Absolute Blank

By Theryn Fleming (Beaver)


This is not the time to be all emo about writing. When you’re writing an article, you’re not writing for yourself. Or, I should say, you’re not writing只要为自己。你在写自己(永远!)and others。Hopefully you already know yourself well. It’s the others you need to take the time to learn about.


Voice and style.Just because you’re writing an article doesn’t mean you should adopt a snooty tone or take on an uncomfortable style. When I’m teaching, I tell students to write like they talk—to use their own vernacular, not that of an imaginary academic. And you should write the way you normally write. Readers who are familiar with your style should recognize it in the article. Don’t think that you have to put on a suit of fancy words in order to sound authoritative. Your authority comes from being yourself.





If you’ve been asked to contribute to a publication, you know specifically where the article is headed. But even if you don’t know for sure where your article is going to end up, you often have a good idea of the first place you plan to submit it: you read the publication and think your work would be a good fit or you’re responding to a call for submissions. In this case, tailor your article to your target publication, but also have one or two alternates in mind in case the first doesn’t work out.



If you’re topic-less (or you’ve decided the one you initially chose won’t be a good fit): peruse back issues of your target publication and its website. Start brainstorming potential topics based on what you find there.

2. WHO is your audience?



If you have potential topic: revisit your topic and make sure it’s a fit with this audience. If the topic fits with the general theme of the publication, you’re probably good, but you may have to reframe your ideas for the particular audience. For example, an article on writing careers aimed at teens deciding what to major in at college/university would be framed differently than one aimed at middle-aged adults thinking about changing careers. (But keep in mind that once you’ve written your article for one audience, you can adapt it to suit a different audience.)

If you still haven’t pinned down a topic: continue brainstorming. Build on and refine the ideas you came up with in step one.


My answer: This is going to be the February 2013 AB article.

If you’ve been asked to contribute or you’re answering a call for submissions you may know when your article will be published. In other cases, you may not know. Either way, you need to work with the information you have. Articles come in three basic types: timely, cyclical/seasonal, and timeless. Timely articles have a limited shelf-life. These are the kind of articles written in response to a current event. In today’s news cycle, articles on some topics are dated within twenty-four hours. Cyclical (or seasonal) articles are the ones that are appropriate at specific times of the year or every X years (e.g. leap year or election-themed articles). If you’re writing this type of article, advance planning is a must. Timeless articles are ones that could be published any time. They’re not going to have the zing of an article published twelve hours after the latest social media foofaraw, but they’re less stressful to write and easier to place. You can even stockpile them.


If you’re still mulling over ideas, knowing when your article will be published can help you narrow the ideas you’ve brainstormed. Maybe some will work for that date and others won’t. If you don’t know the publication date, same idea. Eliminate the ideas that are too tied to a particular season and focus in on the timeless ones.

4. WHY are you writingthisarticle?

My answer: This article provides a step-by-step process for developing an article, with the goal of demystifying how to choose and frame a topic.

Here I don’t mean “why are you writinganarticle?” the answer to which may be “because someone asked me to,” “because it’ll look good on my resume” or “to get paid.” No. I’m not asking about its extrinsic value.

什么我问的是为什么this文章。什么是它的内在价值,它的意义是什么?是什么在写你的目标?那你想达到什么目的?换句话说,如果有人走过来对你说:“为什么你写的?”你应该有一个答案。答案将取决于你想过到现在的一切。The rationale for an article about the Oscars written for a pop culture blog that’s updated several times a day might be to gossip about Oscar night faux pas or dish about the dresses (goal: to provide amusing commentary on a current event) whereas one written for theJournal of Popular Culture, an academic journal published six times a year, might be to analyze the content of Oscar winners’ speeches cross-referenced with their career trajectories (goal: to unpack strategies employed by celebrities to maintain/increase/recover their status).

By now you should have a good idea of what you’re going to write about, how you’re going to frame it, and why you’ve made these decisions. If you’re still unsure about your topic choice, it’s time to pick the one that seems most promising, take it back to the beginning and run it through the steps. When you get back here, you should have an answer to “Why are you writing about that?”

5.什么是上e thing你希望读者从你的文章带走?

My answer: audience, audience, audience. Know who you’re writing for.


你回答问题四rati将军上ale for writing your article. Your answer here is the specific thing you want readers to take away from it. If you’re dishing about Oscar dresses, it might be “sequined dresses are so last year,” which if readers absorb it, will pop into their head every time they see a photo of a celebrity in sequins, leading them to wonder if the celeb or their stylist is to blame for making such a dated choice, what repercussions will befall person-to-blame—and perhaps avoid making the same sartorial faux pas themselves. Your goal is to provide your readers with a succinct piece of information that they’ll remember—and can use and extrapolate on themselves. Like my example, your “one thing” might seem to be silly or superficial at first glance, but if you’ve chosen wisely, it will guide readers to make their own connections and discoveries.



我的回答:我选择了经典的五个Ws +一个H (who, what, where, when, why, how) information-gathering approach. Because I envisioned these as steps, I decided to present the questions as a numbered list.

Will it be a question and answer format? Numbered or bullet points? Essay-style with headings? Something else? A combination? Often the subject matter will point you in one direction or another, e.g. if you’re interviewing someone, structuring your article as a Q+A makes sense.

Once you’ve decided on your format, construct the frame or skeleton of your article. Generate your interview questions, create your list, decide on your headings. Sometimes this step will require some research. If you’re doing an interview, for example, this would be a good time to research your subject so you can tailor your questions specifically to them. Other times building the framework of your article is easy (you know the points you want to cover) and any research you need to do can wait until you start to fill it in.

Now you’re nearing the end of this article and you’re thinking: but I haven’t written anything yet! No worries. You know where you’re submitting your article, who your audience is, when your article will be published (or you’ve ensured it will be publishable any time), why you’re writing it, what上e thing你希望读者从中拿走了,你打算如何构建它。在细节填充是比较容易的部分。如果你发现自己漂流,一圈又回到了六个问题。永远记住你写的是谁。

Final Poll Results


Absolute Blank


Recap:A few months ago, when I finished up with Part I of this topic,Sell First, Write Later? Non-Fiction Book Writing Seems Like Fun!,我是卖力的,准备去上充实了我的稻草人的想法的非小说类书的边缘。初步的研究和慎重考虑之后,我选择了我的一个承诺书的想法为我的宠物项目。

My Unique Selling Proposition (USP) was compelling and concise:The Pilates Cue Guru: How to Make Magic with the Method is the only handbook for fitness instructors and Pilates teachers that specifically teaches creative ways to effectively cue all the different principles, exercises and goals of the Pilates method.

I settled on using guidelines and templates from two different reference books to create a proposal and the initial query letters. With my “presearch” now done, I was set to move on to the crafting phase: pull the query and a proposal outline together. I was lookin’ to get hitched. Who were my prospects and what would they want from me?

