Is it OK to use narrative from a recent assignment as "sample writing" for new MSC registrations?

There are a few MSC's that I've been meaning to register with, but they make clear in their app that they want a really detailed and well written sample narrative. The samples I created before I began shopping are well written, but bland. Being able to use an actual narrative now that I have 50 shops under my belt would really show off my abilities.

As long as I tweak it so I don't disclose client, MSC, etc. does anyone see a problem with using one of my narratives from a recent shop? You know... change the names to protect the innocent....

My initial thought is that it should be fine, but being so new to MSing there may be something I'm missing here that someone with more experience can point out...

Thoughts?

I used to see a life coach pretty regularly.... back when they were called bartenders.

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I would use it as a guideline but I would make sure it did not sound at all like the actual business.
I'd use it as a basis for creating a narrative that you tailor to the specific MSC, if possible. If the MSC does fine dining and hotel shops, for example, change up your narrative, if you can, to reflect a similar scenario. I've been asked to recount a recent dining or entertainment experience, and I've pulled a shop narrative and used it as the basis for a narrative on an actual experience I've had that.

I would change enough details in an existing narrative so that it doesn't sound as if you've done a "copy and paste." I wouldn't use one verbatim and just change the names.

I learn something new every day, but not everyday!
I've learned to never trust spell-check or my phone's auto-fill feature.
@KimRod wrote:

There are a few MSC's that I've been meaning to register with, but they make clear in their app that they want a really detailed and well written sample narrative. The samples I created before I began shopping are well written, but bland. Being able to use an actual narrative now that I have 50 shops under my belt would really show off my abilities.

As long as I tweak it so I don't disclose client, MSC, etc. does anyone see a problem with using one of my narratives from a recent shop? You know... change the names to protect the innocent....

My initial thought is that it should be fine, but being so new to MSing there may be something I'm missing here that someone with more experience can point out...

Thoughts?

No.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
I was signing up with a new company last week, and a note on the website really got my attention. It said any writing samples that had been "cut and paste" would result in that application being denied. I had never seen that before. Writing is so easy for me, I just normally tootle along with something consistent with the company I'm applying to, proof it, and hit submit.

A word to the wise -- just don't cut & paste!
@prince & @BirdyC, thanks for the advice. These MSC's do a variety of shops, so I can easily find a similar narrative to adapt. I'm not a very good creative writer (hence the "bland" initial samples), but I'm really good at being a "parrot" - I can mimic writing styles and repeat back events clearly and logically. Which is why I felt using a "real" narrative would better showcase my skills.

I'll have to pick a narrative and play with it.....

I used to see a life coach pretty regularly.... back when they were called bartenders.
@ceasesmith wrote:

I was signing up with a new company last week, and a note on the website really got my attention. It said any writing samples that had been "cut and paste" would result in that application being denied. I had never seen that before. Writing is so easy for me, I just normally tootle along with something consistent with the company I'm applying to, proof it, and hit submit.

A word to the wise -- just don't cut & paste!

I wonder why this is. You wrote the piece and put time and effort into it. It's not like you're using someone else's work. I would think they'd like to see a sample of what you've actually done versus something made up.

Regardless, I'm grateful you posted that. I'll be sure to individualize any submissions going forward.

I used to see a life coach pretty regularly.... back when they were called bartenders.
I have a standard, generic, 500 word narrative that I use for every new MSC I apply for. The names are all Anne, Bob, Chris, Doug, etc. It has never been rejected.

How would a recipient know if you cut and paste?

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
The question is not 'getting caught' so much as whether it is an appropriate use of materials. Because companies do like to know how you write under time constraints (such as you would face when doing a shop), it is an appropriate use of narrative as long as identifiers for the client are removed. The reason the question would arise is because shop materials, guidelines, questionnaires, clientele and our reports are property of the company for whom we performed the work, so a question of the legality and ethics of reuse of any of that is appropriate.
@Flash, thank you! That is what I was looking for... I never really considered that my work was the intellectual property of the original MSC for whom I completed the narrative.

I think this weekend I'll take some time and cobble together a sample from several narratives and come up with something that is like those unsolved crime TV shows: "A dramatization based on real life events."

I used to see a life coach pretty regularly.... back when they were called bartenders.
@ceasesmith wrote:

I was signing up with a new company last week, and a note on the website really got my attention. It said any writing samples that had been "cut and paste" would result in that application being denied. I had never seen that before. Writing is so easy for me, I just normally tootle along with something consistent with the company I'm applying to, proof it, and hit submit.

A word to the wise -- just don't cut & paste!

What a load of crap.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
Of course it is intellectual property. About the only place where 'what you create at work' is not intellectual property is in a University setting where you do get to put your name on papers published and although you may be being paid to do the research, it is considered to be 'your work'.

I generally find that my work narratives are aimed at answering specific questions for the client, so even when I am invited to submit a recent shop narrative, it still will get a substantial rewrite. Same recommendations as always apply: keep it all in past tense; keep sentence structure compact; avoid 'very', 'somewhat' and other enhancing but opinion words; use adjectives and adverbs to describe; once you have written it, read it aloud--if it is awkward for you, it will be for your reader as well; don't use contractions spell it out as do not use contractions.
Interesting. All my writing samples are derived from actual shops but are rewritten and generalized to fit the MSC.

Mary Davis Nowell. Based close to Fort Worth. Shopping Interstate 20 east and west, Interstate 35 north and south.
@Flash What I meant was that I had an "D'oh!" moment with the intellectual property thing. I agree completely that my work belongs to the MSC, I just didn't think of it when considering using an old narrative - and it should have been obvious to me.

