Reading & Writing Tools

READING TOOLS

1.  Read faster with Spreeder.
2.  Retain More of Every Book You Read, James Clear.
3.
4.
5.

SPEAKING TOOLS

CONVERSATION

“At its core,” says Jack Sidnell, “conversation analysis is a set of methods for working with audio and video recordings of talk and social interaction” (Conversation Analysis: An Introduction, 2010).

1.  A worthwhile book on conversation, The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, Jack Sidnell and Tanya Stivers, 2014.
2.  Know the terms of conversation and how you and others implement them.
3.  This can be fun.  It’s worth an examination.
4.  Can you direct conversations?  You do this all the time.
5.
6.

Learn how to keep your cool and get the results you want when emotions flare.

When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences; or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most. Crucial Conversations gives you the tools you need to step up to life’s most difficult and important conversations, say what’s on your mind, and achieve the positive resolutions you want. You’ll learn how to:

Prepare for high-impact situations with a six-minute mastery technique
Make it safe to talk about almost anything
Be persuasive, not abrasive
Keep listening when others blow up or clam up
Turn crucial conversations into the action and results you want

Whether they take place at work or at home, with your neighbors or your spouse, crucial conversations can have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future. With the skills you learn in this book, you’ll never have to worry about the outcome of a crucial conversation again.

ORAL PRESENTATIONS
1. How to Give a Successful Presentation, Bob Bly.  This is gold.  Treasure it.  Bly relies on Dr. Rob Gilbert.
2.
3.
4.
5.

WRITING TOOLS

First Rule of Writing: Write for an audience.  Gary North explains:

One way to overcome the problem of not being able to write coherently is to begin with a particular audience in mind. Not only do you have the audience in mind, you have in mind an imaginary person who is representative of this audience. You write for this person. The same thing is true when you write a speech.

If you can get inside the mind of your listener or reader, you can structure your thoughts so as to persuade this person. Never write for a committee. Always write for a person.

I think the problem that puzzlers have is this: they are writing for themselves, not for a particular person in a particular audience. They are struggling to get things clear in their own minds. They are not struggling to get things clear in the mind of someone who reads them. They are not paying attention to the intellectual limitations, goals, and time constraints of the representative person in the audience they are trying to reach.

Van Til did write one essay in which he really did attempt to do this. It is widely regarded as his greatest essay: Why I Believe in God. But this was a rare essay. It was as if his essays were trying to convince his atheistic professor of philosophy, A. A. Bowman. They would not have convinced Bowman.

2.  Length requirements for online writing.
Blogs (1,500 words)
Email subject lines (50 or fewer characters)
Website text line (12 words)
Paragraph (3-4 lines maximum)
YouTube video (3-3.5 minutes)
Podcast (22 minutes)
Title tag (55 characters)
Meta description (155 characters)
Facebook post (100-140 characters)
Tweet (120-130 characters)
Domain name (8 characters)

[WRITE FOR PROFIT]

To make money online, you have to sell a digital product:
1. Kindle books.  When it comes to writing Kindle books, you’re going to need titles.  Try these and these.
2. Blogging
3.  Affiliate Marketing
4.  SEO
5.  Selling products on Amazon
6.  Product creation
7.  Membership sites
8.  Drop Shipping; e-commerce
9.
10.

or a physical product:
1.  T-shirts.  Sara says this is not easy money.  Designs have to be made.  Price has to be profitably set. People pay for Facebook ads and sell T-shirts there.  When more and more people want to sell T-shirts through ads on Facebook, the ad price will go up and fewer people will stay; only the best T-shirt sellers will stay.  When people start making a lot of money using one venue, they think that they will always make that kind of money at that venue.  Sara says do not treat that one venue as a magic button.  Okay, that’s good advice.  Someone asked what’s the best way to drive traffic to your product page–digital product, ebook, or a course?  Easy way to get traffic is to have affiliates promote it.  Okay, how do you do this?  She says that’s very easy.  Or you can drive traffic, like paid traffic or different kinds of free traffic–you don’t necessarily want to send them to a product page but to a squeeze page, where they fill in their email address where you can be in touch with them.  Traffic generation?  Different ways to generate traffic?
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Decide that first.  Then produce one of these.