The Pre-Proposal Period



1. Selling statistics, my audience, and the market at large.A sound approach to finding out what sells is to go to a place where they are selling items similar to yours, and snoop around. There’s a reason the average grocery store carries a lot of flavored coffees and teas, but very few limburger-flavored coffees or eye-of-newt teas. The same applies to the books stocked on the shelves on a big chain book store, and what’s being sold on Amazon.com. Since I’m a Pilates instructor, I also have an extra level of information at my fingertips among my professional references. I learned a lot by looking at my own office shelves and internet bookmarks, as well as at bookstores and online.

What I learned:Big chain stores stock one or two perennial favorites in the Pilates subsection of the Fitness and Exercise subsection of the Sports and Fitness aisle. They are written by well-known or well-respected instructors—trainers to the stars, or Pilates elders (original teachers). They are published by imprints of large publishing houses. Expanding my search to the yoga and other fitness categories, I found a similar pattern. The fitness books sold in stores and frequently bought online by consumers are “how to do” books, not “how to teach” books. This is the lay of the land at the point of sale.

在我的专业推荐几个自费出版的书籍,并通过专业的房子代表的大型专业机构公布的几个。例如,认证考试学习指南已经由每一个有信誉的普拉提认证机构发布。一些说明指导手册普拉提解剖,或书籍教特殊人群(产前普拉提,普拉提老年人,等等),也同样存在。您可以通过专有的公司,也卖普拉提设备和主机全国代表大会购买。乔普拉提原回到生活通过Contrologyhas been republished and is selling again, but mostly to instructors. I know Joe Pilates himself had quite a bit of trouble getting his book published; in 1998 it was updated and edited with the copyright assigned to Presentation Dynamics. Duly noted in my notebook of pre-proposal possibilities.

我的外卖:我的头衔是不会使其对消费者的货架上。这是一个“如何教”而不是“如何做”的书。这不会是一个公共图书馆主食,无论是。Its salability is going to be tied to either professional organizations’ interests (like the educational arms of large certifying bodies) or Pilates-related corporate interests (like how Weight Watchers and Yoga Journal added to their empires, which now include cookbooks and yoga kits respectively). This is not the greatest of realizations. What I need is the Pilates equivalent of a university press or a niche-merchandising brand.

I already had the specifics onmy audience—Iam我的一部分,观众和我仍然对在训练中,有多少年,最后x量等,这些数字出版的一些规律性的行业杂志的认证讲师的新号码准备。好消息是普拉提仍然流行,教师和参与者的数量持续增长。

我也发现了一些东西约我的市场that seems positive —there really are no other books out there quite like mine. I’d be filling a hole.

您的外卖:If you want to craft a non-fiction book proposal, determine what books your book would be next to on store and library shelves, then see how your book fits in. Look at your favorite books in your category to find out who published them, and when. Keep notes on every publisher of several books related to or comparable to yours. This list will later help you connect positives for your queries to editors (they’ve published three books about coffee beans but never one on tea leaves; hole in the market I will fill) or negatives for your own notes (dozens of comments and reviews on the coffee-related books online but no one ever comments on the tea books). Finally, pour through your trade journals. Look for books being advertised in the back pages, read book reviews, and find out if the journal publishers also publish books.

2. Potential publishers.首先,我从书我的主人名单,并从上述步骤1的出版商抬头的最具潜力的出版商。我发现实际的网站和指南的作者两种可能性。两者都是较小的印刷机,可能会感兴趣的普拉提冠军,但有没有这么远。我跑进网络上的几个死角为好。死角,因为出版商要么太大,在其网站上发布申请指引,或他们似乎不再存在。一些被大家伙吞噬,和其他一些人只是在互联网上不容易找到。

Next, I went back to the bookstore and pulled the most recent作家的市场现成的,花时间交叉引用我有我的名单上留下的潜在发布。是的,我这样做,在书店。我买了一个过高的拿铁咖啡,所以我没有感到太内疚。我必须说,市场对作家已经改变,因为我上次看的“最受信赖的指南入门出版”十年前。我通过它学到了很多东西翻转。

What I learned:20.11作家的市场有七颗出版商是他们已经合并到自己的宇宙几十人的领域的大师的图表。这只是一个名称列表真的,这样你就不会得到细节作家的市场about submitting to, say, Random House or any of its 70+ imprints. I learned a few trainers-to-the-stars had books published by bigger houses. How did they do that? I’ll guess: an agent. That, and/or a reputation with a recognizable celebrity or sports name as a testimonial. I looked up several of the smaller publishers I had searched for on the internet, and found most of them not to be present in作家的市场,无论是。

我的外卖:I was left with the couple of maybes I found online and in作家的市场, and a protruding pout. Back to the drawing board to figure how I can get hooked up with my “Pilates equivalent of a university press or a niche-merchandising brand.”

您的外卖: You can pout, but you have to keep trying till you’ve exhausted your avenues. (The latte does help.) A few months ago, I thought that non-fiction book writing seemed like “fun!” but I’m here to tell you it feels a lot more like “work!” at this stage. Keep your trusted notebook of possibilities at hand. There’s more to do.

2.5。更多潜在的出版商。因为我只发现了三个极具发展前景,而不是八个,这是我的目标潜在的出版商,我决定前往远一点下来的专业贸易之路。我一开始的几本杂志和在线出版物我自己阅读和参考。PilatesStylemagazine has a readership that overlaps my book’s market—niche consumer along with a lot of instructors, as it is the only Pilates-specific magazine out there. I found some articles on the path to teaching, and featuring other teachers. Nothing much new as far as book publishing goes, though. Next I went to IDEA, the world’s largest association of fitness professionals, of which I am a member. Their collection of articles on mind-body fitness pursuits is hard to beat. I search through the giant Inner IDEA website for anything related to my book proposal, and guess what comes up? An article:“定位的艺术”的雷尔Ishowitz。He’s pretty famous in the modern Pilates world.

What I learned:It’s a lovely article. No, it doesn’t do what I say my book is going to do, exactly. Phew. Instead, it’s a more general article on why cuing is important and it discusses how one can improve one’s instruction with attention to the art of cuing. So yeah, there’s some overlap for sure. But not a lot of specifics. (This is all me talking to myself after reading the article.)My本书有细节。正如我的USP说,这是一本手册。对于人指努力开发更好的线索进行练习,或获得新的方式的想法,以帮助人们形象化exercises-时

—Uh-ohhh. A revelation. I think I know why there’s a hole and it hasn’t been filled with a book. It’s not the market, and it’s not the audience, and it’s not even the subject—it’s thefunctionof the book. Thefunctionof the book (I repeat to myself, nodding for emphasis) in relation to the subject and the audience.Howwill this book be used, and when? I can answer that question myself (Iammy audience, after all) in two words. It won’t. Instructors will take an illustrated guide to pre-natal exercises off their shelf and use them to plan such classes ahead of time. They will take down their anatomy book to look up a muscle group that is giving someone trouble. They will read their study guides before testing or retesting and they will read Joe Pilates’ book to understand the historical context of the method.


