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:


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; please check it out! My blog is 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.


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:


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:

And my blog:


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.


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)  

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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Always enjoy reading your posts. Really good info in this one!

  2. This is a great critique!! I’d love to have my shop scrutinized….

    Thanks in advance!


  3. Thank you for a positive, constructive critique, much appreciated! marion

  4. Great edit and makes her profile much more exciting.

  5. i love the rewrite. it makes it so alive! not to mention the artwork is beautiful as well!


  6. I love the texture and depth of that piece! It is incredible! I always forget about fiber arts. Thanks for reminding me. The rewrite does it much more justice.

  7. Your critique makes a lot of sense, and your writing style is friendly and fun to read!

    I’d really love a critique. My shop is at


  8. Hello, I just happened on your blog through the thread in Etsy forums. Can I first just sympathise with you on your sad loss? You are obviously a brave soul and a strong person.

    I would love to have my writing critiqued. I’ve been told my item descriptions are too long and wordy.

    Would love to know what you think.

    My shop name is Lilycobweb.

    Best Regards,


  9. Ok, I’ve completely fallen in love with your writing style (is that weird?). Weird or not I would love to be critiqued!

    Sincerely your newest subscriber,

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