Creative Writing

Creating an Effective Thesis Statement

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The thesis statement seems to be the most challenging sentence in any essay or research paper for my students to create. They don’t know whether to write it first—before the rest of their paper—or at the end. I tell them something they don’t want to hear: both.
 
When you start writing, you should have a pretty good idea of the angle you want your paper to take. However, your thesis statement may change as you write and research your subject. Depending on how much you change your mind about the topic, your thesis may change a little or a lot.
 

 
The thesis statement gives meaning to every other sentence in your essay. It presents your paper’s topic and controlling idea. It is the road map to the rest of your paper, and all roads should lead back to your thesis statement. Your thesis is located in your introduction paragraph and the remainder of your paper (and topic sentences) should support your thesis statement. If part of your paper does not support your thesis, it should not be part of your paper.
 
When drafting your thesis statement, keep these points in mind:
1. It should be a full sentence, not just the topic or title

2. It should provide some direction, an opinion, or a point of view
 
Let’s say your instructor has given you the topic of ‘American politics,’ and you would like to write about the seniority system in American politics. An incorrect thesis statement on this topic would be: “A seniority system exists in today’s American politics.”
 
This is insufficient because the writer’s point of view is not incorporated into the thesis. We can turn a flat or factual statement into a thesis statement by including a point of view or our own slant on the issue.
 
Look at these two examples of effective thesis statements:
1. “The seniority system in American politics contributes to unwarranted power being controlled by the old timers.” This statement has a negative slant or point of view about the American political system.

2. “The seniority system in American politics grants leadership positions to experienced politicians.” This statement has a positive slant or point of view about the American political system.
 
The key to creating an effective thesis is knowing what you want to say about your subject matter. If you have given yourself enough time to read and research your topic, you will have a better grasp of what you want to say, and you will be more likely to produce a thesis that is clear, organized, and fully developed. Good luck!
 
By: Dawn S., On Demand Editor for editorr
 

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Content Editing

The People vs. The English Language

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Occasionally (or maybe not so occasionally), I am called out for being a “nag” when it comes to proper word usage. In my former life as a litigator, I became accustomed to pointing out and correcting every instance of improper spelling, grammar, and word usage. Words mean something. Their meanings mean something. Nothing grinds my gears more than the flippant (or even blatant) misuse of a perfectly well-meaning word. Except maybe the overuse of said word.

Not everything is “amazing” or “awesome.” The overuse of some words can eventually lead to their degradation. Be honest, when you use the word, “amazing,” do you really mean that something or someone caused you astonishment, great wonder, or surprise? I doubt it. What about “awesome?” Suzy’s new jeans may be very on trend, but do they really “inspire awe?”

Words are literally man’s best friend. By the way, I am not using the word “literally” here to be ironic. I’m completely serious. Without the spoken word (and okay, maybe the wheel and the iPhone), where would the human race even be today? Sure, we still have a long way to go towards world peace, but language offers human beings a truly awe inspiring (see what I did there?) leg up when it comes to communication, task management, and even self-expression.

I would never claim to have the most advanced or broad vocabulary. I know (and use) far too many pointless acronyms and millenialisms for my own good. But at the same time, with every word we acquire, we grant ourselves that much more freedom; that much more clarity.

Everyone has heard the somewhat dubious claim that Eskimos have something like 50+ words for snow. But think about that. Think about how freeing it must be to be able to describe the exact color, temperature, texture, and gravity of each and every weather pattern. Think how few snow-based miscommunications are likely to occur in these cultures. What’s to argue about when both sides understand exactly what is being discussed?

When we use words as they were intended, we present the best possible chance for effective communication. When we use words interchangeably and with no thought to the intention behind their conception, we are communicating something entirely different: ignorance, laziness, and even arrogance.

There is no shame in an honest mistake or misquote. There is, however, something truly saddening about the passive (or even intentional) cheapening of our words. Don’t get me wrong, I may shout “YAAASS KWEEN” with the best of them, but I’d never be caught dead uttering the “word,” irregardless.

By: Liz S., On Demand Editor for editorr

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Business

Content Editing for Dummies

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Content isn’t just an SEO strategy. It establishes your brand’s voice and proves you’re an authority. If your content is well-written and engaging, your audience will keep coming back for more.

To be effectively engaging, your digital content needs to be well-written. Well-written content is ultimately well-edited content. It should be clear, concise, and to the point. Spellcheck simply can’t replace the human touch. If you’re going to make a good first impression, your work needs to be polished and professional — every time.


If your goal is compelling content, consider these four tips the next time you put pen to paper (or fingers to keys):

1. Remember Your Message
A lot of writers lose sight of their point midway through writing an article. They may slip into a lengthy digression, or somehow end up with content that’s completely off-topic. Ask yourself if every single sentence serves the main point of your article. If one doesn’t, change it or cut it out completely. If you’re looking at a particularly lengthy digression, consider writing a follow-up article down the road.  There’s no need to cram everything into one piece.