What really does work, Sara?  Ask Sara.  Go to her site and ask her.  Someone asked Sara what would she do if she were starting today?  She answered:

Without an email list, she would set up a blog, pick a niche that she’s really good at, and create really good content on that blog–parenting, internet marketing, weight loss, she would network with people in her niche by posting at forums, make herself known on Facebook, just letting people see who she is and letting them know that she is an authority in her niche.  Then people would come to her site, she’d create a mailing list, and sell her products. She said that she would eventually create her own product.

Make money writing!!!  Yay!!!  Though you may have heard of these already, here are a few sites that you can write for and start getting paid tomorrow.  Sara Young is terrific in directing people to places, sites, and things they can do to make money online.  She offers this list here.  Give this a listen:

1. oDesk
2. Elance
3. Fiverr
4. iWriter.  Never heard of that one.  But check it out.
5.  eBooks, Courses, Coaching, membership sites, Kindle books (what niche people are buying Kindle books in?), physical products that you create and ship, physical products with a drop-shipper or FBA with Amazon,
6.  You need an audience, also known as traffic.  1) SEO from Google.  Yes, it works.  2) Traffic from forums.  3) Traffic from blogging.  Blog commenting . . . if you do it right.  Guest posting.  Paid banners on other sites.  Content marketing, video marketing, social media, free and paid, paid advertising on search engines, so many different ways to get traffic and make money online that are legitimate.  How to know what’s for you.  You’ve got to have a product, traffic–it’s going to, and a way to sell the product.
7.  The way to sell the products is a sales page, video, or webinar,
8.  Evaluate strategy–what are you selling?  Does it have value?  To whom?  Will it be digital or physical products.  Have to sell something of value–for you’ve got to make your business last.  Overall plan is your strategy–use ads on Facebook (pay for ads on Facebook) > people will click on my Facebook ads > they will sign-up to my list > they will then buy my product > then I will upsell them to an expensive coaching program.  That’s the strategy.  I like this strategy the best:

Another strategy.  Buy from Alibaba > have it shipped to Amazon >

Once you have a strategy and you’re making a little money with it, you need to focus on tactics.  A tactic is more like a tool.  If you see a better way to make videos, that would be a tactic, one that fits into your strategy.  Be sure that your tactic fits into your strategy.  Know what you’re doing, what you’ll be selling, how you’ll be selling it, marketing it, and so forth.  Figure out if you need a strategy or a tactic.  If you’re not making money, you may want to switch strategies.  Pay close attention to what the strategy and tactic is.  Look at the teacher who’s teaching it.

9.  Who is your audience?  Your traffic?  Google?  Make sure to use other sources AS WELL.  Problem to rely on one third party.  When they change the rules, your business goes away.
10.  What will be your sales method?  Landing Page?  This has to be clear.  Got to know your product.  What is that product?
11.  Be clear on what Internet Marketing is–exchanging value for money.
12.  Is the strategy working for other people?  That’s a key question to ask to vett the feasibility of a product.
13.  HubPages is formerly Squidoo.  Sara Young said that you can make 6 figures on Squidoo.  Yeah, right.  She said that Squidoo doesn’t like ClickBank.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.

[WRITE FOR SCHOOL]

I.  Expository Essays.  Follow these steps.  Yes, you need steps.

Step 1: Articulate your point.  State your message as clear as possible; the clearer, the better.
First, state your point.  It should be phrased so that it is morally compelling, begging your audience’s response.

Step 2: List your points.
Make a list of the points/reasons that you’ll use to support your message.  Remember, your statement is not neutral.  Your reader will have an opinion, often times a strong opinion, for or against your argument and how well your reasons carry your argument from beginning to end.   Some people will want to attack your messages.  That’s okay.  Address their objections in advance.  Your argument will invite opposition.  Your job is to defend your argument against those attacks in advance.

Step 3: Write your points out.  You need to see and hear them.
Third, state the points of your argument in full, complete, and logical sentences. Write a paragraph for each point just to flesh out all of the related ideas to your main one.  Next, check the arrangement or sequence of your ideas to make sure that they flow and lead into solid concluding message.

Step 4: Proof.  You’ll need proof.  Without proof, you have no defense.
Find proof to back up your statements.  Use the Internet.  Simply Google the statements that you wrote in step three.  Proof is essential for anyone to take your writing serious.  Without it your argument becomes just another opinion grabbed from thin air.  You want people to take you seriously?  Get proof.  And explain the importance of your proof.

Step 5: Tone.
Though you are arguing a point with your audience, you don’t have to be argumentative.  Use a tone that sounds helpful or teacher-like.  Or, you can write using a funny or ironic tone or one that is engaging and has your audience laughing and thinking about key points without making light of your topic.

