety of matters. My daughter recently said, “Mom, you have an opinion on everything.” She’s right, but those opinions don’t seem to be showing up on my blog. Wait! I have to write and post them.

A Spirited Journey

A Spirited Journey was a short-lived blog containing research for my 1855 historical novel. I went through GoDaddy, and when I didn’t pay the renewal fee, the contents of the blog disappeared.

Keyhole Conversations

The most successful of my blogging attempts was another partnership with relentless Bonnie. That’s because she was in charge of the design of the site and the actual posts. Keyhole Conversations was a video blog where we posted interviews with other writers. Bonnie did the interviewing and posting, I did the camera videoing, editing, and uploading to YouTube. It was a lot of fun, but I moved to Emporia, ninety miles from Bonnie’s home, so doing the video interviews was no longer viable.

Write to Fit

While the actual web address is my name, the blog name is Write to Fit. In January 2015, I retired from teaching English at a community college. Shortly before that, I published Basic Sentence Structure, my first e-book in the Write to Fit series. The second book in the series, Basic Sentence Add-Ons: Phrases was published in February. The purpose of my blog is to build relationships with my readers, answer questions about topics covered in the books, and blog about writing as a series of choices, such as the best punctuation mark, word, or sentence to fit the audience and purpose of the piece of writing. While my target audience is beginning writers and college students, I welcome those who care about writing to join me.

 

 

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Write to Fit Project Worksheet

Have a writing plan for each project
Whether an instructor has given you a writing assignment or you have come up with a project on your own, filling out a project worksheet is a good first step toward a successful outcome.

Fill in the basics
At the bottom of this post is my project planner for Punctuation Pointers and Pitfalls, the next book in my Write to Fit series. Notice that I entered a start date. For me, it was the day I actually started work on developing the idea, which included filling out the planner and  making a list of punctuation marks to discuss in the book. If your project has been assigned by an instructor, your start date might be the day you received the assignment. Of course, you know the importance of the completion date. Length is also important.  Whether you are writing a standalone paragraph of 150-200 words or a book, knowing how long something will be helps you begin to adjust the topic to fit the size of your project.

Of course, you can tell from the title of my book that I had already narrowed my topic to punctuation marks when I entered the project name. However, you may have a project subject that is vague, like “Civil War” or “Being a Parent.” If so, you will want to bring some focus to it when you fill out the topic and organization sections of the form. However, anything you enter can be changed as your perceptions of what you want to write develop over time. Later blog posts will go into more detail on narrowing topics.

Decide on an overall organizational method
Organization is the main method you will  use to present your topic to the reader. I have chosen definition and process as my main organizational methods. I will be defining the various punctuation marks and their uses. Then I will show how to use them. If you are writing about parenting, you might write a narrative (story) that shows someone being a good parent. You might write a comparison/contrast paper showing the differences in behavior between a good parent and a bad parent. You might write a cause/effect paper showing why someone parents children the way he/she does. Instructors will often tell you the organizational method required for the paper, so read assignment instructions carefully.

Make sure you understand the formatting requirements
Formatting involves what the finished project looks like on the page. Since I am planning to publish my e-book on Kindle, I must follow the appropriate guidelines. Amazon has made available an entire e-book  containing that information. If an instructor has given an assignment, the formatting requirements may come with the individual assignment or be stated in a syllabus or other course document. Since different instructors will have different preferences, make sure you locate and read the assignment formatting requirements carefully. Here are some examples of specifics to look for. Should you indent or not indent the first line of a paragraph? Should you double space the lines. Should you leave an extra line between paragraphs or not? What size and type of font should you use? What margins should the page have? How should you name the file and what file type should you use when saving? These are only a few of the possible formatting particulars you may be required to follow.

List intermediate due dates
Next, there are the due dates. Even short pieces, like paragraphs and essays, have stages of writing that require time for writing, reflecting, and revising. As it has been a week since I first filled out my punctuation book planner, I now see I should have broken down the rough draft deadlines into chapters, perhaps two per week. Without intermediate time limits, it is easy to procrastinate, so I will make those adjustments today.

Make note of other considerations
Depending on the project, you may have other tasks to complete. You may need to view a video, interview one or more people, or perform some other task. You may be asked to write for a particular audience, such as new mothers or high school students. Make note of such requirements in this section.

Write to Fit Project Planner 
You may download a blank Write to Fit Project Planner  to fill out and adjust to fit your needs. You may share the form with others, but please keep the copyright and website link at the bottom of the page. You or your friends may have questions you would like to ask me.

Write to Fit Project Planner Example

Project name: Write to Fit Punctuation Pointers book.
Start date: February 13, 2015
Completion date: May 5, 2015
Length: 50-60 pages

Topic: Punctuation marks and how to use them
Organization: Definition, Process, How to
Special formatting: e-book for Kindle

Due dates:

Prewriting: Feb. 18
Rough draft: April 15
Final draft editing: April 25
Final draft proofreading: April 28
Final draft formatting: April 30
Submission/Publication: May 5

Other considerations

 

 

© 2015 Hazel Hart

New eBook: Basic Sentence Add-Ons: Phrases

Six weeks after my publication goal date, the second book in the Write to Fit series, Basic Sentence Add-Ons: Phrases, is finally available on Kindle. Why did it take so long? It turns out that writing phrase examples on demand is harder than I thought it would be. Creating infinitive phrases as direct objects was particularly difficult. I now have sympathy for writers of grammar quizzes.

   Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon

The purpose of Basic Sentence Add-ons: Phrases is to give students and beginning writers clear definitions and examples of the various kinds of phrases. In addition, readers will find ways to avoid two major pitfalls when using phrases: misplaced or dangling modifiers and incorrect punctuation.

The publication of the next book in the Write to Fit series, Punctuation Pointers and Pitfalls, is scheduled for April 1, 2015. In the meantime, I will be blogging about writing topics ranging from sentence structure to essay development and beyond. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed on this blog, fill out the contact form form below with your request.

 

 

 

Welcome to Write to Fit

Welcome to Write to Fit, my blog for college students and beginning writers of all ages. For the past ten years, I have taught English composition online and have answered countless Basic sentence structure book cover#3 (2)questions for my students. I am starting this blog to share some of the answers that have been most beneficial to them. I will also use it to answer questions from readers of my Write to Fit books series. Both this blog (and eventually the book series) will cover writing issues that students find troublesome. I’ll be discussing everything from getting an idea for your project to creating a thesis and supporting it. I’ll be looking at various ways of organizing essays and articles, including narration, exemplification, comparison/contrast, classification, and more. There will be tips on how to revise, edit, and proofread your work in a way that will allow you to favorably impress your instructors and other readers.

If you have questions or topics you would like me to blog about, please fill out a contact form, and I’ll get back to you.

Copyright © 2015 Hazel Hart