我的外卖:I’m okay, I’m okay. Even though I’ve come this far only to realize I cannot propose my book because I, as my own audience, know that I won’t read my book of lists of ways to cue the body in Pilates classes. Iwill然而去讲习班或研讨会,并有我的配合专家讲了一个小时左右的话题......我会读一篇文章或一个系列的文章就这个话题引发一些想法,给我一些新线索试用。我甚至将节省的商品的商品或系列,并用它来帮助鼓舞其他老师谁我可能是训练......但(哇!)我不会看我自己的书。时间勾勒出我的想法车间。时间研究杂志和网络资源,将发布我的文章(IDE​​A和PilatesStyle浮现在脑海中!)。

您的外卖:When developing your non-fiction book idea, aside from considering your expertise as the author, the market for your topic, your audience’s needs, trends in publishing for your genre, the potential for selling this book, and your USP, also consider the function of your book. How and when will this book be used in the format you’re suggesting? An encyclopedia of tea leaves is one thing, but旅游画报指南选择茶叶在任何亚洲市场better be a slim little thing—like maybe a brochure that an Asian tea company gives away.


Final Poll Results

Sell First, Write Later? Non-Fiction Book Writing Seems Like Fun!

Absolute Blank


嘿,我嫉妒朱莉·鲍威尔,当我看到电影Julie & Julia。Writer on the side, loves to cook and eat, in the right place at the right time for herfirst little blog成为一个受欢迎的博客,则成为一本书的报价,那么畅销书,那么电影处理。主演我们这个时代最伟大的女演员

请我将其中的一个。是的,上e-hit wonder. That’s fine with me. Non-fiction you say? Mmmm. Even better, maybe. There doesn’t seem to be much of a market for my poetry after all, and I do have a couple of great ideas for non-fiction already brewing. One is handbook for Pilates instruction and the other is a self-help guidebook to personal health and wellness.



So, how does one go about writing a non-fiction book that sells?


让我告诉你我做了什么,以及我在哪里。首先,我想到了非小说类图书市场,我很熟悉的感觉,我可以在这里出售。只是直觉。我想这是有些容易写我的书。这是正确的,我只是说我要赚钱and我想这是有些容易。I am a businesswoman who works long hours at a physically and mentally demanding job as a fitness studio owner. I’m also writing on the side as a service journalist for an online content provider, delivering simple articles on health and fitness topics for extra money—my fledgling studio hasn’t put me in the black yet. I don’t want my book project to be the death of me. I want it to pay off. I want to be good at writing it, so I can maximize the return on my time investment. These are my demands.

Turns out, being good at writing non-fiction写作是销售的非小说类书的首要条件之一。幸运的我!直观地说,我是在正确的轨道上。研究告诉我,我需要有经验,或者一个特殊的独特的视角,或者明确的专长负荷,写这本书,并把它卖掉。我相信我做的。



在想什么我可能会写,买我的参考书之间,我偶然发现了这块金块的发送我的愿景变为超速信息:在非小说,你不写博ok first.你写了一个提案,并出售了这本书。这可不是闹着玩的,你sell该book before you write it!

Basically, I’ll have to create a marketing plan in order to sell my book. Woo hoo! It so happens I have a marketing background. I developed brand strategies for large clients and the communications that would support them. So my heart went aflutter. Perfect.

Step 2: Secure reference books to guide the process.

I looked at reviews and picked three highly-rated guides to help me understand winning ways to approach the non-fiction book market. After that it was full speed ahead, consulting the three books, comparing advice and taking notes. Here are the titles:

Wow! Non-fiction seems like fun!

There are a few different approaches and actual proposal outlines offered among these books. In Camenson’s book, she recommends crafting a stellar query letter and sending it simultaneously to several editors or agents at once. The query offers up the full proposal to those interested. Before all that, of course, comes the research that will show up in your proposal, and be used to beef up your query: competitive and similar titles, what makes your book unique in the market, who the target audience is, and more. This is the approach I already imagined.

In Lyon’s book, the same is recommended but with a few more caveats. There’s a lot to be said for the writer who can devote a lot of time to the business of being a writer. For example, going to conferences each year, to hopefully meet editors or agents, knowing other established writers, or being able to talk with someone who can give you a referral to an agent or editor. But for me, this book is pretty much my fourth job. Industry networking isn’t happening. I’m on my own, a little minnow in the Unsolicited Sea.

The idea of finding an agent always sets me back, I must admit. It seems just as hard to get an audience with an agent as with an editor. To me, it looks like an extra set of locked doors to break through. There’s other good stuff in Lyon’s book, but maybe this mindset isn’t the right match for me.




Step 3: Decide on the approach.

For me, this means first picking the book idea I will work with, since I have more than one. They lend themselves to different approaches so I really can’t move forward until I commit to a path. Here’s what I’m choosing from:

  • A)The Pilates Cue Guru: How to Make Magic with the Method是健身教练和普拉提老师的唯一手册是专门教创造性的方式来有效地提示各种不同的原则,练习和普拉提方法的目标。图定位是身心锻炼和普拉提特别的成功和享受,那里设有浓度,精度,流量和更多的核心原则是至关重要的。
  • B)项目选择一件事:重新发现,照顾你的美丽的自我,履行每一位是一个引人入胜,访问健康和保健的鼓励有志于自我提升忙碌的成年人中积极的生活方式的改变,一个易于参考格式指南。这是第一本以提供一个可定制的方式来照顾的身体,思想和生活的各个方面在非正式百科全书式的风格,是言之有物,但永不干涸;可信的,但没有临床。

I have chosen, for my first attempt to take place this year, to go with A.

I’m just a little deflated by my choice because I’m pretty sure B is the real money-maker of the two, and I’m not going to get on奥普拉与选择A.另外,项目选择一件事是该最developed of my ideas, as I have been blogging in that very format for months now, and could clearly demonstrate its direction and my writing style with samples from my posts. However, my blog doesn’t have that many readers at this point, and while I love it and believe in it, I feel that it’s a harder sell.

请记住,我不仅要编写销售非小说类的书;首先,我得卖的建议。我有很强的证书和经验,作为一个普拉提教练和我的插入磁是酒吧没有(如果我不这样说我自己),这就是为什么我想出了摆在首位的书的想法。所有其他教师或高年级学生我见到印证了我在这方面的天赋。这将是容易界定我的潜在市场的规模和我个人可以备份图书推广使用published articles,我的获奖普拉提工作室和证书。


I want to find eight potential publishers to query, two or three at a time. I’ll query my leading contender within the first batch I send out, with the goal of landing it, or learning from the ‘no.’

The format I’ll use for my proposal will be the one from Whalin’s book (Page 154, Figure 1). Its marketing-esque slant, including the call for a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which I have already started to do in my overviews of A and B above, feel like the right fit for me.

Step 4: Find Publishers, Query the Editors.


Final Poll Results


Absolute Blank

By Mollie Savage (帽子)

20.07 was an interesting year in Little Rock, Arkansas; it was the fiftieth anniversary of the Central High School integration crisis and emotions were high. Books were published reflecting every perspective of the issue. Among the many books I read and authors I met during the year, the most refreshing and honest was Betsy Jacoway. Her book,掉转你的儿子,approached the crisis via interviews with the myriad people involved. As a transplanted Northerner, the whole integration issue seemed foreign to me, and her book gave me a perspective I would not otherwise have had. When Betsy had a book signing at the bookstore where I worked, we clicked and became friends. I am delighted that she would share with all of us the process of collecting oral history.


