Regular Courses VS Distance Learning MBA

Everyone knows that education plays a important role in our life. We learn from education more things that we use in our life. But it’s only a basic education that teaches us how to live in a decorous manner. But after basic education, we go forwards to higher education. Some of us want to jobs and some looking for higher education. But good jobs get only those people who have a higher educational degree like MBA programs. Presently, we can get higher education in two ways- regular mode and distance learning mode. In regular classes, we can get a good quality education, but at that time we can’t do any other work, I mean jobs and other professional business. So this mode of education learning is not so much good for working people. In such case they have to leave their jobs for attending regular classes. And mostly in India, there will be limited seats in regular courses and a very high competition in such courses like Executive MBA. While in distance learning mode like correspondence learning among the professionals is very popular. Because they don’t need to leave their jobs and easily can get a higher degree like distance learning MBA.

But in this mode there is lack of interaction between faculty and students. So this mode is applicable only for sharp minded students and those able to study themselves. And they are able to find solutions themselves.

In such cases we can say this mode is also not so good for less than average knowledge students. But to remove these constraints of distance learning academic intellectuals searched a new way- “Online Education”. We can say it has created a new revolution in the field of distance learning. In this mode you can take classes like a real regular class in your home and at your flexible time. So we can say for online MBA programs, you can do it with your job and after completion of it you can achieve a higher education degree and promote your self in your business fields.

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Writing Query Letters

A QUERY LETTER is written to an editor or agent to describe a piece of writing to ask if they’d like to see it. It is sent in lieu of an unsolicited (unasked for) manuscript. (A COVER letter is a letter sent to ACCOMPANY a manuscript.)

Before you write a query letter, check to see if the agent/editor offers guidelines to writers – make sure you are targeting the right market for your writing. (Many publishers now have guidelines on the Internet.)Also check your Writer’s Marketplace guide.

New York agent Don Maass, in his interview with Writing For Success, offered these guidelines on writing a query letter:

“Make sure your query letter is brief and businesslike. I really recommend the four-paragraph query letter as follows:

FIRST PARAGRAPH

Say something like: ‘I’m looking for a literary agent for my mystery series.’ What more do you need to say than that? The agent thinks: Okay, so what is this series?

SECOND PARAGRAPH

The second paragraph is a description of the property that you’re offering. All I really care about is the story. Does the story have an interesting commercial premise? If you don’t have the knack of coming up with a neat hook or a pithy, strong pitch then all you have to do is tell me the beginning of your story. What is the problem that he/she faces? If you can give me those three things, and give them to me in an interesting way, I promise you I will want to know what happens next.

The job of the query letter is not to sell me on representation. The only thing the query letter has to do is convince me to read the manuscript. Sometimes we ask for a couple of chapters and a synopsis, but even if we ask for those, the query letter has done its job. All that I need is to be hooked – and the beginning of any good story will hook any reader.

THIRD PARAGRAPH

Now that I’m interested in the story, who is the author? Who wrote it? A little bit about the author is helpful – not too much. How does your experience relate to the story?

FOURTH PARAGRAPH

The closing: Say something like this: “I look forward to hearing from you. I’m prepared to send you the first three chapters and an outline or an entire manuscript; please let me know what you would like to see.”

Keep it short, simple, sweet, businesslike. When you’re reading 250 letters a week, and trying to do it in an hour or two – trust me: brevity counts.

Make sure you include a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the editor’s or agent’s reply. If an editor responds with a ‘yes, we’d like to see your work’ then your writing has been SOLICITED, or asked for. Send it promptly, and in your cover letter mention that the piece is being sent at their request.

Distance Education Universities in India

Education has become an important element for human development. The life of an ordinary man is highly dependent on the degree of education you have and is the basis for further progress in his career. Students are highly regarded by their titles and fields where they have education. The number of schools in India has been increasing and therefore offers opportunities for students to continue their studies at a renowned university. Qualified professionals from renowned universities are always preferred and therefore are able to grab good job opportunities. Regular full-time courses and chose the students from different educational fields. However, there are many students, living in a distant land, or may be working, so cannot go full time courses at universities. Therefore, for these students, there are distance learning courses that provide students with education in distant places as well.