Step 6: Read your paper out loud.
Before you submit your paper for evaluation, you must read your paper out loud.  Reading your paper out loud allows you to hear logical inconsistencies, incorrect sentence structure, erroneous or omitted punctuation.  Reading your paper out loud is extremely beneficial to every writer.

Note: interesting and engaging essays contain commentary or observations about your claims that makes your writing sound like it’s a private but important discussion you’re having with a friend . . . but in writing.  So consider adding brief commentary to your paragraphs.  Do you need more visual guidance on the overall look and structure of your essay?  Try this video.

Your Introduction should sell the benefits of your message.  You have options.
1.  Start with a question.  The question can often be a statement of your main point inverted into a question. One more reminder on the structure of your essay.  Remember, too, that this is an academic assignment.  All essays are not like this.  You might be tasked one day with writing a newspaper article, a press release, or a story.

Pretend that a millionaire’s hands and eyes will be on your paper.  That means that you must take care to make sure that everything is just right.  Spelling must be accurate.  Punctuation has to be exact.  Punctuation serves like stage directions on meaning, so make sure it is accurate.  Ask yourself, too, who your audience is.  If it is your teacher, then write like your life depends on it.  Your teacher can and will make recommendations of you to other people based on your writing.

II.  KINDS OF ACADEMIC ESSAYS

III. USAGE
1.  Tips on Usage at Daily Writing Tips.
2.
3.
4.
5.

IV.  PROOFREADING & EDITING
1.  ProWritingAid.com
2.  Editing Basics.
3.  3T Editing.  This is a paid editing service.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

V.  CITATION GUIDES
1.  AP Style Book.
2.  MLA Formatting & Style Guide.  Cannot find the book online for free, so you’ll need to go to the usual places to purchase it–either at the MLA.org website or Amazon.
3.  Chicago/Turabian Style.
4.  Or, you can just use the Citation Machine that uses anyone of the previously mentioned.
5.  Bibme.org.
6.  Endnote.
7.  Ottobib.  Just enter an ISBN.  Cool.
8.  APA Style, American Psychological Association Style.
9.  Chicago/Turabian Style.
10. MLA Style.
11.

VI.  GRAMMAR TOOLS
1.  http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/

“. . . production schedules trump quality every time. . . ”

And should.

Almost no one cares about grammar.

In contrast, every subscriber cares about four articles a day, six days a week, 52 weeks a year. That is what they pay for. That is what they get.

2.  Grammarist is a good site for checking one’s grammar and word usage.  Check it out.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

VII.  ACADEMIC REPORTS
1.  Chemistry Lab Report.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Academic Writing Resources
1.  Circe Writing Institute.
2.
3.
4.
5.

[WRITE FOR BUSINESS–WRITE COPY]

FOR COPYWRITERS [See sample copy done by one of the industry’s best, Bob Bly.]
1.  Write Better Faster, Bob Bly.
2.  Copywriting Writing Prompts.
3.  B2B Copy: Industrial Writing That Sells, Bob Bly.  When you actually earn an assignment to write a business-2-business copy, where do you go to get ideas?  It is pure genius at work?  Are you some kind of developing brainiac?  Well, you might be.  But on the outside chance that you’re not, where do you go to get ideas?  Here.
4.  More from Bob Bly.
5.  Bob Bly’s paid materials.

6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.

[TECHNICAL WRITING]

INDUSTRIAL WRITING
1.  B2B Writing, Bob Bly.
2.
3.
4.
5.

WRITE CODE 
1.  Code Academy.
2.
3.
4.
5.

[WRITE REVIEWS FOR FUN & PROFIT.  HERE IS A REVIEW FORMAT for Books, Articles, Chapters, and Movies]

Paragraph 1:  Accurately summarize the important points in the article.
Paragraph 2:  Explain why these points are important.
Paragraph 3:  Compare the article to another article that is better.
Paragraph 4:  Evaluate the article.  Explain how it helped to advance your understanding of the topic.  If it did not, explain why it did not.

**This format is quite good to build the habit of writing reviews.  As you develop that you can begin building a literary flare but until then this is an excellent practice guide for any age.  This format works well with chapter reviews in books.  And to give him full credit, this format belongs to Gary North.  Find him and the Ron Paul Curriculum at Specific Answers.  Here is a more elaborate version of North’s review format:

First, describe what the author’s main purpose was, or main theme is, when writing his book. If you do not understand this, you are not in a position to write the book review. The author probably says somewhere early in the Preface why he wrote the book. The reader has to know what the motivation of the author was. This will help him to understand what the particular slant of the author is.

