Thursday, January 27, 2011

Michelle McLean is Here to Help!

Lucky us! Today, Michelle McLean is here to talk about her newly released book Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers.


This book is perfect for helping out anyone who struggles with any aspect of writing those essays. You won't believe how much information Michelle has included inside! Check it out...
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I’ve been asked by several people why I wanted to write a book like this. It all started with a few How To blog posts. But impromptu tutoring sessions with my younger brother and sister were always in the back of my mind. They went something like this:


Sis: Just tell me how to start the essay.

Me: You gotta state your thesis in your introduction.

Sis: I know that. But what, I just state it?

Me: *sigh* No…lead up to a little bit.

Sis: *bigger sigh* Just tell me how to start it. What’s the first sentence?

Me: *snatches pen* Fine. Here. *writes first sentence*

Sis: Cool. What do I write next?

Me: Seriously?

Sis: *gives me her best grin*

Me: Fine. Here.

Sis: Cool. What comes after that?

This would continue on for a while…until I got fed up or her essay was finished.

Now, my sister is a very smart girl, and she’s actually a good writer. She knew the basics of what she needed to do. She could look up the rules in her writing book. But even given the rules and instructions, she still wasn’t sure how to go about actually doing them.

When I started posting How To posts on my blog on subjects like poetry and essays, I got a lot of comments from students and former students who were just like my sister. They knew what to do…they just didn’t know how to do it, and the other guidebooks out there weren’t helping. They either listed the rules without exact directions on what to do with those rules, or their instructions were so full of technical jargon and confusing language they did nothing but frustrate their readers further.

So I expanded my posts into Homework Helpers: Essays and Papers…a book that takes a dozen different types of essays and walks the reader through every single step, from start to finish. In order to further illustrate the process, I included rough draft, edited, and final copy versions of every single type of essay in the book. I also have chapters with tips on research, instructions for proofreading and citing sources, and a chapter with tips on how to write a good SAT essay.

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Awesome! This book is going to help so many people! As a teacher I think it's an excellent resource. So many people just don't know how to get started, or to wrap it all up, or to fill in the middle... well, you get the idea! :)
 
So, where can you buy the book?
Amazon
Borders
B&N
 
And if you haven't already had the pleasure of meeting Michelle on her home turf, you can find her here:
blog
website
Operation Awesome blog
Facebook
Twitter
 
Thanks so much for dropping by Michelle and telling us how the book came to be! It's sure going to help a LOT of people!!
 
So everyone, were you a fan of essays - or did they drive you around the bend? :)

78 comments:

  1. I so wish there had been a book like this around when I was in school. This will definitely be helpful to so many. Best of luck Michelle.

    Jemi, thanks for hosting Michelle.

    Mason
    Thoughts in Progress

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  2. Thanks Mason! I'm thrilled to have Michelle here! :) I totally agree - this is going to help tons of students!

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  3. I just love that story.
    My daughters do exactly the same thing to me!

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  4. Yay for Michelle!


    I used to leave essay writing as late as i could. lol. I wish this book had been out then.

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  5. Al - I know! It's almost universal - kids know how to get us to help. This book should be awesome! :)

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  6. Lindsay - Yay indeed!! :)

    I know dozens and dozens of people it would have helped from back then - and lots of students from now! :)

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  7. Sounds like a great tool! Thanks for sharing it. :)

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  8. Excellent book , I know many people will benefit from it, Good luck.

    Yvonne.

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  9. Thanks everyone, and thanks for hosting me today, Jemi :)

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  10. Thanks. I'm a writer who tutors on the side. I know some students who need this book. It would be a great help for SAT preparation.

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  11. Nice job, Jemi! Michelle, your book totally rocks and so do you! :-)

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  12. Great topic. If you don't have a teacher to teach you, you need to learn this somewhere.

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  13. This is going to be a popular book with all students.

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  14. Elizabeth - you're welcome! I think it will help a lot of folks :)

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  15. Michelle - you're so welcome! Glad to have you here! :)

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  16. Kathy - awesome! I think you're right on - so many students will love this book! :)

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  17. Shannon - thanks - you're so right - Michelle does indeed rock!! :)

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  18. Diane - lol :) There are indeed parallels, aren't there?

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  19. Alex - it is really interesting! I'm so glad she shared :)

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  20. M Pax - you're right! This will help so many folks who don't have someone to help them out :)

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  21. This book would've been so useful to me earlier in my education career! I'm sure a lot of students would find this a gem of a book.

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  22. Emy - you're right. So many teachers and students could use this - it's awesome!!!

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  23. Congratulations Michelle! Your book sounds like it's full of great tips for students. BTW...I loved writing essays as a student and as loved reading them as a teacher!

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  24. I never had a problem with essays in school. In fact, I loved them. I used to sit around and write essays for fun sometimes. However I know that many people are absolutely intimidated by the prospect of writing an essay and this book would probably be a big help.

    Good luck, Michelle, with getting this information to those who need it.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

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  25. Sharon - I loved essay writing too. I have many fond memories of being in the library surrounded by books, index cards and coloured pens :)

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  26. Lee - I bet a lot of us who enjoy writing felt the same. I loved essays too. Researching topics is fun for me. But I know a LOT of people who despised them :)

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  27. Thanks for sharing with us! Personally, I love to research and write. I remember having an electric typewriter in school. Yep, word processors just weren't that common.

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  28. Stephen - love it! I actually had an electric typewriter! Word processors were just showing up :)

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  29. Susan - Yikes! I'm so sorry I missed your comment! I totally agree - it's going to be a hit :)

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  30. I wish there was a book like that when I was at school - a long long time ago!