A Brief Bio

掉转你的儿子Elizabeth Jacoway在阿肯色州的小石城,在那里她参加了公立学校长大。作为一个孩子,她经历过的1957-1959小石城废除种族隔离危机,而是穿着强加给特权南部的白人女种族隔离文化的眼罩,她没有“看”或问题在自己身上所社区发生的变化。直到她在她的第一个研究生研讨会,由乔治B.廷德尔在北卡罗莱纳州大学进行落地,她才开始审视自己区域的有缺陷的和悲惨的历史。在自认为痛苦地介绍自己过去的现实这些年来,她的智力重点一直放在来源,动力和在美国生活的种族主义的影响。接受博士学位后在从北卡罗来纳州1974年大学南部历史,她任教于美国佛罗里达州的阿肯色的小石城大学的大学,和里昂大学。已婚和两个成年儿子的母亲,她在纽波特,阿肯色州的小,密西西比三角洲社区住了30年。她在2007年出版的书约小石城,她一直在研究了三十年,掉转你的儿子:小石城,危机震惊全国(Free Press).

掉转你的儿子won the 2008 Willie Lee Rose Prize, awarded by the Southern Association for Women Historians for the best book in southern history by a woman, and also the 2008 William Booker Worthen Literary Prize, awarded by the Central Arkansas Library System.

TC:Could you explain how one goes about collecting oral history, and how one does that in a sensitive environment such as race relations. Just your process will be fine.


By the summer of that year I was able to compile a list of over a hundred people who were still alive and who had played significant roles in the Little Rock story, and I started studying the available literature about how to conduct an interview. That process would have been so much easier if I had had access to the Internet! As it was, I was bound to the library and to correspondence with such organizations as the口述历史协会

Just about that time, the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina invited me to do interviews with Daisy Bates and Vivion Brewer (President of the Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools), and so I prepared ferociously and jumped in with both feet. Both interviews turned out to be delightful and incredibly revealing, and I was hooked. I realized immediately that the interview was a potential source of information that could not be found in any archive or library, and that it allowed the researcher to ask questions about things that no one had thought to record. Of course the interviewee always has his or her own biases and agendas, and everything he or she says has to be checked against archival materials, but the interviewee also brings an immediacy and interest to the subject that newspapers, diaries, and secondary accounts fail to convey.

我Bates和布鲁尔的采访之后,我就开始热情地为我能看到的,将是对我的书的最佳信息来源做准备。我已经发起了专注于南方的白人商人在民权运动中的作用(最终由LSU出版社出版的分拆计划南方商人和废除种族隔离), so for the remainder of 1976 I interviewed over thirty of Little Rock’s business leaders from the 1957–1959 period, and I also interviewed (because he happened to be in town) Harry Ashmore, editor of the阿肯色州公报during the crisis.


At this point, I talked only to white people (except for the commissioned interview with Daisy Bates)—in part because I was focusing on the business leadership, but also because I did not have access to the black community, and I did not feel that I understood the issues and the feelings across that racial divide. I felt very keenly my limitations in being able to bridge that divide, both as a white person and as a woman.

A series of events converged to take me away from my focus on 1957—marriage, motherhood, a move away from Little Rock, two other book projects—as well as fear that I had waded into a study that was going to make a lot of people unhappy (which it has). At length, however, the Little Rock project just reached out and grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. To my great good fortune, my work led me into a friendship with Annie Abrams, one of Little Rock’s leading advocates of interracial harmony and an old friend of Daisy Bates. Through Annie, I developed routes of access into and a deepening understanding of black Little Rock. Also, Minnijean Brown Trickey (one of the Little Rock Nine) has become a real friend, as has Elizabeth Eckford (the stoic black child in the iconic photograph of Little Rock). I can’t pretend to understand the experiences these women have had, and an entirely different book could have been written from their perspectives, but through their generosity, they have helped me enormously to bridge the gap between my world and theirs. For me, it has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life.

TC:Betsy, this is great. I thank you.

Could you delve a little more into the actual process? From making contact, determining your questions, how you conducted the interviews—and if anyone said no (or just clammed up during the process) and how you dealt with that.


The hardest part of the interview is to get your tape recording equipment set up quickly and as unobtrusively as possible, so that you and your interviewee can kind of forget about the fact that the tape is running (this always makes folks self-conscious). They will usually be nervous, so I always start with an open-ended question (one that can’t be answered with a yes or a no) and let them run with it as long as they want. Then I start to steer the interview into the subjects I want to be sure to cover. I save any delicate questions for the last quarter of the interview, and by then my subject is usually comfortable with me and willing to be forthcoming. Of course you never offer judgments on anything they share with you, you never contradict or correct them, and you never go off on tangents of your own (and sometimes that’s hard).

As a general rule, interviews should not last longer than an hour or so, because most folks get tired and lose interest in the process. The great exception to this rule is Justice Jim Johnson, who is now in his late eighties and who will still be going strong after three hours! I have interviewed him two dozen times because he is an absolute font of information, and also because he is incredibly honest with me—telling me the bad things about himself as well as the good! For my purposes, however, most people have told me all that I needed to know from them in about an hour.

Only one person has refused an interview with me, and that is Melba Patillo Beals, one of the Little Rock Nine. She wrote a powerful memoir titledWarriors Don’t Cry,她认为这是所有需要在小石城危机的话题道。她不相信有人谁在1957年并没有中央高中内可能可能有什么话要说的价值,当然,如果她是对的,所有的历史学家都将是企业的。我希望我的书表明,有在任何历史时期的许多观点,而且它拓宽了我们的“真理”的概念的理解研究从多个角度的任何事件。

Governor Orval Faubus had been interviewed so many times by the time I sat down with him that I found his responses to be fairly rehearsed. I came back for a second interview ten or fifteen years later and tried to steer him away from some of the pat answers he had been giving for years. He said at one point “there are things that I know that I’m not going to tell you unless you ask me about them,” and of course this was very frustrating to me! Apparently he took many of his secrets to the grave.

The standard practice in the oral history business is for the researcher to have the interviewee sign a release form giving permission to quote from the interview and use it in subsequent printed work. Many presses require this legal documentation before agreeing to publish your work, and many libraries and archives require it as well before accepting interviews for deposit. After the interview, the researcher then transcribes the tapes (or pays someone to do it), and amazingly enough, one hour of tape requires about eight hours of transcribing. This is what makes oral history programs so expensive.


The same is true of archival research. You might spend weeks in a particular collection and then use just one or two bits of information from that research trip. This can be very frustrating, but you have to immerse yourself in information to get a feel for how it all fits together. It is not unlike putting a puzzle together, or solving a mystery.


EJ:Well, my son is on the list for a kidney transplant and that is consuming all my time.

TC:You know our thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview.

Final Poll Results

Tips for Writing a Term Paper

Absolute Blank

By Theryn Fleming (Beaver)

These are general guidelines for writing a paper. The specific requirements of your field and your instructor’s directions of course trump anything said here.