2. Read It Aloud
Your brain may forgive a lot of grammar errors but your mouth won’t. Reading out loud forces you to slow down, unearthing sneaky grammatical errors, as well as clumsy and repetitive wording.

3. “Kill Your Darlings”
Not literally (it’s a Faulkner quote). Editing involves a certain willingness to be brutal. Sometimes, that may mean telling an author that her work simply isn’t very good, or asking what she means by a particularly opaque turn of phrase. Don’t forget that as an editor, your job is to make the author shine, even when it hurts her pride.

4. Hire a Professional
A lot of people think that because they are avid readers, they can write well. It’s true that the digital information age has made writers out of all of us, but writing is a craft, honed over time. So is content editing. If you’re neither a professional writer nor professional editor, you probably haven’t honed that skill set. There’s no shame in that. Just as you’d hire a professional plumber or electrician, you should consider hiring a professional editor to make certain your written content is top-notch.

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Business

Going Pro: When to Hire a Professional Content Editor

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Almost everyone can benefit from the services of a content editor. Having a skilled editor read over, correct, and improve your writing is especially important whenever you need to project an image of professionalism and competence. Error-free writing will also help you gain the respect and trust of your readers and communicate your message in the most effective way. While there is no shame in not being able to write perfect prose, there’s also no excuse for letting your words reflect poorly upon you or your business. Professional copyediting and proofreading services can make a huge difference.


So, when should you hire a content editor?

When Business Is Booming
Whether you’re an entrepreneur whose website serves as the online “face” of a burgeoning brick-and-mortar or a blogger with a rapidly increasing number of followers, your writing can either help take your business to the next level, or hold it hostage. Concise and compelling writing can turn window shoppers into paying customers and casual browsers into regular readers. It should be no surprise that poor writing, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, will have the opposite effect.

When You’re Making Career Moves
When you’re seeking a new job, you need to impress a hiring manager with your resume, cover letter, and general email correspondence. This is a prime example of a situation in which your writing must be faultless. Proofreading to check for spelling and grammatical errors is key. A hiring manager often selects just a handful of candidates for formal interviews and is likely to dismiss any applicants whose writing isn’t up to snuff. Furthermore, professional copy editors can tweak and rework your writing to best highlight your skills and experience, helping you catch the attention of your reader in as few words as possible.

Whenever Your Writing Matters
The importance of copyediting for professional progression isn’t limited to sales pitches, resumes, and blog posts. Well-edited writing makes for better emails, reports, and social media posts, as well as any other correspondence that may be seen by people who are important to your business or career. Impressing a higher-up with a well-worded email could be enough to land you that promotion. Sharing a top-notch write-up of a project on LinkedIn might get you noticed by a headhunter or hiring manager.

Conclusion
In short, whenever your writing really matters, you can’t afford to take any chances. While skilled content editors make professional writing attainable, editorr outdoes the masses by making the proofreading process more convenient and affordable than ever before!

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Content Editing

The Case For Content Editing

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As all [good] content editors know, the concise prose you find when you read a published piece didn’t get that way on the first try. Writing is a process, and often, a first draft may convey great ideas and raw insight, but it’s very rare that a first draft is perfect. Almost every piece of writing needs an editor to take it from a rough draft to a final, polished article, ready for publication.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your writing is up to par:

Define the Narrative
Is there a clear story being told or does the writing tend to veer off in different directions? When examining a piece of writing, you want to be able to trace a clear narrative from beginning to end. If you are having trouble crafting an airtight narrative, it may be a good time to hire a content editor. A content editor will check to see whether there are any points that aren’t followed up later in the piece. An editor may also remove story elements that fail to contribute to your writing’s overall point or purpose.

Ensure Consistency
Much of the job of a content editor is making sure a piece of writing reads like it was written by the same author from start to end. This is why it can be very helpful to hire a content editor, regardless of the nature of your content. You don’t want a piece that starts off casually and then suddenly becomes stiff or formal in the final paragraph. Similarly, you don’t want a project to begin by using one set of terminology, and conclude with an entirely different set of terms. A skilled editor will select an appropriate tone and vocabulary and apply them consistently throughout your piece.

Boost Engagement
As you are reviewing a piece of writing, stop to ask yourself whether the writing actually engages the reader. Does the writing feel like a conversation?  Do you want to know more about the subject matter at hand? If the writing is not engaging you, it’s unlikely it will engage the average reader. A content editor can craft a piece to be more engaging and relatable. Sometimes, simply adding a question or two, can help engage your audience and encourage them to continue reading.

Regardless of your topic, an experienced content editor should be able to elevate your piece to its best, polished, and most readable state.

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