    Very interesting post, Jemi and Michelle. Thanks :)

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  31. I agree Wendy - it sure would have helped! :)

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  32. Writing essays was not my forte in school; science was. I could have used this book way back when!

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  33. Lydia - now, why am I not surprised you enjoyed science so much! :) Sounds like this book would ahve been perfect!

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  34. Good luck to Michelle! The book sounds intriguing. I've put it on my list of books to read. And thanks, Jemi, for commenting on my post about snow. Have a great weekend!
    Ann Best, Author

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  35. There is a touch of deja vue with that story and my younger brother. I do wish there had been a book like that when I was writing essays in school too.

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  36. Ann B - it's always fun to visit you - loved your snow poem!

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  37. Ann - I think that scene has played itself out in a whole lot of families!! That's why it's going to sell well! :)

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  38. This sounds like an excellent book. And much needed. In college, I graded papers for my English professor. Even at that age, students could have used your book!

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  39. Helen - I agree! I remember one college prof knowing where I'd come from based on my ability to write an essay.

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  40. As I read the interaction between Michelle and her sister, I giggled because I can really empathize. My students try this tactic all the time. They often get frustrated with me because I refuse to give them the answers or dictate what exactly they should write.

    This book looks to be a wonderful resource to add to my classroom.

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  41. Chary - exactly!!! Mine hate when I do give them suggestions because it's always a silly suggestion - usually about a fairy tale :)

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  42. I need to get a copy of this for my kids. That whole dialogue exchange sounds so familiar. Great idea turning it into a book.

    Thanks for sharing, Jemi.

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  43. You're welcome, Nichole! I bet tons of families recognize themselves in that dialogue! :)

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  44. I have a few books like these (being an English teacher) and they're worth their weight in gold. Thx for posting this Jemi and for visitng and commentin on my story excerpt.

    Denise :)

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  45. Denise - they really are invaluable books. And Michelle's got a great approach!

    You're so welcome. I'm so glad the floods stopped - such a scary thing.

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  46. Great story! That sounded exactly like several conversations I have with my sister too ;)

    This books seems like it has some very useful tips! :)

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  47. I was incredibly fortunate at college - in my first week, a professor offered a lunchtime extra class on how to write an essay. I went along, and spent the rest of my college career passing on his wisdom to others. Three degrees later, I'm still doing it--I'll be recommending this book, it sounds great!

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  48. I;m kinda glad I left exams and tests behind me some long time ago and that I now have no need of this book, which BTW seems nice and practical :)

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  49. I always loved writing essays, but this would be a gem for my students who are confounded by them. Thanks for posting!

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  50. I loved any type of writing in middle and high school.

    There are confusing books out there. This is a much-needed resource.

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  51. Writing nut - I totally agree! Those conversations are happening in a whole lot of places. This book should be just what they need! :)

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  52. Amie - It's amazing how useful a skill it is. Being able to put together an essay can be used in so many places. I teach the basics to my students so they will hopefully find high school easier! :)

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  53. Dez - lol :) I don't think you're alone - a lot of adults are thrilled to never have to write an essay again! This book would have made their lives easier :)

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  54. Anne - I agree. Being an English major meant I loved both reading and writing - but I sure had a ton of friends who would have loved this book!!

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  55. Medeia - I agree! Michelle is certainly going to help lots and lots of people with this book!

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  56. I hope Michelle's books sells really well.

    Research papers filled me with dread. I could've used a book like this!

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  57. Theresa - I hope so too!

    I'm the only one in my family and group of friends who loved research essays - they all thought I was nuts! - this book would have been a huge seller with them!

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  58. What a great book and so interesting to see how it happened. I actually liked essays, but I know that's not true for everyone.

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  59. Buttercup - me too! But I think we're in a very small minority! :)

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  60. What an amazing resource! I have the most trouble with technical jargon. I can read a how-to book and think, what the heck does that mean? This book sounds helpful.

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  61. Julie - I agree! The technical jargon is always a problem for me. My students get used to me saying the 'whatchamacallit' and the 'thingamajig' and the 'youknow' :)

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  62. Essays used to drive me nuts until I worked out the formula. So very glad I don't have to write them anymore.

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  63. I've just enrolled in my last subject... I hate essays! xx

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  64. Lynda - That's exactly why Michelle's book will be such a big success & why I'm showing my students some hints and tricks! :)

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  65. Michelle - good luck with that last one! What a great feeling!!! :)

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  66. I've heard so many good things about this book! I used to agonise over essays, the same way I agonise now over my MS. Some things never change!

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  67. Talli - you're right! I definitely worry about my ms more than I ever worried about my essays though! :)

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  68. ...great interview, Jemi, and congrats to Michelle:) This book is a must for my son, the doodling teenage scribbler...but he's getting better every day.

    EL

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  69. Thanks Elliot! I've bought a copy for the kids in my family who are still in school too - going to be very helpful! :)

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  70. As a teacher who's worked for years with struggling writers, I think Michelle's books will be a great resource. Can't wait to check it out!!

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  71. I first saw her book on Matt's blog, and it looks like a winner! There certainly are lots of kids who need help with writing. :)

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  72. Paul - yes!!! I totally agree. It's going to help so many people get a handle on how to write well. It'll be a resource I know I'll use with my students :)

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  73. Susan - exactly! I think it's going to sell a ton and it should help a whole pile of kids learn how to do this well! :)

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  74. I so could have used this book a little earlier! I must admit I did NOT like essay writing!
    Thanks for the great interview!

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  75. Terry - it's always fun to see who hated essays and who loved them! I know they drove my sister right around the bend! :)

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