Start thinking about your topic early on. Do not leave this decision until the night before (or week after) the paper is due. If your instructor gives you a list of topics to choose from, try to find out which topics are most popular and avoid them.

Don’t underestimate the importance of topic choice. Not only does an original topic show your instructor that you’re interested and engaged in the material, but after marking twenty papers on [insert overdone topic here], your instructor will find your paper on [something different] very refreshing.


2. Research


大多数图书馆目录是否在线。用你的大学图书馆找到你需要的书。Many libraries will allow you to put items on hold—meaning not only is the book saved for you (for a period of time), but when you go to pick it up, it’s already at the counter waiting for you—no need to search the stacks for it. If you need a book that your library doesn’t have, find out which libraries do have it atWorldCat中and order it through interlibrary loan.

多数大学和学院也给自己的学生学术期刊的在线访问。使用适当的数据库(即那些针对您的域)找到的文章。另一个伟大的资源是Directory of Open Access Journals,免费,在线科学和学术期刊的列表。




除非你的老师特别说也没关系,不举Wikipedia(or any other encyclopedia) in an academic paper. That doesn’t mean you can’t make use of it, however. Here are四种好方式使用维基百科



记住five-paragraph format你在高中学到了什么?算了吧。只要你的观点是明确的,你可以组织你的文章,你喜欢的任何方式,因为你需要使用尽可能多的段落。

相反,具有过一般的背景信息填写您的介绍中,清楚地说明你的论文,并给您计划在作文做一些指示。这不仅有助于读者,但它表明,youknow what you’re writing about. (You might be surprised how many people don’t!)


4. Content

It’s fine to use first person to say things like “In this paper, I argue that…” or “Next, I will discuss…” (But please don’t say “Wewill…” There is only one of you.)

On the other hand, it’s not okay to make a bunch of unsubstantiated opinion statements. In an essay, you must support your arguments with evidence (facts and examples).

Examples can’t be mere lists of things. You must briefly describe each example and explain why it supports your argument—even if it seems obvious to you. The reader shouldn’t have to guess at why you think it’s important.

When you mention the name of an expert in your field, be sure to include enough context to show that you know who the person is. In the same vein, don’t forget to define important terms. Remember, you are showing the reader what you know. A good strategy is to write as if your reader is an intelligent person who is unfamiliar with your field.

Just becauseyou知道的东西并不意味着这是常识。常识是什么,人都知道。有疑问时,引用您的信息来源。

Also, often people believe something to be true when it is in fact not. Be sure to verify your information.


A term paper is not an IM conversation, a text message, or your Facebook wall. Part of writing a paper is demonstrating that you are able to write in a context-appropriate style. Avoid abbreviations, slang, and clichés.

Your instructor doesn’t ask you to use proper grammar and spelling, format your document in a certain way, or cite your sources to torture you. These details are what give your paper—and you, by extension—credibility. (Wouldyoutake seriously a paper that was riddled with typos, had obvious cut-and-pastes in several different fonts and colors, and lacked citations?) If that doesn’t convince you, keep in mind that a properly formatted paper is much easier to read that one that is rife with errors—and you want to keep your instructor’s reading experience as pleasant as possible.


Keep within the word or page range your instructor gives you. Extra-wide margins, triple spacing, and large fonts don’t fool anyone.

Unless you are told otherwise, title pages are not numbered and the first page of writing is page 1 (not 2). If you don’t know how to make your word processor skip the page numbering on the first page of your document and/or start the page numbering at 1 on the second page of your document, take five minutes and figure it out.


Cite your sources, both in text (in parenthetical citations) and in a References (a.k.a. Works Cited, Bibliography) section at the end of your paper. Provide sources for paraphrases as well as direct quotations. Direct quotations need a page number (use a paragraph number and/or section heading if page numbers aren’t available, as with online documents).


Format citations in the style specified by your instructor. Yes, this can be a bit of a pain, especially if you’re in a department that uses one style and taking a class that uses a different style. However, remember you want to be kind to your instructor. It is much easier to check the completeness of citations if they are all in the same format. Style guides for many popular citation formats can be found online. For example, the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) has excellentMLA(humanities) andAPA(社会科学版)风格指南。


Don’t use unnecessaryquotation marks或虐待apostrophes。(If you don’t get why these sites are funny, it’s time to brush up on your grammar.)


Final Poll Results

A Surreal Life:

Absolute Blank

By Theryn Fleming (Beaver)

“This is a huge honor. It’s also kind of surreal—I started posting my stuff on TC with my tail between my legs, feeling a bit unworthy.” This is how Steve Simpson prefaces his answers to the questions I posed to him in an email interview last month.

A few years ago when Steve a.k.a. Macfisto started posting at the Toasted Cheese forums, he was an unpublished writer working on his first novel—with all the typical insecurities that entails. He soon endeared himself to us with his consistently helpful posts at the forums and by writing a great article aboutfinishing said novel。最后,我们邀请他加盟的编委。在过去的几年里,史蒂夫已判断秋天三呼和搭配靴子和Ana沿虎写作比赛。

These days it’s hard to imagine Steve feeling “unworthy.” In addition to his day job as a clinical psychologist, he writes two regular advice columns and recently had his first non-fiction book published. Two more are in the works. As if that’s not enough, he and his wife Shelley are also the parents of four toddlers.

Steve’s come a long way since his first tentative posts at Toasted Cheese and we at TC are immensely proud of his accomplishments. So when he said he was looking for a way to give back to the community, we couldn’t think of a better way than for him to share his journey and success with TC’s readers.

yabo亚搏体育烤奶酪:我知道你的Mac那些人是一个。但来的,承认这一点,PC is funnier

Stephen W. Simpson:The PC guy is funnier, but I bet it’s not so funny when you have to live with one of those skittish Windows boxes. At our last conference, Rick’s Dell wouldn’t play a DVD he needed to show. I handed him my Power Book and said, “When are you gonna learn?”

TC's Amazon StoreTC:什么是不好笑在演示过程中高科技混战?这就是喜剧的黄金!

一边开玩笑,你的第一个(出版)一书,共同撰写瑞安豪斯和理查德·鲁普,是What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Sex: A Guide for Christian Men。告诉我们的合作写书的过程。谁的想法来到了?你真的写起来还是你的每本书的编写不同的部分?我认为我们的读者也想知道你是怎么找到你的出版商和多久的全过程,从创意到印刷了。


We each wrote different chapters, then all three of us worked on making sure everything hung together. At first, I thought working with two other authors would make the process easier. We got the first draft together pretty fast, but after that a lot of, um, “discussion” took place about what we wanted the book to be. We even argued over the cover and title options the publisher gave us. In the end, however, I think the book is better for it. None of us could have written it alone.


