Saturday Writing Critique #5

Sharpen your quills, it’s Saturday Writing Critique time again!

This week we’re stopping to smell an Irish Rose…or, at least, to look at the writing of an Irish rose-crocheter! Rena, of LilyCobWeb, takes a sculptural approach to crocheting. Some of us might think “grandma” when we think crochet, but I find her flower chokers cute and, dare I say, indie-hip?

But to actually sell them, Rena is going to need to distinguish herself. Awesome pictures are essential, but good product descriptions can also be key to keeping customers engaged and browsing. Unfortunately, I have to admit that Rena’s description, though information packed, had my eyes glazing after the first line or two. Let’s have a look:

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This is a crocheted choker with a pretty flower as its focal point. It combines leather, yarn, thread, and swarovski crystals in a romantic creation to adorn your neck. It is made all in one piece, starting with the flower and has no seams. It has a tiny front-closing magnetic clasp, cleverly hidden behind the flower. It is really easy to put on and easy to wear. The topmost two beads are sewn onto the neckpiece and fasten on to the flower like buttons. You can use them to adjust the position of the flower, even though it is quite secure without them. This choker is made in brown leather thonging, sunny yellow cotton yarn and creamy yellow thread. Each petal has a tiny bronze swarovski bicone bead sewn to it. It will fit an average size neck. I can also make one for you in a colourway of your choice.

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Now, I’ve noticed that some visual artists seem to forget about the visual impact of their writing. Think about it: If I showed you a short, concise line and a long, dense paragraph, what would you read first? Many eyes will simply skip over a big block of writing.

You don’t need to be Hemingway here – just use line breaks! It’s a fast, cheap trick and lets buyers eyes scan for exactly that piece of info they need.

Here’s another trick to stay concise: Scan your writing for independent clauses that can be condensed into a strategically placed single-word description. So, “It is made all in one piece, starting with the flower and has no seams” becomes, “It is made in one seamless piece, beginning with the flower.”

This idea is especially vital for me, as a reporter, when I need to write information-packed news articles! And, as always, identify non-essential words and delete, delete, delete.

Rena might also want to consider ways to hone her lede.

Here’s my rewrite:

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Stand out from the crowd with a romantic crocheted flower choker.

Combining leather, yarn, thread, and swarovski crystals, this seamless creation was made all in one piece, beginning with the flower.

With a hidden front-closing magnetic clasp, it is easy to put on and wear. The topmost beads fasten like buttons and can be used to adjust the position of the flower. Each petal has a tiny bronze swarovski bicone bead sewn to it.

It will fit an average size neck, and the colors can be customized!

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Hope this helps! Many happy sales to Rena!

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Interested in a critique focusing on language and writing? You’ve come to the right place! You must leave a comment on THIS blog post to be considered for next week! (Even if you have volunteered on a previous week!)