Which is why I find this forum invaluable - I benefit from the willingness of others to point out things I may have missed. :-)

I used to see a life coach pretty regularly.... back when they were called bartenders.
I always invent something.

(Would anyone shop in my imaginary stores? Would I eat any of the invented dishes that I have created for restaurant writing samples? Maybe I should make some of those dishes. Ha Ha.)

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside. - Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib
_____
I’ve noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. - Ronald Reagan
_____
I too have a lot of fun creating 'writing sample' dishes. It seems appropriate since so many restaurants these days fix a 'classic' dish 'with our own twist'. One that I 'created' could actually be pretty good. Your 'classic' Philly cheesesteak with a soft yolk fried egg under the melted cheese.
Flash, please don't play with cheesesteaks.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
@Tarantado wrote:

@ceasesmith wrote:

I was signing up with a new company last week, and a note on the website really got my attention. It said any writing samples that had been "cut and paste" would result in that application being denied. I had never seen that before. Writing is so easy for me, I just normally tootle along with something consistent with the company I'm applying to, proof it, and hit submit.

A word to the wise -- just don't cut & paste!

What a load of crap.

Is that directed at me? Calling me a liar?
As long as you're not ripping off intellectual property or using a generic narrative when they're looking for you to do something new in a given time frame, use whatever you like, imo. I'm not looking to give someone a masterpiece in an application. I'm looking to show them my writing ability and get through the application as quickly as possible. I typically write about a recent, non-MS experience, but I don't think everyone needs or wants to do that.

I don't think there are any Russians / And there ain't no Yanks
Just corporate criminals\ / Playin' with tanks
@ceasesmith wrote:

Is that directed at me? Calling me a liar?
In response to the MSC you highlighted.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 31 year old male and willing to travel!
@Tarantado wrote:

@ceasesmith wrote:

Is that directed at me? Calling me a liar?
In response to the MSC you highlighted.

Thanks for clarifying.

I was shocked to see that on the website. That's why it truly stuck in my mind.

Possibly they would regard it as stealing from another MSC, as the discussion above about property and intellectual rights. I do agree if I do a report for Company A, it belongs to Company A, and I shouldn't copy any part of it for use in applying to Company B.
Some of the more demanding companies will give you exact instructions on your writing example. To meet them, you must write it from scratch. I noticed that they also had a "Java Bug" that was timing how long you spent on the page and attempted to remove the cut and paste from the input box and disabled spell check as well.

I won't mention the company, but if you filled out the application for this one, you'll know what I'm talking about. They want to see how long it takes you to follow directions and write a narrative without any spell checking or cut and pasting. With a minor edit to the code on the page in real time in Firefox, I allowed cut and paste, reset the Java timer and could have edited the browser spell check to work, but did not bother as I wrote it in MS Word 2010 and pasted it back.

I was accepted for that company and have been shopping for them. I'm sure I would have passed without changing the web page, but that would not have been as much fun.
I was thinking about the peeps reading the narratives (if they are in fact read) and how boring it must be. I made up a narrative that is an imaginary visit to The Chocolate Factory...complete with Willy Wonka, Chocolate Mountain and the Oompa Loompas. I haven't had any comments and have been accepted by every MSC.....has anyone ever been rejected? I don't think they read them!!!

Shopping Central Jersey Shoreline. WHAT? I'm an adult?! When did this happen?! How do I make it stop?!
scanman, the original company I wrote my generic narrative for told me that while they accepted my 500 word narrative, they were expecting 9 PAGES.

I haven't worked with them.

"There's so much trouble in this world; surrounded by miracles" - Citizen Cope
I like the "thinking on your feet" kind of writings and tests. They time how long it takes you to take a quiz and they tell you they are timing you. The same with narratives. Just give me a few minutes and my imagination goes to work! smiling smiley
I've applied to some MSCs that said you can use a recent shop report just remove identifying client info.
Wow, sounds interesting would love to read that!

@BeachBumess wrote:

I was thinking about the peeps reading the narratives (if they are in fact read) and how boring it must be. I made up a narrative that is an imaginary visit to The Chocolate Factory...complete with Willy Wonka, Chocolate Mountain and the Oompa Loompas. I haven't had any comments and have been accepted by every MSC.....has anyone ever been rejected? I don't think they read them!!!
@aayaey wrote:

I've applied to some MSCs that said you can use a recent shop report just remove identifying client info.

The MSC your applying for may like that. If you read the ICA for the company who your copying ther narrative from, you will find that your breaking the ICA even if you change the name of the company. They own 100% of the report. You can also end up giving up "trade secrets" by sharing the narrative and/or questions from one MSC to another.

Writing a piece of fiction can be more entertaining and may help you score better as well.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2015 01:16PM by scanman1.
That's interesting about no cut and paste. Had I not read that, I might create a narrative in Word, in order to use spell check and possibly to avoid timing out on the website, and then had a problem with the application even though I wrote an original sample, but did so in Word. Good to know.
Since I would write my narrative in Word and copy and paste after I had reread it, edited and tweaked it, I would be annoyed enough by the form refusing to take copy and paste that I very likely would print my Word narrative and just type it in verbatim. I certainly am not comfortable giving the work product of one MSP to another MSP even with changes of names and such, but even completely original narratives by now would be a product heavily influenced by shops performed and written up over time.
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