TC:什么妻子祝...在今年四月份就出来了。你和你的妻子成为雪莱parents to quadruplets in May 2005。这样就意味着在本书的写作正好与前两年你的孩子的生活。告诉我们你是如何设法写一本书,另外两个在养育四个孩子和维护私人执业(和你在教学临床心理学有一段时间,我也相信)。

SWS:By sleeping only four hours a night and mainlining caffeine. We proposed the book before Shelley was pregnant. Though I was ecstatic when we got the contract, it really couldn’t have come at a worse time. I usually started work after our night nanny came on duty around 11 p.m. I read a warning on a can of Red Bull that said you shouldn’t drink more than four a day, but I discovered that it’s no problem if you don’t mind the heart palpitations. At work, sometimes I’d shut the door to my office and pass out on the couch.

Steve_Family.jpgShelley and Steve with the kids earlier this year. By the way, Shelley’s also a psychologist—the kids aren’t going to have a chance with teenage angst!

TC:我想这些经验必须教给你很多的时间管理。您目前写两个columns-”问男人收缩”和‘神在地面’ - 对于Divine Caroline。告诉我们列,并解释你如何找到时间。

SWS:”那人问收缩”亲爱的艾比会写if she were a man and a wise-ass. Divine Caroline is a women’s web site, so the idea is to offer the male perspective along with advice from a psychologist. “God on the Ground” is about finding God in places that you wouldn’t expect. It’s my favorite of the two, but the harder to write. It forces me to pay attention to my spiritual life, because, if I don’t, the next column will suck.


TC:So that’s the secret. Speaking of payment, you’ve already got contracts for two more books. Your second book is about dating for Christian men. Tell us about it.


TC:你最近收到合同后第三本书editor read an article you’d written about the first year with your quadruplets and asked for a book proposal (very cool!). This one is going to be a memoir. What can you tell us about it? Have you started writing it?

SWS:The working title (which I’m sure the publisher will change) isQuadruplets and Accomplices: Tales of a Cynic Assaulted by Joy。It describes the spiritual journey of someone (me) who starts off passionate about his faith, becomes cynical and disillusioned, and then discovers God again. Unlike a lot of Christian memoirs, this book talks about how difficult it is to be a Christian because it means having a relationship with a God who’s mysterious and sometimes aggravating. Shelley’s pregnancy and the first year with the quads was the pinnacle of my confusion and frustration with God, but then he used the experience to help me rediscover joy. A lot of people who were once excited about their faith become cynical after having hurtful experiences with religion. This book is for them.

I just finished the first draft. It’s due to the publisher the day after Labor Day, so I’ll be rewriting the rest of the summer.

TC:Which of your writing projects (whether complete, published, or in-progress) is your favorite and why?

SWS:到目前为止,这回忆录。我写更多的乐趣than anything else. I also think it’s a paradigm-changing work of genius, but that’s only because I just finished the first draft. I’ll probably hate it next week. Other than that, my三呼和老虎的故事在我的心脏一个特殊的地方。我记得我写它,它是这样的一个时期,当肾上腺素不断抽水,有想法填充你的大脑。这也是我第一次出版的小说,这是我一直在追逐多年。当我得到的电子邮件说,我已经赢得了比赛,我抓住雪莱和周围的房子开始跳舞。

TC:The memoir sounds like it shares a lot of themes with your first novel,播放荆棘, which you wrote an Absolute Blank article about finishing in2003年11月播放荆棘是非常经典的第一部小说,因为它是基于你自己十几岁的经验。如何重要的是它为你写的故事吗?发生了什么事与现在的项目?而且你有没有在作品中的任何新的小说?

SWS:It was very important for me to write that novel, but for different reasons than I thought at the time. It was a bit therapeutic, of course, but it also taught me a ton about writing and publishing. Since I received well over a hundred rejection letters, I learned to keep my expectations low after sending off a query letter. Just ask my co-authors—whenever a publisher would look at our proposal, I’d tell them, “Don’t get your hopes up. It’s probably not going to happen.”


As far as fiction goes, I don’t have much going on. Over the last few years I’ve had to accept the fact that I’m a better nonfiction writer. That’s my focus right now. But I have notes for a short story I hope to start after I’m finished with the memoir. I love the writing I’m doing now, but publishing a novel is still the big dream. However, I’m not going totryto come up with an idea for one anymore. If I write another novel, it will be because an idea whacks me on the head that’s too good to ignore.


SWS:I’ve heard a lot of people say that you need to write every day, but I can’t do that. I need a reason to sit down at the computer, even if it’s just a fleeting inspiration for a short story or an article. Once I set my mind to a project, however. I set aside specific times to work. When I’m doing a first draft, I need chunks of at least two hours. Of course, getting a contract helps. When I’m getting paid something—even if it’s peanuts—it’s easier to give up time that I could be using to see clients. I used to write at night, but that’s a lot harder nowadays. I’m too wiped out at the end of the day to do much more than veg in front of the TV.

Marathons? Bah! Running 26 miles is cake compared to parenting four toddlers. Only recently did I start running regularly again. And it hurts more now! So no more marathons for the foreseeable future, though I’d like to do a half sometime in the next year.

TC:在你的Divine Caroline bio, you say your favorite mistake was “parking my car in the wrong place at a U2 concert and then running into Bono and the Edge when I went to move it.” So we have to know: did they say anything to you? (Or you to them?) I know U2 is your favorite group, but what other music do you like? Do you listen to music while you write? What would your “Writing Mix” playlist have on it?


现在,我在听拱廊之火的霓虹圣经一遍又一遍。这是我多年以来听到的最好战绩。在一般情况下,我是一个失控的音乐迷的。我有我的iPod 7,000首歌曲。当我写,我听或者巴洛克音乐或坚硬的岩石像AC / DC。如果我工作的一长段,我确切地知道它是怎么回事,硬的东西帮助我捣出来更快。如果我发现我的方式,我什么都不要太分心。

TC:Baroque or AC/DC. That is a truly awesome juxtaposition.

在你的TC bio,你说你被J.R.R.启发写托尔金和刘易斯C.S.。是否有任何其他作家从那以后启发了你?你喜欢什么当前的作家?


TC:In “The First Novel Marathon,” you mention Stephen King’s On Writing. What other resources (books or otherwise) have helped you with your writing?

SWS:Anne Lamott’sBird by Bird是一个很好的资源。发臭和白色的风格的要素是good to have on your shelf. Other than that, it’s all Toasted Cheese, baby.

TC:I can’t argue with any of those.

When you wrote your first (vampire!) story in seventh grade your teacher said, “Keep this up and you’ll write a novel someday.” You’ve said that her words “haunted” you, so you wrote a novel. How important was your teacher’s encouragement in terms of your writing? Has anyone else acted as a writing mentor for you?

SWS:If Mrs. Travis hadn’t said that to me, I don’t think I’d be answering your questions right now. It was the first time anyone ever said anything good about my writing. My handwriting was (um, is) atrocious, and that doesn’t go over well in grade school.

I’ve had several writing mentors—Miss Keen, my high school journalism teacher, had a huge impact. Some other friends and professors have been important. But Theryn Fleming[I did not pay him to say this. –TF]and the folks at Toasted Cheese have done more than all of them combined. I’m not even saying this to butter you up or plug TC—you guys changed the way I think about writing.

