wr0. Course introduction
wr1. Writing fundamentals
wr1-0. Introduction :29
wr1-1. Chose simple words :54
wr1-2. More verbs less adjectives :33
wr1-3. Use the present tense 1:05
wr1-4. Compound your sentences :25
wr1-5. Keep paragraphs short:29
wr1-6. Use the past tense 1:13
wr1-7. Review :56
wr2. Planning your message
wr2-0. Introduction: 1:06
wr2-1. Start with the ending: :36
wr2-2. Now start your beginning :19
wr2-3. Adjusting the middle 1:01
wr2-4. Captions add picture value 1:15
wr2-5. Headlines attract readers :44
wr2-6. Review 1:07
wr3. Writing with purpose
wr3-0. Introduction :37
wr3-1. Feature you 1:29
wr3-2. A short video script :47
wr3-3. Press release 1:26
wr3-4. Business cover letter 1:33
wr3-5. Instruction manual 1:18
wr3-6. Review :33
wr4. No this
wr4-0. Introduction 1:12
wr4-1. No alphabet soup 1:11
wr4-2. No abbreviations :45
wr4-3. No contractions :46
wr4-4. No slang and no swearing 2:19
wr4-5. No misspelling :56
wr4-6. Never misspell names :50
wr4-7. Review :38
wr2-4. Captions increase picture value
A strong image usually draws more attention than a body of text. So traditional advertising often starts with a powerful photograph.
Once the reader studies the image, they next go to the photo caption, not the story headline. So a photo caption is more important to your story package than you might think.
Explain details in the picture that the viewer cannot see, why what is taking place, and why. Do not describe what you can see in the picture. Where was the photo taken? When was it taken? What is the name of the person in the image?
Writing a photo caption follows a simple formula. On the first line, name the city, state, and country where the image was created. Use the two-letter abbreviation for the state and country. Add when the picture was taken. Then who is pictured, and what is going on. Write in the present tense.
Text and photos Harris Gaffin
Huan Hin, Thailand – I am at the Chiva-Som health resort, being chauffeured in a golf cart on my way to three days of mind, body, and spirit training.
My schedule for relaxing is pretty much complete. After all, Chiva-Som, which in Thai means 'Haven of Life,' offers one of the most extensive selections of classes, therapies, and facilities of any spa in the world.
Located 210 kilometers south of Bangkok on the eastern seaboard, it is set on seven acres, a short distance from the King's summer palace, which explains why battleships are protecting a resort town.
Chiva-Som is pretty exclusive too. There are only 57 accommodation units, and for every guest, there are five employees ready to cater to your every whim. That can include anything from sweat-drenching workouts to stress reduction, beauty pampering, and a weight-losing diet program without losing flavor.
The place feels like a Thai version of an upscale college campus but without any stressful exams. Guests attend classes, meet counselors, get exercise, and generally experience all kinds of ways to live a healthier life –in a very short time.
Middle - item #2 - services
Visitors usually can stay as little as one day, but most stay longer. There are all kinds of package 'Experiences' available with names like Holistic Spa, Pilates Pampering, and Detoxifying Spa. Most guests don't want to leave, and some stay as long as two months. And why not, if you've got the budget. Chiva-Som has everything that a five-star hotel, a country club, and a first-class gym offer.
For example, the Spa includes 15 treatment rooms with 11 facial treatment options, 20 for the body, 12 for massage, four involving hydrotherapies, and 12 for hand, foot, and grooming. In addition, there are Life Enhancement, Medical Services, and Fitness Programs.
Unless you buy a package, all items are a la carte. However, a stay at Chiva-Som includes 13 exotic complementary therapies with enticing names like Zen Shiatsu, Iridology (the study of the eyes), and Indian Head Massage.
Middle - item #3 - personal experience
After my consultation, I'm anxious to start my healthy routine. At 6:00 am, I am up before the sun. And I join a couple from India, a gentleman from South Africa and a young woman from England, under an open-air pavilion where for the next hour, we will listen to a talk on how to achieve happiness by an engineer turned Buddhist monk turned lecturer named Anamai Apaiso.
"A happy life is a life without want," he says. He looks happy, but I wonder if I agree. After all, can't desire to be blissful as well?
As if he read my mind, Mr. Apaiso instructs us to raise our arms by our sides and hold them there for two minutes. This sounds easy enough, but in one minute, I am uncomfortable. Before two minutes are up, I am in agony. He tells us to lower our arms. The pain immediately goes away, and I am suddenly enjoying nothing. I am just standing there and very happy to have an absence of any desire – like putting my arms down!
When the meeting is over, everyone scatters to other programs. I have scheduled a stretching class. Our instructor is a young Thai man, but he is so healthy and muscular and upbeat that he looks like a personal trainer at any serious sports club. In his gentle way, we go through a routine of stretches that I'm sure is my first step to training for the Olympics – if I so desire. Fortunately, I'm happy right where I am despite the grunting and groaning of trying to be as limber as my muscular instructor.
After stretching came my yoga, and I have to say, our female instructor had mercy on us. She did not try to embarrass us by making us do positions that none of us could do.
One thing is evolving from the morning's various mental and physical exercises – one can do a lot to improve one's health with very little equipment or time.
Middle - item #4 - lunch
Now I'm ready for one of the delights of Chiva-Som – the food.
I like to eat, and the meals are a dream come true. I want to try new things, and here they serve an original menu three times a day and serve buffet style, which means you can eat as much as you want. Next to each dish is marked the serving size suggestion and its number of calories and fat content. I notice that the foods feel lighter and are less salty and less sugary than one usually finds in a restaurant.
Middle - item #5 - consultation
I have an Ayurveda consultation in the afternoon with the resident expert, Alison Potter. Ayurveda comes from India and is based on the principle that our system tends to follow a particular pattern. People fall into three categories labeled fire, water, and air. Ms. Potter studied my eyes and tongue and asked me about 50 questions. She then prepares recommendations based on her observations and my responses.
To my surprise, she does not give predictable answers. For example, I assumed she would say to eat more vegetables. Based on my constitution, she thinks I should eat fewer because I fit into the water category.
"You get enough vitamins, and more vegetables will only bloat you. Eat heavy, substantial foods," she advises.
Middle - item #6 - spa
One therapy that Chiva-Som is particularly noted for is their fruit wrap. Fresh fruits are ground up and turned into a puree which is then spread over the body. The body is then wrapped in foil to maintain heat. Once the fruit is scrubbed off, the vitamins soak into the skin and create a delightful and refreshing sensation.
The selection of treatment options and programs goes on and on. Some guests pack their day with one after another. Others visit simply as a vacation destination, even for the meals.
One of my favorites is Green Chicken Curry. It's a delicious chicken breast, green curry, eggplant, and Thai basil. It is substantial and spicy without burning (something my Ayurveda consultant advises me to avoid).
To prove that Chiva-Som is not intended as an all work and no play health resort, General Manager Paul Linder passes by and stops at my table.
"You have to try our chocolate mousse," he says. //end//
Write photo captions for all images.