Second, review the main themes of the book. Do not go through this on a chapter by chapter basis, but there should be main themes in the book. If there aren’t, then either the author did a bad job, or you are not a perceptive reader.

Third, point out those features of the book that are common. Describe the book in the context of other books in the field. The reader should see that there is continuity in the field, and that this particular book holds to specific aspects that are common in the field. If the book you are reviewing were completely new, nobody would buy it or read it. There has to be continuity in order to target a particular market. The reader should know how this author is conventional.

Fourth, describe what theses in the book are unique. What makes this book different? This is central to understanding what makes the book either a very good contribution or a very poor contribution. This is where the book author seeks to make his reputation. This is where he wants to stand out from other authors in the field. This is central to the review. I don’t think it should go at the beginning of the review, but it has got to be the central focus of your review.

Fifth, it would be nice if you could assess whether or not he was successful in proving his case. The problem here is that you may not have enough knowledge to make this assessment. If you’re not confident in this area, don’t make final judgments about the performance of the author or the persuasive power of the book. You may have to read another dozen volumes to be confident about your ability to assess the author’s competence in making his case. Don’t be premature. At some point in your career, you will be in a position to make such an assessment, but don’t jump the gun. Don’t rush in where angels fear to tread.

Sixth, it is a good idea to compare this book with whatever is the major book in the field. Maybe there will be two or three books that are considered the pillars of the field, and if this is the case, then you should assess the overall performance of the author in terms of these premier books. You should compare the author’s performance with performances that are widely regarded as top-flight performances. Read the premier books first. Find out which ones are dominant.

Seventh, it is unwise to write hatchet jobs early in your career. That may be suitable after you have written your blog for five years or more. When you have read 100 books on a narrow topic, you are in a position to make negative assessments. In general, however, I think it is wise to avoid books that are so bad that you have to write a hatchet job. If the book is a bestseller, and if it is egregiously incompetent, then it’s okay to write a hatchet job. You will be perceived as someone who is issuing a warning to others in the field, in order to help them for making a serious mistake. But if the book has not sold well, and if the author is unknown, then it is unlikely that many of your readers will have made the mistake of buying the book, reading the book, and accepting its conclusions.

Eighth, make an assessment of the importance of the book in the overall universe of books on this topic. Either recommend that the reader read the book, or else recommend that he skip it. You want to save the reader time. You can point out the advantages of reading the book, but focus this on a particular goal in reading the book. In other words, if you say the book is worth reading, be sure that the reader knows exactly why the book is worth reading. What will the benefits be to the reader if he reads the book? The goal here is to save the reader time and money. Don’t recommend the book to readers if you don’t provide reasons for recommending the book.

Decent format for critical reviews of books.

LETTER WRITING
1. Need help writing letters of sympathies, like when someone dies?  Check out this list.  This will make you memorable.
2.
3.
4.
5.

[CREATIVE WRITING]

SCREEN WRITING
1.  Screenwriting cheat sheet.  h/t Bill Myers.

screenwriter cheat sheet
2.   A List of screenplays.  Always good to have some successful examples.
3.   15 Screenwriting Tips from one of the greats, Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.
4.   A couple of helpful books on writing fiction from Blake Snyder.  One is Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, Blake Snyder, 2005.  The other is Save the Cat: Strikes Back! More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into . . . And Out of, Blake Snyder, 2009.  These came recommended by author, Bill Myers.
5.

WRITING TOOLS
1.  Write daily with 750Words.com.
2.  Analyze Your Writing.
3.  “9 Steps to Writing and Publishing Your Novel on Amazon,” Bill Myers.
4.  List of Drama screenplays.
5.  Price your book for maximum sales on Amazon, using CreateSpace.
6.  Blankpage.io.
7.  Elements of Style, Strunk & White.  This is an indispensable guide to producing eloquent writing.  First published in 1918.
8.  2000 to 10,000: How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love, Rachel Aaron, 2012.
9.  Story Engineering, Larry Brooks, 2011.
10.