TC:Aw, thanks. It means a lot to hear that. Now, since I’m a little verklempt, let me turn it back to you.

你有一个有趣的和不同的背景:started college with an interest in journalism, but ended up with an M.A. in Theology and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Somehow you’ve managed to combine all three. There’s lots of advice out there for people writing “on the side,” that is, writing while working at an unrelated day job. What advice can you give people who are trying to combine writing with another career?

SWS:Four things: Structure, patience, passion and being open to feedback.

You need to make writing a structure in your life, even if it’s just a couple hours every week. Anne Lamott says that if you write just one paragraph a week, you’ll have a book in two years. You just have to be consistent. I’ve met so many people who say they want to write a book—and have the talent for it—but it never happens because they don’t make the time. If you have a career, family, school, etc., time to write a book isn’t going to suddenly materialize. You have to be intentional about it.

You also need patience. Expect rejection notices, especially at first. You also have to be willing to write for free. When you do get paid, it won’t be very much. Along these lines, you have to be passionate about writing. It almost needs to feel like you don’t have a choice. A lot of the publishing game is about perseverance.


TC:Great advice. Well, that about wraps things up. Well, except for one final question…




TC:Thanks, Steve.

Final Poll Results


Absolute Blank


When I was in junior high, I tried to read a book about druids. I really wanted to understand the culture. I was motivated to read. And after the end of the first few pages, I sat back and tried to figure out what I’d learned. I was upset to realize I couldn’t really remember anything at all about what I’d just read. I read the first few pages again, and still came up blank. I tried to read more, but I couldn’t seem to retain any information about the druids, or anything else. I ultimately shoved the book under my bed, and decided that even though I was highly literate when reading fiction, I was completely illiterate when it came to reading non-fiction. I’d had same problems with most of my textbooks. And with other non-fiction I’d tried to read. It was like trying to read in a foreign language I didn’t know.

Things didn’t improve much as I got older. It was a struggle to get through the technical articles I needed to read to get my degree. I avoided non-fiction books like the plague. What was it that made reading non-fiction so hard for me? I wasn’t stupid, I understood the words, and I even understood the facts most of the time, but I just couldn’t seem to understand how things fit together.

Eventually I realized the problem was not so much about my inability to read. I found some non-fiction books I had no trouble with at all. I discovered that the problems I had all stemmed from the presentation.

There are two ways to write non-fiction. One way is to list a bunch of facts you want people to know about the topic. This was the way I most encountered. The other way is to turn the facts into an interconnected story. Guess which way led me to understand the material, and which way didn’t.

Non-fiction writers can often benefit from some of the same techniques fiction writers use. Both ultimately have the same goal: to tell a story. Non-fiction writers are just telling a story that has facts for its characters and themes of understanding for its plot lines. The best non-fiction writers craft and build a story as intricate as any classic novel. A science writer can turn the discoveries leading up to the development of a theory into a fascinating mystery story. A historian can make the people and events of an era as exciting as an action-adventure novel. Or they both can write a “Just the facts, Ma’am” book that ends up, at best, as a decent reference guide, and at worst, collecting dust under the bed with the druids.


维多利亚时代的美国:变革中日常生活由托马斯J. Schlereth

In many rural, one-room elementary schools, a single teacher taught children from ages six through fourteen. Such schools usually had a rough tripartite division into beginning, intermediate, and advanced work, with reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic stressed in the first phase; geography and nature study in the second phase; and history and grammar included in the advanced phase. During a school day that lasted from 8 A.M. to 4 P.M. in the winter months, the students learned the four Rs, reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic, and recitation. McGuffey’s Eclectic Readers were commonly the texts to be memorized and recited. Between 1836 and 1922, approximately 122 million copies of these readers were sold, with the strongest sales being from 1870 to 1890.


What memories surround this little Southern Maryland school house. For over a hundred years it has stood in its shady grove on the grounds of Christ Church in Port Republic, Maryland. Here came the youth of Calvert County to sit at wooden desks, to open red and tan McGuffy Readers, to write on slates and to eat mid-day meals from tin lunch pails. Here during recess games of “Annie Over” and “Bug in the Gully,” they raced shouting over the sun-dappled play ground. Here a single, dedicated teacher taught reading, writing and arithmetic to seven grades of boys and girls in a classroom at times so crowded that the young students had to sit along the edge of the teacher’s platform or cram them selves into the aisles between the desks, their warm bodies supplementing the heat that in winter radiated from the iron chunk stove in the center of the room.

第一个例子是o。从历史概述f the American Victorian era. The second is from the Calvert County website about one of its tourist attractions. Both examples convey what a day in a one-room school house was like. While the first gives you some extra facts, the second gives you both facts and a sense of what those facts meant to people. Notice how the second example uses some fiction techniques—it turns the facts into a story and helps you to see them in a larger context rather than as isolated tidbits of information. The information is shown, not merely told. Admittedly the second example is intended to sell the one-room schoolhouse as a tourist attraction, but you can use the same sort of techniques to sell your ideas to a larger audience.


How can you keep your brilliant research from collecting dust?

Here are a few suggestions on how to make your non-fiction more story-like and compelling:

  • Think of it as being a story.

Tell the story of the topic. Look over the flow of the content in the same way that you would analyze a fiction plot. Have you established the basic ideas before you get into the intricacies of all the details and exceptions to the rule? Are you too bogged down in trivial details? Where you can, show, don’t tell.

  • Identify the main themes.

Think about the major themes behind the facts. What ideas tie things together? If you are writing a text about physics, for example, you might keep bringing up the ideas of matter and energy and how they interact. If you are writing about a war, identify what political and social themes have had a large influence on the fighting.

  • 领带的事实进入主题。

Isolated facts are easily forgotten. If you use your main themes as the thread that weaves throughout your facts, you give people the structure and context they need to understand and remember the facts.

  • Connect, connect, connect.


Final Poll Results


Absolute Blank



Or, I could stop now and cut my losses and write about how I’m not writing this article.

Don’t wait until the last minute.

I could have, and should have, signed up for and started this article in January. That’s when the editors get together and start prodding each other to come up with ideas. There are many of us, so we can pick and choose when we’d like to work on something. This year, I waited until everyone else had chosen because I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to write about. I should have simply signed up first, then decided on what to do. I would have had months to decide on something, work on something, and polish something. Instead, I stared at a blank page, forcing my writer mind down paths it didn’t want to go simply because I’m out of time.


My original topic for this article was choosing simple words and phrases. I have a writer friend who fancies herself a language expert. She has four dictionaries close to hand and uses them all in daily communications such as emails and blogs. Her writing is impossibly complex, archaic, and trouble for anyone without four dictionaries nearby. I decided this would be a great article, passing on the wisdom that most readers will put the book down if they can’t understand it—if reading it is work, not joy. But all I really had to say I could sum up in a few simple words, as evidenced by this one paragraph. I couldn’t think of anything else to say once I’d gotten the basics on the page. The article simply fizzled out.

Ignore the distractions.


Plan ahead.



If something isn’t working, stop working on it and start working on something that will work. This article is coming to me much easier than the original. I know already that this article is the one that will be printed. The other will go into the ‘archives’ on my computer to wait until the light of inspiration slices through my head and I can finish it.