These days, almost all colleges in India, offer distance learning courses in most fields of education. Also, there are many universities that specialize in distance learning courses and provide students all the study material. In distance education, college or university to send the books to students, once they get themselves registered in the respective school. There are many centers of education, most universities in different cities, where students can take admission in distance learning courses at universities. The books and registration number can also be taken by students of these centers only.

The availability of distance learning helps students acquire the degree of what college they want, in any state or city. Distance education has enabled students to continue their studies while working. Most students have been opting for distance education courses at the graduate level, which in many cases management is in degrees. The institute offers Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, MBA and many management courses, it offers its students. Below are the list of somr universities and colleges offering distance learning courses to their students

Indira Gandhi National Open University

Department of Distance Education, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar

ICFAI University

Institute of Distance Education Jiwaji University, MP

Sikkim Manipal University

Annamalai University

Barkatullah University-Institute of Open and Distance Education, MP

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Education

Indian Institute of Commerce and Industry

Osmania University

Nalanda Open University (ONE)

University of Madras Institute of Distance Education

Karnataka State Open University

These centers have schools across the country, they also offer night classes or weekend students. Tests of these institutes are conducted depending on the length and duration of the term of a particular course. The importance of grades, these days, has made the concept of distance learning all the most prominent and popular. Due to lack of time, and the race to make money, people opt for distance learning courses. Below is a list of some of the courses of the master of distance education provided by universities in India:

Master of Business Administration

Masters in computer application

Masters v Foreign Trade

Masters of Financial Management

Masters of Information Science

Masters of Finance and Control

Masters of Mass Communication

Masters of insurance business

Master of Public Administration

Apart from these Masters courses, universities also offer distance learning courses at graduation.

Seven Myth Busters of Distance Learning

In this brief article, I expose some of the most common and deadly misconceptions about distance learning. And you want to read this. Why? Because if you do not consider the new trends and potential of distance learning, you may be ignoring or discounting vital opportunities to increase your career skills, complete your degree, or expand your professional relationships. That is correct, some of these myths are deadly for you, because even though the means to breathe new life into your career are sitting in your home, you are have decided to ignore them. Let’s change all that together

Join me, as we explore these 7 Myth Busters of Distance Learning and open the doors of opportunity and empowerment that are waiting as close as your laptop, cell phone, and iPod.

1. You need to be connected at the same time in order to participate in distance learning. Many people have this idea because they may have participated in workplace webinars: lectures or seminars delivered live over the web. However, webinars are only one of many ways to provide distance learning. A more popular format is to use non-simultaneous deliver (or asynchronous as we call it). This format enables participants to sign in over the Internet to do their work whenever it fits it into their day. Wouldn’t you like to pick the time when you learn? Another great benefit of non-simultaneous learning is that it overcomes time-zone conflicts when you worldwide groups.

2. Distance learning is boring and usually canned. This statement might be the case if you are only reading test, or watching video, but haven’t you been to a boring lecture? Too much of any one instructional mode can make it hard to keep people’s interest. Today well-designed distance learning courses include not only video, text, graphics, audio, and pictures, but also user created materials in all the same formats. A great course will not only provide learning in a varied format addressing multiple learning styles and learning intelligences, but it will also engage learners in active participation! Student podcasts, videos and online role playing are just a few examples. Learners also post or lead subject focused discussion boards and solve group simulations. Distance learning can provide a dimension of making learning meaningful and active.

3. I don’t like this “at your own pace stuff” of distance learning. Again, distance learning comes in so many modes now that you can have a completely instructor-led course, or one that includes partial independence combined with direct oversight. In some content areas, participants might also be in private learning sessions, just you and the teacher, or with groups. Although usually more expensive, if private learning or tutoring or a specific time frames fits you best, a private vs. group class might be a real perk and incentive.