STORY TELLING

Story Telling186881

h/t Bill Myers

[FICTION]

DIALOGUE
1.  Dialogue Dynamics, The Write It Series, Tristi Pinkston, 2012.
2.  Dialogue Generator.
3.  7 Tools of Dialogue.  Not bad.
4.  More dialogue help.
5.

PLOT
1.  The Plot Skeleton, Angela Hunt, 2013.
2.  Plot Generator.
3.
4.
5.

DESCRIPTION
1.  Writing Description for novels and short stories.
2.
3.
4.
5.

CHARACTER
1.  Use a dominant feature of a character to introduce him.  In rhetoric, this is called metonym.  A scene that opens with a cane leaning against the wall close the front door infers something about who lives there or who has visited or who used to live there.  Check out this video, 10 Things Character Entrances Can Teach You About Narrative

2.  Great “Character Flaw” chart, paired by opposites.
3.  From a member of a forum I subscribe to (February 3, 2017):

Bulletproof protagonists/antagonists are boring and predictable.

Flaws:
1. Prejudice.
2. Fear of (heights, water, fire, open spaces….)
3. Secret. (e.g. indiscretion or failure/crime/betrayal in past).
4. Blind spot/assumption (e.g. a priest would never…)
5. Weakness/predilection (e.g. red-headed bombshells)
6. Addiction (drugs, gambling, etc.)
7. Disability.
8. Inability (e.g., computer-illiterate).
9. Belief in/devotion to…
10. Irresistible attraction to/passion for…
11. Love of…(family, children, alma mater, etc.)

Vulnerabilities. I’m sure you can come up with more. What’s important is that the adversary on the other side of the equation (whether protagonist or antagonist) can discover their nemesis’ weakness and exploit it to manipulate them to their advantage.

If someone knew everything about YOU, they would have a very good chance of maneuvering you into a compromised position, blocking some action that you had in mind, etc.

4.
5.

SCENES
1.  21 writing prompts for setting a scene in your novel.
2.  and other prompts.
3.
4.
5.

A FICTION-WRITING MUSE OR TWO: JUST IN CASE.
1.  Mike Shreeve: Start Writing.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

WRITING STYLES
FUNNY: Make your writing funny.

Who? What? Where? Why? and How?

Archetypes–
A know-it-all
The loveable loser
The bad boss
The neurotic
The airhead
These are all stock characters found in Artes Comedia.
Find the flaw, like greed, and play it up. Or play opposites against each other, where the smartest guy in the room does the stupidest thing or the dufus outwits the brainiac we tend to laugh because we didn’t see that coming. Secret to humor is surprise. The surprise or the incongruity of humor says we laugh at things that seem out of place or that run up against our expectations. A frog dating a pig. A lizard selling pianos, a nun disco dancing, a cat disco dancing, actually a baby, a nun, or a cat doing pretty much anything is funny.

Draw connections with a mind-map. Start small. Pick a word: say, pickle. And draw your known connections to them: eating first pickle, sandwiches, lunch, going to the store, baking with grandma. Shift from observation to imagination. Try going from “What is” to “What if?”

Comedy revolves around things that irritate us, frustrate, or humiliate us. “Everything is funny as long as it happens to somebody else.” –Will Rogers

Rule of 3 or Zig, Zig, Zag.” Expected pattern is “Zig, zig.” Then flip it, “Zag!”

A rabbi, a priest, and a coconut walk into a bar, called the last rites.

A rabbi, a priest, and a coconut walk into a disco tech. Words with a “k” sounds are considered comical, like “comedy” and “considered” “crickets” and “coconut.” Humor is subjective. Comedy is trial and error. Find the flaw, discover the details, insert incongruities, incorporate “k” sounding words, and remember the most important rule–

This was recommended as funny.

Stephen King Writing Tips

stephen-king-198139

Thanks to Bill Myers.

CONTEMPORARY CREATIVE MODELS
1.  Recommended by Bill Myers.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

[GENERAL WRITING SKILLS]

TYPING SKILLS
1.  How fast can you type?  Ratatype, Typingweb, Typingclub, and or Typeacer
2.
3.
4.
5.

CURSIVE WRITING
1.  Write more beautifully.  Try this.
2.  How and Why to Write Better Cursive, Brett & Kate McKay, Dec. 16, 2014.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

LOOKING for BETTER STUDY HABITS?
1.  Here.
2.  Better to take notes by hand than by computer or e-notebooks.  But you already knew this.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

WRITING
1.  On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction, William Zinsser, 2012.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Offer something of value . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s