Find your voice.

I notice that this article sounds just like me. I am not as concerned with sounding like a “professional” writer as I was in the other. The other article I sounded far away, as if I was writing it from above you somehow, imparting sage advice from the side of the mountain. This time, I sound friendly and personable, frustrated and pained about my writing and myself. I know you’ll all be able to relate to my struggle and my personal issues, so I’m writing it that way. It’s a lot easier to write this time because it’s my voice and not the voice I think you would listen to.

Listen to your muse.


编辑和把这篇文章之后,我走了to volunteer for another for next year. I’m going to think long and hard about a topic. I’m going to start early and plan for distractions. I’m going to assign a date to sit down and write a month before the deadline. I’m going to start a draft and finish that draft in one sitting. I’m going to listen to my voice and to my muse.

I’m going to meet my deadline.

Final Poll Results


Absolute Blank

By Theryn Fleming (Beaver)


Despite the best-laid plans, it occasionally happens. Someone forgets a deadline, or gets sick, or the planned article, for whatever reason, just doesn’t work out.

Now it’s up to you to fill the space. You need to come up with a replacement article快速。What do you do?


  1. 拔出你保持手头只是这些情况是后备的文章,吹掉灰尘,把它擦亮了。什么?您不必预先写好的后备文章?卫生署。进入2号。
  2. Finish off a partially written article. Remember those two or three paragraphs you jotted down in a fit of inspiration a few months ago? The ones you’ve been meaning to get back to? Now’s the time.
  3. 先从你的想法文件或文件夹的想法。如果你是不是已经保持话题的想法文件或列表供以后使用,现在就开始一个!正如玛莎·斯图尔特会告诉你要始终保持你的厨房放养当你正在下雪或客人突然掉落了,一个作家应该始终保持他/她的想法文件放养编写的紧急情况。
  4. Expand or continue a previous article. For example, my article “12会让你看起来更Sma的快速修复rter”是我以前的文章的延续“10快速修复这会让你真的看起来聪明“。An easy trick: if you’re writing an article and find that you have too much information for the allotted space or that some stuff just doesn’t seem to fit, keep the “extra” information and use it to start a second article.
  5. Re-purpose an existing article (your own or someone else’s). For example, an article about接受建设性的批评优雅could be reworked into a “如何批判” article.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s all well and good, but what if…


  1. Choose a hook/theme. This will help delimit the parameters of your article and help you outline it. For example, if you chose “a rainbow” as your theme, you’d know that your article would have six main points, each based on a color.
  2. Make a quick trip to 7-Eleven, er, Google. If you have even a smidgen of an idea, google it and see what pops up. You might not find anything directly on point, but you never know what will trigger a creative burst.
  3. If you must start from scratch, take five or ten minutes and brainstorm. Write down everything thing you can think of, no matter how silly. Then return to number 7.
  4. 如果你还停留,拖沓。不,说真的。以一个shortbreak and let your mind wander while you do something else—preferably an activity that’s more physical than mental. Sometimes that’s when the best ideas surface.
  5. 不管你做什么,选择一些小要求没有研究。选择一个话题,你跟那熟悉的足够一旦你的决定,你可以坐下来通过,而不必采取了很多休息的看信息了直写文章。

所以,现在你知道what你想写,但是,哎哟,你只需要每天(或小时)来完成它。这是当任务似乎是最不可能的,在“如果onlys”集。如果我早知道我不得不这样做是在一个月前!如果只有我写这篇文章的规格!Well, you didn’t, so no use if onlying it. Instead…

Make the Task Less Daunting

  1. Split the article up into sections and work on it a section at a time. Think back to the old high school essay format: introduction, three-paragraph body, conclusion. It’s a little pedantic, but it’s a good place to start. An introductory and/or closing paragraph or two are never out of place and the body can be adjusted to suit. For example…
  2. 使用标题和副标题。通过列出只是你的标题开始帮助您快速地组织你的想法和意见。一旦你有你的轮廓,你可以回去补入。
  3. 使用要点。点形式比直论文格式少恐吓。而不是保持一个参数去了几个段落,你可以写一点关于松散地联系在一起的几个不同点。
  4. Pick a number: “Five Ways To…” “Ten Tips For…” Numbers make your task finite and therefore you’re less likely to suffer from “I’m never going to finish” frustration. Examples are my article “Six Ways To Write What You Don’t Know”贝克的文章“Seven Writer Resolutions“。
  5. 使用一个曲estion and answer format, even if you’re not interviewing anyone. Structured like an FAQ (frequently asked questions), this format can be very effective. Questions can double as headings. For an example, see Baker’s article “有过,那锌“。

This will give you the skeleton of an article. For example:





橙色:主角的BFFs(贝丝和乔治)who exist to assist the protagonist.







肉It Out的

  1. Don’t be afraid to write out of order. Know how you want to conclude? Write the final paragraph first.
  2. 用大量的例子。例子可以帮你解释了n something quickly and they also fill space. One caveat: if you stick with a single book or series throughout as the basis for your examples, make sure it’s something that most readers will recognize.
  3. A judiciously placed quote can be just what an article needs to make it sparkle. Here, for example, quoting Jaywalke, I insert “a witty and heartwarming inspirational quote about writing.”
  4. 请各部分简单而短。您的观点,继续前进。现在不是漂过的切线或尝试写你一直在考虑这件史诗般的时间。
  5. If you get stuck on a point, leave it and come back to it later. If you’re completely stuck, step away from the computer. Even a five-minute break can be enough to clear your head.

And then get back to writing. No dawdling now, people are counting on you.

Banish Doubt!

  1. 使用“只写”的原则:第一,然后编辑写完这篇文章。请记住,你没有时间去重新写你的第一句话27倍。现在需要在这种情况下是主体,而不是你最有说服力的措辞的主管处理。Once you’ve proofread your draft, forego agonizing over it, and get it off to your editor as soon as possible.Once you’ve finished your article, take a few minutes to start or add to your idea file before you give yourself a pat on the back. Then next time you’re called on to produce an article at the last minute, you’ll be prepared.

Final Poll Results


Absolute Blank

By Mollie Savage (帽子)

Assigned writing. Do thoughts of ugh, yipes or never again run through your mind?





Some editors may not feel that you addressed the subject. BUT, if you write well enough the editor(s) will recognize your innovative approach and consider your submission, and who knows you may even win!


Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, here are a few things to consider.

Remember your readers. Successful writing makes the reader think of life in a broader context. When possible, move from the specific to a universal theme the reader can relate to.

使用主动语态。有三个基本要素的句子:主语,动词,宾语。例如:茉莉,咬,蚊子。根据所发生的事情,你可以写:蚊子有点娘娘腔的男人要么Mollie bit the mosquito。不要在被动语态不可以写:蚊子被咬伤茉莉。相信我,当我试图咬讨厌的蚊子,因为我享受夕阳是非常活跃的。让你的读者在当下。


Gag. Just so you know I slap. But you get the picture don’t you?

Final Poll Results