4. Distance learning is much easier than traditional classes. This concern is raised mostly in relation to academic degrees and cannot be more wrong. In fact, students need to work harder, especially at first, with online courses. They need to shift to being responsible for their learning and invest more time in being self-disciplined, scheduling their outside classroom study (there is no IN classroom time!), and tracking their deadlines. For certain people it is a breeze to adjust, for other people they have to focus on developing strategies for online learning success. But once they do make the effort, learners taking responsibility may begin to soar with the possibilities ahead. Now, doesn’t that lesson have a lot of good cross-benefits to it? Hmmmmm.

5. Distance learning creates greater social isolation. I think most people who state this myth, do not use social media. Otherwise they would have a better idea of the extensive interactions in distance classes. The discussion boards, peer emailing and dialogue, and group projects stampede over the amount of interaction in a traditional classroom. I always say face to face classes by necessity are required to play “Beat the Clock”; therefore, time for student interaction is limited. In contrast, distance classes can expand as much as the students want to invest in them. Isolating? Not in our experience- we have to sometimes hold them back!

6. Teachers do not need new class preparation: Teaching distance learning is just like teaching traditional classes. This is a very dangerous myth, because teachers and learners will be disappointed with the results if it is followed. While distance learning will build upon principles of great teaching practice, many specific issues have to be addressed that are different or new. For instance, because of being part of a global classroom, cross-cultural communication may be prominently required than usual. Also whether classes are delivered in same time or not, a distance audience means different dynamics. It can be powerful and lively, or fraught with problems, but don’t try to head into this format without preparation.

7. No student orientation is needed. Students use the same skills as a traditional class, just plug n play! Many organizations have struggled by following this approach, and so have their participants! From technical support, to study skills, time management to registration, needs to processes, people need to break away from their assumptions and rethink the needs of the distance learner. When they are addressed, the approach unleashes a vibrant, global classroom.

Next Steps. Hopefully, this brief article has raised some new questions for you and challenged some of your assumptions or prior opinions. Consider signing up for a distance learning course which has developed a good reputation. Give virtual learning a try for yourself and reflect on how this experience can be helpful for you, your family and colleagues to meet personal and professional learning needs. From academic degree completion, to language learning to prepare for your next trip to Spain, or strategies to restart your dream career, the opportunities may be as close as that computer, iPod or cell phone, if you give it a chance and follow the tips above.

Tips to Choosing an Electrical Installation Course

Electrical installation courses provide you with the knowledge and information that you need to carry out your duties in an effective manner on a daily basis. Whether you are already an electrician looking to refresh your knowledge and update your skills or you have never worked in the electrical industry before, choosing the right training centre is what will determine whether you walk away with the knowledge you need along with certification, or whether you learn what you already know.

There are a number of benefits to completing an electrical installation course from on the job training to enjoying working in a respected professional. In addition to this, working within the electrical industry, you will enjoy career growth moving forward.

With the right training centre, you will be able to take the course, pass the test and then go to work and immediately start using the skills you learned, you will be able to fast track your own career and improve your own career prospects now and in the future.

The first step to taking any electrical installation course is to ensure that you are choosing a reputable and reliable training centre which is going to offer you the best training, knowledge and insider advice that you can use immediately in your chosen career. Remember that not all training centres are the same in terms of what they teach, the quality of their courses and their pricing structures.

You want to choose a centre with experienced instructors who only take smaller classes, so that they are able to focus on each learner to ensure you understand the course materials and that you pass your examination to receive your certification at the end. That certification can boost your career in the electrical industry and is your ticket to enjoying a successful career moving forward.

Ensure when it comes to something as important as electrical installation courses that you choose a learning centre which can provide you with the authentic City and Guilds course combined with accredited certification. These are industry recognised training courses and certifications, which ensures your course is respected by the industry.

Take a look at the courses offered by the training centre to identify that once you complete this course, what others do they have that you can take advantage of. Knowledge is key and if you keep improving your knowledge and skill set, you can boost your career, take advantage of promotional opportunities and enjoy a very successful career in the future.

