Time for a poetic interlude


Daydreaming Shoes

I brought some tomatoes to market

To sell for a dollar or two

I’m trying to raise enough money

To buy me some magical shoes


The shoes are encrusted with diamonds

And fitted with drones in the heels

To take me to faraway places

To see all that God will reveal

copyright 2018 Donna Marks


I can help you put your best word forward. Contact dmariemarks@gmail.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How does copyright law affect my work?

Let’s say you may need to make copies of some helpful information you found in a publication, to share with colleagues in the office, for presentation to students in a class, to include in a document you are writing, or to post online. Well, there are basic rules to be aware of regarding copyright law in the United States.

If you wish to use a specific work, verbatim, you must credit the author(s) in a citation right after you present their work or in an endnote or reference list.

Here is more important information on copyright, taken from chapter 4 of the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition:

  • The author of a work possesses copyright (along with various subrights) at the time the work is created. The author can sell, rent, give away, will, or transfer rights to whomever the author wishes. Authors normally transfer some or all of these rights to the publisher in a contract.
  • Copyright protection of a work does not require registering it at the United States Copyright Office.
  • It is no longer necessary to put a copyright notice on a work in order for it to be protected. However, such notices may discourage others from stealing or plagiarizing the work.
  • Anything posted on the internet is “published” in the sense of copyright and must be treated as such for the purposes of complete citation and clearance of permissions, if relevant.

For help in putting your best word forward, go to editsbymarks.com or contact me at dmariemarks@gmail.com.

Posted in general | Leave a comment

What good is an abstract, anyway?

First of all, an abstract is a preview of your research findings. It summarizes your work in a page or less, giving the reader enough information to decide whether they want to read more about it or pass. As such it should do the following:

  • Describe succinctly, the purpose of your research and the problem you investigated
  • Describe the design or approach you took. Was this an experiment? A descriptive case study or survey? An observational study? A review?
  • State your major findings from your analysis
  • Summarize your interpretations of your findings and state your main conclusion.

The abstract should be written last, after you have completed and documented your research. Use the active voice as much as possible. Remember, you are publicizing events that already took place, so write in the past tense. To ensure that whatever you write agrees with what is in your research paper, use key information from your paper verbatim.

Put yourself in the place of another researcher or decision maker who has a strong interest and wants to know more about your topic. Would the content you present intrigue them enough to draw them to read about your work? Also, if the abstract was the only information they could get to, does it hit on the main points of your report?

Types of abstracts

Your abstract may be either critical, informative, or descriptive.

  • critical abstract compares your work with that of other researchers on the same subject. It tends to be longer, since you are comparing your findings with those of their colleagues.
  • descriptive abstract is not judgmental. It merely describes the work, including the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. It is usually to shortest type of abstract.
  • The informative abstract is much like a descriptive abstract, except that it includes your conclusions and recommendations based on your findings. Most abstracts are informative.

 Your abstract is “a trailer” to your paper. As you compose it, keep in mind that it will be used to drum up interest in your valuable work, much like a movie trailer. So, that’s why you should lead others to your eye-opening research with poignant, descriptive facts on what you unearthed as you researched your topic.

For help in putting your best word forward, contact dmariemarks@gmail.com or go to Editsbymarks.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Ridiculous Redundancies?


Redundancies do have their place.

  • To emphasize something important in display advertising/marketing
  • In jargon among legal professionals
  • As a comedic device
  • In written dialogue
  • In storytelling

The key is to know your audience. When writing for business and for academic presentations, writing is effective only when it is clear, succinct, and well organized. It should have very little jargon, and must be specifically crafted and presented to give the clearest call to action to readers and get the most direct and accurate response from readers.

Redundancies in business writing tend to introduce ambiguity that may confuse readers, thereby diminishing your credibility with them. Here are some redundancies to avoid in business writing.

  • Repay back (use either repay or pay back)
  • Revert back to (revert)
  • Sequential order (sequential)
  • Unexpected surprise (Really? When is a surprise expected?)
  • Various different (These words mean the same thing. Choose one.)
  • Whole entire (These words mean the same thing. Choose one.)
  • Circle around (Circle implies going around.)
  • Armed gunman         (If there is a gunman, he is armed with a gun.)
  • Honest truth (Truth is honest always.)
  • Complete and utter
  • Exact duplicate

Use this as a cheat sheet in your arsenal of tools to ensure a clear message. Add your own discoveries of redundancies to avoid. And. Avoid. Them.

For help in putting your best word forward, contact donna@dmarks.com or go to editsbymarks.com. Let’s talk about what you need.



Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A note on using pronouns ending in …self

I feel a need to put this out there after some rather outlandish uses I’ve seen that are embarrassing. Here goes.

Words that end in “self” or “selves” are called reflexive pronouns. These words should be used only when the noun or pronoun was referenced previously in your text.

  1. The president appointed myself to the committee.
    This is incorrect. There is no previous reference to identify who “myself” is.
    Correct. The president appointed me to the committee.
  2. Mary pushed herself to finish the test.
    This is correct. “Herself” refers to Mary.
  3. The team members prepared themselves to compete by practicing every day.
    This is correct. “Themselves” refers to the team members.

For help in putting your best word forward, contact me at donna@dmarks.com or check out my website.

Posted in general, grammar, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Design Your Message for Best Results

Part of getting your message across to your audience successfully is designing your communication. Just as in the products that catch our eye, the visual appearance is just as important as the content. It may make or break your effort to communicate your message.

  1. Use plain language. A communication is in plain language if its wording, structure, and design are so clear that the intended audience can easily find what they need, understand what they find, and use that information.
                                                                       –International Plain Language Federation
  2. Consider your layout. Make sure you have plenty of white space to help separate your content into groups of information. White space also gives the appearance of calmness and simplicity, as opposed to crowded chaos.
  3. Use a font that is simple and make it a size that is easy for your audience to read. Times Roman, Garamond, Helvetica, and Arial (11 or 12 point) are popular.
  4. Start with a call to action for your readersand use succinct, useful headings to separate information and help readers navigate the content.
  5. Use bullets and numbering to help make your information easy to follow.
  6. Do not be shy, use tables, charts, and photographsto simplify your information and make it appealing.

It’s all about getting your audience to engage in the document and get the information they need from it. It’s also about getting them to respond to your call to action.

Need help putting your best word forward. Send  a note to donna@dmarks.com or visit editsbymarks.com.


Posted in general, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Activities to Improve Your Happiness


Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment