How to Write without Clichés: Part 1

23 Jul

We’re told to avoid clichés in our writing, but just what is a cliché, why is it bad, and how do we write without using one? Well, first, don’t try to memorize some list of clichés. There are thousands of them. But also don’t worry that every single phrase you write has to be completely […] read more »

Pitching Articles

16 Jul

Writers gotta eat, too. And if you’re a writer without a day job in another field, that means selling whatever writing you can produce, wherever you can. Yes, you may be writing the Great American Novel or putting the final touches on the most mind-blowing short fiction ever created, but for some reason, bill collectors […] read more »

ESL/EFL Guide to English Writing Pt 2

16 Jul

In a Part 1 of this post, I wrote about the basics of writing in English for non-native speakers: understanding the parts of English composition, getting your thesis and supporting arguments mapped out, and drafting your paper. Many people struggle with the larger process, and many also struggle with more detailed grammar and style issues. […] read more »

Fiction Writing and Changing Narrators

3 Jul

In the world of fiction, the narrator is not king, it’s God, and it rules over everything, even the author. When we write, we act as God in the universes of our stories: creating and destroying our characters at will, judging and accepting, choosing cruelty and mercy. It’s quite the ego trip, really. And so […] read more »

ESL/EFL Guide to English Essay Writing

1 Jul

Expressing yourself effectively in writing is a challenge for most people, but for non-native speakers of English, the task can be much harder. If you have a rapidly approaching due date for an essay in English and are thinking of running the other way, take a minute to let ProofreadingPal show you some of our […] read more »

Simple Secret to Writing a Great Story

30 Jun

What makes a great story is up for debate, whether you’re writing for the general public or just yourself. After all, stories can be about anything, and stories are all around us: on TV, on our news apps, in our comic books, and on the lips of our friends. But there is a secret to […] read more »

Pitching Manuscripts

19 Jun

What is a pitch package? How do I put one together? How does it differ for different types of manuscripts? Right. You’ve got a great idea. You’ve researched agents. You’ve brushed up on contract terms. You may have even written a few chapters. Fantastic! But unless you’re self-publishing (which we’ll talk about in another post), […] read more »

4 Tips for the Best Resume Format

15 Jun

We’ve talked about the content of your resume submission package: leaving stuff in and out, crafting your message to sell yourself, and cutting your content down to size. This time around, we’ll focus on visual aspects of your presentation.  Give It Space In a sense, we’re starting where we left off in my last column, […] read more »

When to Use Humor in Business Writing: How About Never?

28 May

Never trade boring for discomfort. It’s such an easy trap, a mistake so often made with the best of intentions. Business writing can be so very dull, so routine. You know your coworkers are good people, well-educated and savvy. Or at least you know they appreciate a good joke. Your story about your vacation accident […] read more »

How Best to Use Editing Services

28 May

I’ve heard people say: “I’ve got to clean the house today; the maid is coming tomorrow,” and I’ve wondered: Clean before the maid comes? Why? Thinking it through, though, it makes sense. Only the people who live in a house are going to know where everything goes and all that. Doing a good job tidying […] read more »

How to Avoid Wordiness

21 May

Cut Adjectives and Adverbs This is something Ernest Hemingway became famous for. While working as a reporter, he learned to cut unnecessary words and get to the point of a story as fast as possible, claiming that all those extra adjectives/adverbs could be filled in by readers’ imaginations and the context of the story. Take […] read more »

Do I Need a Literary Agent?

14 May

Almost everyone has heard of literary agents, either as the wonderful people who sell your book for zillions of dollars and make you the next blockbuster hit, or as the jerks who won’t give you the time of day and keep you from becoming the next blockbuster hit. In reality, agents are businesspeople and creative […] read more »

6 Tips for Keeping Your Résumé Brief: Less Is More

7 May

With the help of a good editor, the joke goes, Tolstoy could have gotten War and Peace down to just War. It’s true that, at least for business writing, we at ProofreadingPal usually aim to make things shorter. You might want your Russian historical novel to be a sweeping panorama, but when it comes to […] read more »

6 Tips for Citing Sources Smoothly

1 May

You’ve done the research, and now it’s time to make sure you use it correctly. That means writing citations. Including proper citations is most likely a significant part of the grade you will receive. Even if you’ve got strong writing skills, your grade will suffer if your citations are bad. Also, if you don’t cite […] read more »

How to Outline an Essay

27 Apr

The single biggest time waster in writing is staring at the blank page. I’m not talking about writer’s block. I’m talking about trying to write that first sentence for your essay, struggling to figure out what you want to say and how to say it at the same time. That’s not writer’s block; that’s a […] read more »

6 Easy Steps for Writing Faster

24 Apr

1. Develop a Clear Goal Before beginning any project, sit down and think about what you want to accomplish. If you’re an undergraduate, think about what grade you want to receive and what you need to do to achieve it. If you’re a researcher, establish your problem and design your research questions before anything else. […] read more »

How Book Writers Get Paid — Part 2

16 Apr

Writing isn’t easy. Editing and revisions are often even harder. But the business of writing and publishing? That’s a whole new challenge. Navigating the complexities of the publishing business can be bewildering, but, with a little attention and a few explanations, you’ll be able to manage the business side of your writing career just as […] read more »

Cover Letters: 3 Lessons from Sales

6 Apr

In my first column, I talked about the contents of your cover letter: what to include and exclude. This time, let’s talk about the principle underpinning your submissions package, cover letter, and résumé alike: salesmanship. Sales is a traditional profession in my family, and I spent many years in the game myself. Perhaps that’s why […] read more »

What Plagiarism Is and How to Avoid It

3 Apr

“Plagiarism” comes from the Latin word for “kidnapper.” It’s using another person’s ideas or words without giving them credit. Simple indeed. Here’s another thing that’s pretty simple: catching a plagiarist in the act. Try it yourself. Pick up a nearby book, open it randomly, and Google any old sentence you come to. I did that […] read more »

Using Microsoft Word Track Changes

1 Apr

ProofreadingPal offers some of the best editing available online, and we want you to get the most value for your time and money. I’ll be doing a series of blog posts based on how to make editing services work best for you, from tips on using Word to principles of time management. Let’s start with […] read more »

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