The cost is often a big deciding factor, especially if you are paying for yourself to attend. If the company is paying, they will probably send a number of employees for a discounted rate. Investing in training is a worthwhile cause, you are investing in your future, but at the same time you do not have to break the bank.

Speak to the training centre you want to use to complete your electrical installation course to identify if they can provide you with the chance to pay off the training or if they offer discounted rates that you can afford. You may want to compare a few of the training centres you feel comfortable with, though always remember you want to get the best learning experience, even if you do have to pay slightly more in the long run.

The final step of taking any electrical installation course is to identify how long the course is and book time off to attend. These are not distance courses, you will have to complete the course in a learning centre, but when completed, you will have a new set of skills you can start using without delay.

Online Learning – Training Webinar Success Tips

If you think that face-to-face training is the best way to do training, think again. New research shows that a blended approach produces 35-69 percent better outcomes than face-to-face alone.

What’s a blended approach? It’s a mixture of delivery modes, put together in a pattern to create the best result. For example, a blended course might involve one full day face-to-face, followed by several one-hour webinars delivered sequentially across a number of weeks. Another example might include a self-paced DVD program, followed by three two-hour webinars, followed by a live one-to-one coaching session.

The blended approach delivers even higher value than its impact on results in the workplace. It’s also an important part of reducing the need to travel for the training. Time in training sessions is time away from the job, so many employers are happier with training at the desktop that lasts only an hour or two. In addition, corporations worldwide are eager to eliminate travel, weather across town or halfway around the world. So, when your business offers part or all of its training online, you have a competitive advantage that companies that hire you will value.

So if your business delivers training services, it’s important to take a fresh look at how to restructure your training offerings to provide a significantly higher impact. If you plan on doing some live online training via Web conference technology, here are some success factors to help.

  • Keep your online learning session short.

    For training webinars, limit each session to one to two hours. One hour is best, but two hours works well when the training is interactive enough.

  • Tell students not to take notes, but instead to enjoy the experience of learning together.

    Promise your student participants a handout at the end of the session that captures all of the notes on the slides. If your slides are proprietary, you don’t have to give them a copy. Instead, give them a high-value handout that details the critical points, lists, and actions that are required for your participants to be successful. In an online learning environment, a short and focused PDF handout is better than long and comprehensive book.

  • Design your training webinar for vigorous, relevant, and continuous interaction.

    The toughest audience in the world is one that links from the desktop. At any moment in time, people are seconds a way from multitasking.

    The only way to keep people from multitasking is to create

    (1) extremely high value content,

    (2) delivered at a brisk pace,

    (3) intermixed with constant interaction that adds value to the experience of learning at that moment.

    When online trainers can’t see the students’ nonverbal cues, s/he has to be even more deliberate in building high quality interaction throughout the session.

  • Have students meet from individual desktops, not a conference room.

    To get the highest level of interaction, it’s best if each student links separately to the Web conference online learning session. That lets every student be able to participate easily and quickly in polls, chat discussions, imitation feedback, and voice interaction. When students meet from a conference room, sharing a computer inhibits rapid interaction that is needed to keep everyone else engaged. No one must be disadvantaged by location from being a full and equal participant in the learning.

  • Design your slides for brain appeal.

    Your students cannot see your face. But they can be very engaged by the PowerPoint slides that you use in your training webinar. Avoid standard Microsoft PowerPoint templates. Instead, find commercial templates that better express the theme of your training. Avoid clipart. Instead, use commercially available photo art and photo images. Avoid standard formatting. Instead, skillfully learn how to create and design slides that engaged the attention of your desktop students.

  • Team teach online learning sessions when you can.

    With experience and training, a single person can manage all aspects of an online learning session. But it’s better to team teach in your initial training webinars. For example, while one person instructs, the other annotates, manages polls, sets up chat discussions, observes the participation of the students, and asks questions to keep interaction going.

  • End with an online version of a standing ovation.

