CIRCA:WritingTips

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Here are some ideas for content that could be included as part of the Writing Tips feature.

Lisa: If we're going to link out to other sites we'll need to consider the issue of link verification. Is there a way for the game to check that a link doesn't return an error code before using a tip from that source?

Lisa: We could make the tips self contained within the system with a "source" link at the bottom. This will look tidier and more appealing, will still allow us to attribute credit, deals with the problem that not every tip has it's own unique URI, and broken links will be less intrusive.


Title: Respect your audience
URL: http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/monthtip/tipjan98.htm
Redux: Provide evidence that allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusion. Avoid making value judgements. Don't use the superior "we" e.g. We can now see that, We recommend.
Type: Journalism, Fiction

Title: Eliminate unnecessary words
URL: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/
Redux: Cut words like very, really, actually, and extremely. They do not make your writing more forceful, they only get in the way.
Type: All types

Title: Write with passion
URL: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/
Redux: If you're not excited about your work, no one else will be.
Type: All types

Title: Paint a picture
URL:http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/
Redux: When you want to capture attention use similes, metaphors, and vivid imagery to create an emotional response.
Type: All types

Title: Less is more.
URL: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/
Redux: The objective is not to fill as many pages as possible. it's more difficult (and more effective) to be concise.
Type: All types

Title: Just start.
URL: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/
Redux: Beginning is the hardest part. Don't agonize, just start writing. There will time to revise and polish.
Type: All types

Title: Write all the time.
URL: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/art-of-writing/
Redux: Quantity produces quality. Even short amounts of free time can be productive, you don't need to wait for a long uninterrupted period.
Type: All types

Title: Begin with one grain of sand
URL: http://www.editorialservice.com/11ways.html
Redux: Before you start to write identify the single idea you're trying to get across. Jot it down in one sentence on a note pad next to your computer. If you were writing a news story this would be the headline.
Type: Essays, Journalism, Business writing

Title: Develop a ritual
URL: http://www.editorialservice.com/11ways.html
Redux: Athletes develop rituals that prime their brains to perform. You can develop rituals that put you in the mood to write. It could be a place, an item of clothing, or a favourite pen, or whatever works for you.
Type: All types

Title: Give the reader a map
URL: http://www.editorialservice.com/11ways.html
Redux: Paragraphs, bullets, and subheadings are signposts that help the reader organize information. Start a new paragraph as often as is logically possible.
Type: Business writing, Journalism, Writing for the web

Title: Be active
URL: http://www.editorialservice.com/11ways.html
Redux: Write in the active voice. When you write in the passive voice you may appear to be avoiding responsibility, or putting your readers to sleep.
Type: All types

Title: Read out loud
URL: http://www.editorialservice.com/11ways.html
Redux: Read your writing out loud to yourself. Ask yourself if you would say to your reader what you are writing. Wherever your writing is stuffy, wordy, or impersonal, rewrite it.
Type: All types

Title: Reward yourself
URL: http://gradschool.about.com/cs/thesiswriting/a/diss_2.htm
Redux: Give yourself some incentive. Establish a system of rewards for completing each discrete task that you set for yourself. Make sure you complete the task before rewarding yourself.
Type: All types

Title: Breaking through writer's block
URL: http://gradschool.about.com/cs/thesiswriting/a/diss_2.htm
Redux: When it its difficult to write you can talk your ideas through with someone else, or just out loud to yourself. Write out your thoughts without criticizing them, then edit extensively.
Type: All types

Title: Writing is rewriting
URL:http://gradschool.about.com/cs/thesiswriting/a/diss_2.htm
Redux: Writing is a time consuming process. No draft will be perfect the first time around. Expect to write several drafts before you produce a satisfactory version.
Type: All types

Title: Get some perspective
URL: http://gradschool.about.com/cs/thesiswriting/a/diss_2.htm
Redux: Once you feel comfortable with a particular draft of your work, take some time away from it. After a few days reread the section and edit again with a fresh perspective.
Type: All types

Title: Hook your reader
URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/arts/features/howtowrite/novel.shtml
Redux: Use crisp and unassuming language. Don't make the reader reach for the dictionary.
Type: Journalism, Business writing, Fiction

