I'm following the writing process I learned in a composition class last semester, which included free-writing and outlining, but now it doesn't seem to be working for a short research paper in history. What should I do?
The first thing is to meet with a tutor who makes sure you understand the requirements of the assignment. Next, she'll review the research writing process and explain how research and drafting a thesis are interrelated. She'll also make sure that you are maximizing your learning style as you write your paper. If you are a strong linear thinker, outlining can be a great help before drafting. If you are a non-linear thinker or more intuitive than linear, a scratch outline may work better for you. In the latter case, a formal post-draft outline can be an excellent tool for reviewing the organization of your paper.
What does my instructor mean when she talks about "conflict" in a short story?
There's almost always a conflict in short story because short stories mirror human life and experience. There are four basic kinds of conflict: the conflict that can occur within the self; the conflicts that arise between man and God or the gods; conflicts between one human and another; and finally the conflict between a person and society. Review your story and see which conflict is the best match to the overall narrative.
I'm struggling with punctuation and the explanations in grammar handbooks are too complicated for me. How can I learn this stuff?
Think about punctuation as road signs.