    You know that when you have delivered an excellent learning session. Students are eager to say how much they enjoyed the experience of learning with you. In an online learning environment, many trainers don’t get that feedback. Before you end the online learning session, ask students to use chat to tell you what they learned that they will apply. Encourage them make several entries. Then a moment later ask them what they enjoyed most about the class. They will be able to share their comments with the group or with you privately, as you specify. If you ask your student participants to share their comments publicly in chat, everyone will see dozens of positive comments that reinforce the high-value of your content as well as a very enjoyable interactive session, too.

  • End the online learning session with a three-minute online survey.

    Most Web conference platforms will allow you to drop the student off at a website where you can poll them on the metrics that show the value of your online learning program or session. If a company hired you (vs. individuals), summarize the information from the feedback form, and send it to the client. If students registered independently, neutralize the feedback and post the data on your website, along with quotes (of course, by permission).

Tips for Pronunciation of the Swedish Vowels

The most famous parody of the Swedish accent is probably the Swedish chef in The Muppet Show, but also more recently a sketch in The Catherine Tate show called Interpreter. What both these parodies have picked up, is the sing-song element of Swedish, and also the fact that the Swedish language is relatively vowel-rich. The pronunciation of these vowels can prove a challenge when you are learning Swedish. This article goes through all Swedish vowels and gives some tips on how to pronounce them, according to the Swedish alphabet.

A

The thing to remember with A is that it is very long. For English speakers, it usually helps to make the same sound as when saying the English letter ‘r’, but to remove the ‘r-sound’ in the end and only keep the long ‘ah’. Another way can be to visualize the sound you have to make if a doctor examines your mouth and throat. The doctor usually places a spatula on your tongue, and asks you to say ‘ah’. Finally, it is important to remember to drop your jaw properly, which makes the A deep and long.

E

This vowel can be tricky because for an English speaker, the natural instinct is to treat it like the English ‘ee’ (like in for example ‘bumble-bee’). But the Swedish E is lower, and finishes off with a slight A-sound in the very end (at least the accents found around Stockholm and Uppsala on the East coast). The best way to find the right sound, is to say the English word ‘ear’, but to remove the ‘r-sound’ in the end: ‘ea’.

I

This vowel unfortunately adds another layer to the confusion around the Swedish vowel E. This is because the Swedish pronunciation of the letter I is just like the English ‘ee’. In other words, a very wide and smiley ‘ee-sound’. The only consolation is that Swedish speakers have exactly the same problem when learning English, just the other way around!

O

The letter O can be hard to pronounce, because it is a bit more extreme than the English ‘oh-sound’. The ‘oh-sound’ in English requires fairly relaxed lips, and also a relaxed tongue. The Swedish O requires a very tense mouth and hard lips pressed together, like when you are whistling a tune, or sucking a straw. The tongue is pulled right back in the throat, like you do if you eat something that is too hot and you try to protect your tongue.

U

This is perhaps the hardest one to explain, out of all Swedish vowels. When you say the vowel U, your lips should be relaxed, your tongue touching the bottom-row of your front teeth, and your jaw should be slightly pushed forward. It sounds a little bit like the disgusted expression “Eew”, but more like the end-part than the first.

Y

The vowel Y tends to be hard to get right, but I have found a way to describe it that seems to be helpful. Firstly, say the Swedish I (or the English ‘ee’) and analyse what your tongue is doing. Secondly, keep that tongue position absolutely still, but move your lips from a wide smile to a trumpet-like shape (i.e. push your lips forward, quite aggressively). So when going from I to Y, your tongue position should be exactly the same, and the only thing changing is your lips – going from a wide smile, to a trumpet-shape.

Å

Here is the first one of the three extra vowels in Swedish (they come in the end of the alphabet by the way, in this order: å, ä, ö). The challenge is to really distinguish them as separate vowels, and not just muddled versions of A and O. The Å can be thought of as the ‘au’ sound in ‘Paul’. Indeed, some Swedish Pauls actually spell their names Pål. The sound is long, as in a long ‘Påål’.