Title: Mean what you say
URL: Redux: Don't use words unless you are certain of their meaning. Using a thesaurus to impress your audience can have an unintended opposite effect.
Type: All types

Title: Check for necessity
URL: http://www.wikihow.com/Write
Redux: Do all of the sections contribute to the main thrust of the argument or narrative? Eliminate all passages that are not directly relevant to your main purpose.
Type: All types

Title: Don't rely on spell check
URL: http://www.wikihow.com/Write
Redux: Many words might be spelled correctly, but used in the wrong context. Proofread your work, and ask someone else to look over the final copy.
Type: All types

Title: Protect your time
URL: http://www.peacecorpswriters.org/pages/depts/resources/resour_writers/100daysbook/day002.html
Redux: Carve out specific time to write. Set a realistic writing schedule, and stick to it. "The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of one's trousers to the seat of one's chair." - Kingsley Amis
Type: All types

Title: A big finish
URL: http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/conclude.html
Redux: Use your conclusion to stress the importance of your main idea, to give the work a sense of completeness, and to leave a final impression on your reader. Your conclusion should be the best part of your essay.
Type: All types

Title: Write what you like
URL: http://www.aresearchguide.com/1steps.html
Redux: Choose a topic which interests and challenges you. Your attitude towards the topic may well determine the amount of effort and enthusiasm you put into your research.
Type: All types

Title: Make an outline
URL: http://www.aresearchguide.com/1steps.html
Redux: An outline will help you to think through your topic carefully and organize it logically before you start writing. make sure the points covered flow logically from one to the other.
Type: All types

Title: Use topic sentences
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/topic-sentences
Redux: A topic sentence states the main point of a paragraph: it serves as a mini-thesis for the paragraph. When read in sequence, your essay's topic sentences will provide a sketch of the essay's argument.
Type: All types

Title: Start anywhere
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/intros-and-conclusions
Redux: You don't have to write your introduction first. If you're struggling with it, then switch your focus to another section. Be aware that you may have to compress or rewrite your introduction at at later stage.
Type: Essays, Theses

Title: Get to the point
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/intros-and-conclusions
Redux: Get to the point as soon as possible in your introduction. Generally, you want to raise your topic in your very first sentences. A common error is to begin too broadly or too far off topic. Avoid sweeping generalizations.
Type: All types

Title: Leave 'em thinking
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/intros-and-conclusions
Redux: Broaden your focus a bit at the end of the essay. A good last sentence leaves your reader with something to think about, a concept in some way illuminated by what you've written in the paper.
Type: All types

Title: Conclude critically
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/intros-and-conclusions
Redux: The conclusion, like much of the rest of the paper, involves critical thinking. Reflect upon the significance of what you've written. Try to convey some closing thoughts about the larger implications of your argument.
Type: All types

Title:
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/thesis-statements
Redux: A strong thesis statement uses specific argumentative points rather than sweeping general statements; it indicates a theoretical basis and promises substantial support.
Type: Essays, Theses

Title: Plan first
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/planning-and-organizing/organizing
Redux: The best time to think about how to organize your paper is during the pre-writing stage, not the writing or revising stage. A well thought-out plan allows you to pay more attention to sentence-level issues when you sit down to write your paper.
Type: All types

Title: Keep careful records
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources/how-not-to-plagiarize
Redux: Carefully note all sources as you gather your evidence. Write down the author, title and URL or publication information. This is more efficient than having to go back and find citation details later.
Type: All types

Title: Avoid accidental plagiarism
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources/how-not-to-plagiarize
Redux: Don't paste passages from online work directly into your draft. Keep a separate file for your notes and sources. Use different formatting to clearly distinguish your own notes and ideas from those you have copied.
Type: All types

Title: Use your words
URL: http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/using-sources/how-not-to-plagiarize
Redux: Use direct quotes only when the original words are especially memorable. In most cases, use your own words to paraphrase or summarize the idea you want to discuss.
Type: All types

Title: Be prepared
URL: http://www.sfu.ca/philosophy/resources/writing.html
Redux: Before you start to write an essay, you should be able to state exactly what it is that you are trying to show. Whether you actually do it in your paper or not, you should be able to state in a single short sentence precisely what you want to prove.
Type: Academic, Essays

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