Don’t want to wait around to be picked? Click here for info on trading!

~~~

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Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 8:02 am  Comments (20)  

What a day…

Thanks to all the awesome artists who showed a big interest in my blog this week! I can’t wait to start looking through your work and picking features! I’ve already got a couple lined up for next week. Thanks to you folks, I hit #10 on the WordPress Top 100 fastest growing blogs last night! Wow!! Thanks!

The same night, my Diamonds and Rust treasury made a splash on the Etsy front page!

Watch out, folks, I’m hot to trot!

P.S. Another Saturday Writing Critique coming tomorrow…you’ve got just a few more hours to throw your hat in the ring…

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 10:34 pm  Comments (2)  

Geek Glam

Admit it: You’d love to be called beautiful and deadly, like some sexy secret spy.

Well, how about about starting with these radioactively cool sterling silver earrings, by FreeForged? They’re soldered into the abstract form of a nuclear molecule. Science and fashion – a match made in heaven!

Published in: on May 30, 2008 at 5:22 am  Comments (5)  

Two of a Pear

A sweet ceramic treat from Alina Hayes. I love how this couple seems so close, almost snuggled together. Who can turn down produce with such personality?

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 10:16 am  Comments (5)  

Diamonds and Rust

Yes, I’m returning to that wild Etsy scene with a brand new treasury. This one may be my nicest yet, in my opinion. Still reaching for that front page holy grail! These treasuries only last a day or two, folks, so check ’em out while they’re still around.

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 8:46 am  Comments (3)  

You will be missed

For Stephanie Whelan (1980-2008):   You were an awesome reporter and a great mom. You’ll be in our hearts and minds every day.

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Thanks to everyone for your support and understanding. It’s been a tough week, but I’m on my way back. Regular posts should begin again tomorrow!

– Amy

Published in: on May 28, 2008 at 12:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Back Soon

In The Night Kitchen will be taking a hiatus for a couple of days, due to an unexpected and tragic death. Thank you all for your understanding.

Published in: on May 18, 2008 at 9:28 pm  Comments (3)  

Saturday Writing Critique #4

Get those delete keys primed, it’s Saturday Writing Critique time again!

Today we’re going to mix it up with Marion, of Artmixer, who creates an eclectic and mesmerizing mix of fiber art and mixed media designs.

Marion’s going to give us another chance to talk about the “lede.” The term refers to the very first sentence of a story, which is, in my opinion, the most important thing you’ll ever have to write. (Yes, it’s pronounced “lead,” and no, I’m not spelling it wrong. Old timey journalists changed the spelling so we wouldn’t get it mixed up with the lead typesetting used in the printing presses! Clever bastards.)

As a newspaper reporter, I know that most readers are probably not going to read beyond the first sentence unless I grab their attention. So I’ve got bad news for 99 percent of Etsy sellers: By the time you’re done saying “Hello! Welcome to my brand new shop!” you’ve already lost them.

If you want to learn how to write a lede, pick up the nearest newspaper and look at the first sentences. What did they write? Did it grab your attention? I can almost guarantee you will see one of two styles – a straight-ahead information packed lede, or a playful lede that picks out something interesting and tries to intrigue you. Either one is respectable, and can certainly be adopted for the Etsy sales context

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at Marion’s shop announcement:

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Welcome to my shop, where you’ll find all sorts of things, from fiber art to oil paintings, from hand made books and journals to mixed media. And even the odd piece of handdyed cloth, so you can make your own magical art works! Paintings are gradually moving to my other shop http://purelypainting.etsy.com; please check it out! My blog is http://artmixter.blogspot.com for more info about me and the work. I’m convo and trade friendly…talk to me, you know you want to! And check out the reduced price section…original artwork at less than my usual prices (I need the space!). I will be away until Tuesday 6 May, so nothing will be dealt with until then; sorry for any inconvenience.

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Now, when I look at some of Marion’s pieces, especially her art quilts, I think, “Wow, wouldn’t that look great hanging in my living room?” That is exactly what you want a buyer to think, and your lede can help you implant that idea in their head. The sentence will be nice and simple in structure, but will hopeful remind the buyer that, “Oh yeah, the guest bedroom really needs some brightening up…”

I’m also going to do some general clean-up with her other sentences. They need to be shorter, they need some spaces to breath, and it’s after May 6, so let’s dump the unnecessary apology.

My rewrite:

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Add a shot of color and energy to your home with my beautiful, one-of-a-kind fiber artworks and quilts.

Discover a little treasure, like my hand-made journals and mini artworks (ACEOs), or even create your own magic with my hand-dyed cloth cards, made to order! Also, don’t forget to grab a steal from my reduced price section!

Check out my other shop: http://purelypainting.etsy.com

And my blog: http://artmixter.blogspot.com

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I think that ideally, your shop announcement should be brief, informative and draw your buyers in. Some people prefer to have next to nothing there. Either way, it’s the very first thing they see, so please, please don’t bore them. At best, they will enter your store knowing a little bit about what you do and wanting to see more. After that, it’s time for your pictures do their magic. Good luck.

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Interested in a critique focusing on language and writing? You’ve come to the right place! Leave a comment on this blog post to be considered for next week!

Don’t want to wait around to be picked? Click here for info on trading!

~~~

Published in: on May 17, 2008 at 10:14 am  Comments (9)  

Math Me Up

Get back to your mathematical roots with a very modern style!

I loved this abacus pendant, from Danielle Miller Jewelry, from the second I saw it. I love math (yes, unusual for a writer, I know) and old-school math is ever cooler!

Now, if this pendant could just help me juggle the numbers in my bank account a bit, it would so be mine!

Published in: on May 15, 2008 at 11:15 am  Comments (1)  

Brown Sugar

Why do it? I mean, why combine the pure awesomeness of coffee, vanilla and brown sugar and then tell people they can’t eat it?

Yes, this tempting body scrub, created by A Breath of French Air, uses all those ingredients and makes me incredibly hungry. I hope she throws in a couple of candy bars when she mails this to customers…it could cause a riot!

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm  Leave a Comment