Ä

This letter can be thought of as the English ‘ai’ in ‘pair’, or ‘hair’. The only thing to remember is that the mouth is actually quite wide, a bit more of a smile than when saying ‘pair’.

Ö

Finally, the Ö is similar to the English sound ‘i’ in the word ‘bird’. Or ‘u’ in the word ‘fur’. Or ‘ea’ in the word ‘heard’. The lips are fairly rounded, but also slightly trumpet-shaped.

And finally, the graduation test is to fully master the following Swedish tongue twister: Flyg fula fluga flyg, och den fula flugan flög (Fly away you ugly fly, and the ugly fly flew away).

That’s it – good luck!

8 Best Tips to Success in Online Exams

Test taking should not have to be stressful. If you plan and prepare well in advance, it should be a piece of cake. The exam might be tough, but you can do it! Use these 8 simple tips listed below to help you succeed in your online examination.

  • Time management skills – Developing good time management skills and being aware of how you use your time is extremely important for your success. First you will need to develop a study plan and set aside a set amount of time of study hours per week. Are you more productive in the morning or at night? Figure out the time of day when you are most productive and use that time to study for your exams.
  • Study space – What is the best study space you can think of? Dedicate a quiet study space that is free from distractions where you can concentrate and focus solely on your studies. Let your friends and family know that this is your time to study and not to disturb you during these times.
  • Prioritize work – What subject do you need help with? The best way to study for an online exams is to begin with the most difficult subject first, then work your way to the easiest.
  • Weekly review – What is the best time during the week you can review? Set aside one day per week for a review session and use that time to review class notes and other materials.
  • Get help – The internet is full of information – Make use of your computer and the internet. Anything and everything you need to know is just a click away. Another way to get additional help is to talk to an online tutor or classmate or ask your online instructor for help or clarification if you are not sure about something. There are also several online discussion groups that you can join and get help that way.
  • Cramming – Cramming just does not work! Staying up all night cramming for your online exam for the next day is useless. The night before the online exam should be used for a quick review and then, off to bed early. Your brain and body needs a lot of rest to function at its best.
  • Have a positive attitude! – Relax! Have a positive attitude and approach the online exam as you would approach any other exam. Keep in mind that online exams are a part of your online learning process that you simply cannot avoid. So the best thing that you can do is be prepared.
  • Online exam day – Whatever you do, do not skip breakfast. Did you know that you function better with a healthy breakfast to start your day? Before the exam begins, make sure you have everything you will need for the exam. Read the instructions very carefully and proceed. You will do just fine – you will see.

6 Practical Tips For Long-Distance God Parents

Help! I’m a long-distance Godparent. I felt the same panic when I was asked recently to sponsor the first child of two of my dearest friends. Since they entrusted the spiritual nurture of their precious bundle to me. I had to see how I measured up. My most major flaw was that I lived too far away.

The family resides in the Caribbean and I am in Central America. True, not too far away. Nevertheless, I am not in the same country and it is still going to be long-distance affair. As in any relationship, distance can make a negative impact.

Since being asked, I have been thinking about my role a lot. Moreover, I am accustomed to wearing the other shoe – giving parents advice on this issue. Therefore, I decided to revisit and listen to my own counsel. I believe it wise to take my own advice before all my older, and my newest, Godchildren decide to get rid of me.

Being a Godmother, or Godfather is far more serious than many people realize. I might be stating the obvious for some of you. However, the fact is too many persons (including some parents) tend to see this responsibility as a position of status and prestige, without realizing that an awesome responsibility has been placed in their hands. So I made up a list for myself and I’m sharing it with you.

6 Helpful Long- Distance God Parenting Tips

Attend First Ceremony – It doesn’t matter how far away you live. You should be present at this first ceremony of Baptism or Dedication. Some churches make this mandatory. My sister & colleague is Moravian and my presence is mandatory. I guess I won’t be missing this ceremony!

Make a Chart of your one or several God children- I have 6! I heard of this excellent idea and thought it was just so practical. Keep your chart in a prominent place. It can be a mini-one in your diary or a large one hanging from a wall in your bedroom or office. Use this chart to also boost your prayers for your Godchild.

