Writer's Toolkit

Starting in May 2013 Fiona began developing some hints and tips to get people writing. The first seven of these posts were on the Whanau Ora Research website. Later ones were on the Katoa website. Below are the links to the Toolkit postings.

1. Four elements of effective storytelling

In December 2012 I attended the 28th International Papillomavirus Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was there as part of a panel presenting on the personal and public benefits of prioritising Indigenous Health – but more on that later. I attended the pre-conference public health workshop and the second day of the workshop was devoted to “The power of story: Learning storytelling techniques from Hollywood’s master storytellers.”

2. Fabulous white hot speed writing

This post is about tools and techniques for creating a compelling story, as presented at the workshop by Jennifer Cecil, Executive Producer, Private Practice (ABC). Jennifer took us through a speed writing exercise – fabulous white hot writing – that I’d really recommend you try yourselves.

3. Finding the shape of your story

This post is about outlining, for finding the shape of a story, as presented by Sarah Watson, Co-Executive Producer, Parenthood (NBC). It was the second writing exercise of the workshop.

4. Bringing the abstract to your reporting

The writing exercise I described in the second and third writer’s toolkit entries were originally about getting ideas on paper for a storyline in a television drama. If we take a different direction with this exercise it can be a useful process to go through to clarify and focus your writing for, say, a research paper or report.

5. Getting content-ment

In the last writer’s toolkit post I talked about using a Hollywood drama writing process to draft up an abstract for the writing you may be tackling. The idea of this short summary is clarifying what you’ll be writing about. This post is about turning that abstract into a table of contents that provides you with some structure to write to.

6. Methodology

In my fifth writer's toolkit I set out a plan for writing an introduction for a research report after initially developing my abstract to both guide and focus my writing. In this post I use the same SmartArt tool in Microsoft Word to think through the layout of a methodology section for the same research report.

7. Providing directions for readers

I’ve talked in previous toolkit posts about getting a focus for your writing and using tools like the SmartArt tool in Microsoft Word to figure out a layout or map of the topics and sub-topics you’ll cover in your writing of a report or section of a report (e.g., methodology). In this post I talk about how to use this focus and map to spell out clearly for readers where they’re being taken by your report and, perhaps more importantly, what they should take away from reading it.

8. Writing about Community-Up Research Values

In this post I explore how the implementation of a research or evaluation project’s methods can be described using the Community-Up Research Values (Cram, 2001, 2009; Smith, 1999, 2006).