Online Resources for Writing Help

Everyone can be a writer; even those who aren't professional writers create many kinds of documents throughout their lives. Learn how other writers, just like you, have dealt with the joy and frustration that writing brings. 

Handouts from the Moody Writing Center

The Writing Center at MBI offers handouts and short video guides for writing-related issues.

 

Getting Started

Understanding Writing Assignments

Research Questions

Writing in the U.S.

 

Argument and Organization

Thesis and Purpose Statements

Critical Reading-The Five Parts of an Argument

How to Create an Outline

Writing Strong Paragraphs

Coherence: Topic Sentences and Support

Cohesion: The Known-New Contract

Transitions

 

Style

Sentence Foundations

Independent and Dependent Clauses

Four Ways to Put Sentences Together

Improving Your Sentences' "Flow"

Vary Sentence Structure

Use Modifying Phrases

Dealing with Common Stylistic Issues

Writing Clear, Forceful Sentences

Words and Phrases to Avoid in Academic Writing

Crutch Words

Using Strong Verbs (How to avoid overusing to-be verbs)

 

Grammar and Punctation

Sentence Boundaries (Fragments, Run-ons, Comma Splices)

Colons, Dashes, and Semicolons

Seven Tips for Commas

Dangling Modifiers

 

Working with Sources

MLA In-Text Citations

Using Quotations

Using Citation Generators Responsibly

How to Format Footnotes with the Ruler Bar (video)

 

Research and Seminar Papers

Part 1: How do I want to grow?

Part 2: What do I need to do?

Part 3: How do I begin the research and writing process?

 

Genre-specific advice

Reviews (Informative, Reflective, and Critical)

Annotated Bibliographies

Theological Writing

Principles of Hermeneutics

Choosing a Passage or Topic

Outlining an Exegetical Paper

Logos Resources for Exegetical Writing

Logos Search Features for Exegetical Writing

Working with Verbs

Sermons

Sermon Principles

Narrative Sermons

Literary Analysis

Overview of how to analyze a passage

Close Reading (Analyzing passages)

Analyzing language

 Narratives

Narrative Elements

 

Premier Writing Advice Websites

If you have a question about writing, chances are, these online writing handbooks have the answer. Each site contains an online handbook for writers or a list of handouts. Just browse these to find the answer to a writing question, or learn something new.  

"Hands-on" Writing Guides

Improve your writing on your own with these sites. Each helps you with major aspects of academic writing by giving you 1) concrete advice and examples, plus 2) "hands-on" exercises that let you try out their advice with immediate feedback. Keep in mind that most of the features of these sites are free, but they do require you to sign up for (free) account.  We think the two minutes you will spend signing up are more than worth it.  

Writing Advice Blogs

Beyond the Writing Place
Northwestern's Writing Center blog offers practical advice for every aspect of your writing process.

Another Word
Created by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Writing Center, this blog provides excellent tips for advanced writers.   

UCWbLing
This blog comes from DePaul university. It offers both practical advice for student writers and some reflections on writing's role in the larger world. 

Walden University Writing Center Blog
Walden offers one of the premier online writing centers in the world. Their blog is written by their tutors and staff, who offer easy-to-digest writing tips. Their advice may be especially helpful to those who see themselves as more business or technically-oriented.  

Citation Help

Managing Sources

Is a project requiring you to use far more sources than you have ever used before? Are you trying to keep track of many different sources for many different courses?  If you need help staying organized, consider using these free reference management tools. You will need to sign up for an account and download some basic software. Once you do, use their tutorials to get started. It doesn't take long to discover how to use them, and the small time investment is well worth it if it helps you stay organized later.  

Advantages:

  • keep track of many different kinds of sources
  • attach your notes about the source directly to its bibliographic information
  • use their tools to find bibliographic information for a source directly from the web
  • use other built-in tools to create in-text citations and bibliographies in your paper (usually requires MS Word)
  • keep track of all your sources, from all your classes, during your Moody career and beyond
  • access your notes/bibliographic information for each source from every device you own: laptop, desktop, tablet, and smartphone 

Mendeley
Mendeley is the free alternative to EndNote, the expensive (though handy) reference manager by Microsoft. Just download their software to get started. Since it's software-based, you don't need internet access to use it, though access is required to use some features.  

Zotero
One of the first and best free reference management services, Zotero was created by researchers, for researchers.  

Help with Grammar

Books on Writing

Note: these books may be found in the Chicago, Spokane or Michigan libraries. Check your library's catalog to find these resources; while most may be found at Crowell library in Chicago, some may also appear in Spokane or Michigan. If your library doesn't offer a resource you would like to use, ask them for an interlibrary loan.  

How to Think and Act Like a Writer 

(These books explain how writers think. They will help you get started on a project, develop good writing habits, learn how to involve other people in your writing process, and finish strong.) 

  • Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life by Anne Lamott
  • Revising Prose by Richard Lanham
  • Writing to Learn by William Zinsser 
  • Writing with Power: techniques for mastering the writing process by Peter Elbow

The Foundations of Academic/Scholarly Writing

  • Academic Writing: a handbook for international students by Stephen Bailey
  • The Craft of Revision by Donald M. Murray
  • "They Say/I Say": The moves that matter in academic writing by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russell Durst

Writing Creative Non-fiction and Journalism

  • On Writing Well: the classic guide to writing non-fiction by William Zinsser
  • Writing to Deadline: the journalist at work by Donald M. Murray

Style and Grammar Guides

  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
  • How to Read a Sentence and How to Write One by Stanley Fish
  • Style: the basics of clarity and grace by Joseph Williams
  • A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker

Research Guides

  • The Christian Scholar: an introduction to theological research by Gregory G. Bolich
  • The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb, and Williams
  • A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian
  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers by Joseph Gibaldi
  • The Oxford Guide to Library Research by Thomas Mann.
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Student Guide to Research in the Digital Age: how to locate and evaluate information sourcesby Leslie F. Stebbins

Writing Center