List their names, birthday, date of Baptism or Dedication, other rites of passage like first day at school and so on. In this regard, you will need the help of the parents to send you informative updates and pictures.

Pray Regularly – Keep your Godchild(ren) on your prayer list and pray for them. Your role as Godparent is to offer spiritual nurture. It is not for buying expensive presents unlike what popular culture would have you think.

Maintain Contact and Communication – Even before the child is able to speak, ask the parents to put him or her on the phone so they get accustomed to hearing your voice. Trust me, your Godchild will recognize you by your voice the first time they physically meet you. Write and send cards on the anniversary of Baptism/Dedication, birthdays, graduations and just to say, I’m thinking about you.

Today’s children seem to be born knowing how to use a computer. They are more advanced that we the are. If you are reading this online, then perhaps you are not too ancient then. Keep in touch via the Internet by using email and Instant Messengers. This can turn out to be a helpful means of contact and your Godchild knows he or she has someone they can talk to besides their parents.

Spend Time together – When possible spend time with the family of your Godchild or invite the child to visit with you. This might include Summer vacations or other school breaks and use of your vacation time.

Give Spiritually Nurturing Care and Gifts – Too often parents look for Godparents not for the spiritual care they can give, but for their capacity to buy their children expensive gifts. Those parents have missed the point of this religious role. When properly understood, God parents should appreciate their role primarily as support in spiritual education and nurture of children.

Even though you are far away, you can still give meaningful gifts that will help to affirm the spiritual care and education of your Godchild. It makes sense then that your gifts be mostly of a religious nature. This is not an easy choice when competing with violent video games, dolls that scream out commercialized versions of beauty, and other useless and psychologically damaging toys.

So, I hear the question every godparent must now be asking. Where on earth do I get these ‘spiritual nurturing gifts’ that are not boring? Listen, that is a whole new story. I’m still searching so look out for my suggestions.

Happy Godparenting with renewed commitment!

3 Quick Tips on Plotting Your Book

Plotting a book can seem an overwhelming task when you’re just starting out, but it does get easier when you understand various plotting strategies.

Here are 3 quick tips that could be all you need to get you started:

  • One: You’ll find it useful to analyse published books.
  • Two: Decide on the main events
  • Three: Use a synopsis as a plotting tool

Tip 1: Work Out How Other Writers Do It

Here’s something you can do if you get stuck: borrow some books from the library – the most popular books would be good! – and go through them while wearing your writer’s hat. Jot down short notes about what happens in each chapter – and also look at how the author ends each chapter. If the author is skilled, they’ll have some kind of chapter hook (something the reader wants to know) to keep the reader turning pages. This kind of analysis is quite fun – it’s always interesting seeing how other authors structure their books and get their effects!

Tip 2: Decide What You REALLY Need to Include

Not everything that happens in your character’s life is a plot. What a boring story if you recounted everything even in one day. Readers couldn’t care less about the myriad details that make up most of our lives. Do you really want to know what the character eats, how he eats, what toothpaste he uses, where he keeps his car keys, etc etc.. .all of these things are part of his life, but they’re (mostly) not part of your book’s plot.

Choose the details you include carefully. A plot is a specific collection of events that affect that outcome of your narrative. If a story event is not relevant to the narrative – pluck it out.

Tip 3: Write a Synopsis First

It helps to write a synopsis of the story before you start. (Yes, I know that lots of you like to ‘just let it all flow’ and you don’t know what’s going to happen next. Hmmm. Fast way to write yourself into a corner.)

Use the synopsis to plot your book. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Your “planning my story” synopsis can be as rough as guts, actually. It’s just for you; it’s not for an editor. (You can polish it at your leisure somewhere down the track if you want to send it to a publisher.) But in the initial stages, just jot down the high points of your story. A lack of detail at this point is likely to be your friend – you’ll see quite clearly if something is irrelevant.

(c) Copyright Marg McAlister