Tips for your holiday newsletter

If you've put off writing your family's holiday epistle and feel unsure of your prose, maybe Loriann Hoff Oberlin can help. Here are some pointers adapted from her book, "Writing for Quick Cash: Turn Your Way With Words Into Real Money":

• Limit the length to one page, front and back. Brevity increases readability and decreases postage costs.

• Use a good anecdote at the beginning, if you have one.

• Make it a page-turner. At the bottom of a page, hint at big news, then deliver it at the top of the next page.

• Deal with unhappy events as positively as possible. Focus on being hopeful or just plain honest.

• Devote some space to each family - and stepfamily - member.

• Avoid the repetitive use of "I," "me," and "my."

• Limit the number of fonts.

• Use 10-point or larger type.

• Allow a child's talents as a writer or artist to shine. This will make the newsletter a keepsake when children grow up.

• Be creative, and, where appropriate, use humor.

• Don't forget to send season's greetings to family and friends, which, of course, is the whole point.

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