Saturday Writing Critique #9

Dangling participles? Purple prose? Never fear, the Saturday Writing Critique is here!

(Ahem. Yes, I know my intros are getting steadily sillier. Forgive me – I spent most the day driving through three states!)

But it is indeed that time of week again, and tonight our volunteer is Jane, of Ergane. Jane is the creator of some unusual and enchanting collage-style jewelry, as well as the author of some of the most eccentric and personality-packed descriptions I have seen on Etsy.

In fact, I had quite a debate with myself over whether to pick Jane for tonight. I have a number of suggestions I might make to her about her writing (and she did, after all, volunteer). But I think I run the risk of “over-correcting.” After all, the descriptions are one of the few places in an online marketplace where buyers can really get a “feel” for the artist behind the product, and that’s a valuable thing. So please, as always, take my suggestions with a grain of salt. I’ll try as best I can to leave Jane’s personal voice intact!

And boy, is it a chatty voice! Check out her description for a pair of cute orange stamp earrings:


and for orange power baby-yeah! A new version of my stamp earrings, sans dangle, but cool and elegant on long copper kidney wires. German stamp, Austrian crystal, great combination!

These earrings are around 2″ or more long, and are made with
hand canceled stamps-you’ll never see anyone on the streets with a pair like yours, as they all come from the attention-deficit
mind of me. Just making two that match is all that I can accomplish, and SO,
you are guaranteed a one of a kind pair! They don’t even match each other, sometimes! (what with the postmarks and all) Most are covered on the back
with vintage dictionary pages-a by-product of my cannister making-I try very
hard to use all the paper left-overs!


If these items don’t quite suite yer fancy, try

Kinetic Watch Earrings are made by hand, by me.

I begin with a variety of vintage watch crystals and a pile of lovely postage stamps. First I stick the stamps (or other interesting, papery things) to the backs of the watch crystals, and next I cement on a brass paillette. Then I cover the whole thing with vintage dictionary pages and images. Each square or circle is handled at least seven times in the process-I want them to be as close to my idea of perfect as they can be!
Each pair of stamps is then made into a unique pair of earrings-I have a large bead collection and I chose something different for each pair. Yours may include semiprecious stones, pearls, Czech glass, vintage Czech glass, vintage Lucite, brass charms/findings, watch innards and enameled metal flowers.
All ear wires and dangles are made from gold-plated brass earring hoops, and any slight discoloring of the stamps is due to either age and/or the reaction of the ink to the adhesives I use, and should not be considered imperfections, but rather, human made. While they are water-resistant they shouldn’t be submerged or showered in. They are made of glass so they can be broken-especially if you happen to be an enthusiastic telephone-answerer like me!


Now, this is one of Jane’s shorter descriptions, which is why I choose to tackle it. She’s got a lot of fun and clever things to say throughout the description, but in my opinion we don’t really need the stream-of-conscious kitchen sink. Let’s pick one or two things that capture her personality, and go for brevity in the other parts.

Visually, I’m going to try to add some space between paragraphs and clean up her unusually placed line-breaks. Hopefully that will make it easier for readers to browse.

I’m going to omit the bit about using paper left-over from the canisters (Jane makes necklaces from small canisters decorated in dictionary paper). If I was visiting the earrings without seeing the rest of Jane’s shop, the reference would throw me for a loop. Also, I wouldn’t say that “most” of the earrings have dictionary paper on the back. As a buyer, I’d like to know what’s on this particular set.

Finally, I’m going to try to shorten the description of her process. I think it could be clearer and more concise (oh, and I didn’t know what a “paillette” was, so I’m going to add a word about that!).

Whew! Okay, here goes:


And for orange power, baby – yeah!

Cool and elegant stamp earrings on long copper kidney wires. German stamp, Austrian crystal – great combination!

Around 2″ long, they are made with hand-canceled stamps. You’ll never see anyone on the streets with a pair like yours, as they all come from straight from my own attention-deficit mind! It’s covered on the back
with recycled vintage dictionary pages!


If these items don’t quite suit yer fancy, try

How I make my Kinetic Watch Earrings:

I begin with a variety of vintage watch crystals and a pile of lovely postage stamps. I stick the stamps to the backs of the watch crystals, and next I cement on a piece of brass backing, called a paillette. I then cover the whole thing with vintage dictionary pages and images.

Each pair of stamps is attached to a gold-plated brass earring hook and adorned with a unique bead from my collection. Yours may include semiprecious stones, pearls, Czech glass, vintage Czech glass, vintage Lucite, brass charms/findings, watch innards or enameled metal flowers.

Any slight discoloring of the stamps is due to age or a reaction between the ink and adhesives – a sign of the human touch! Parts are glass, so be careful if you are an over-enthusiastic telephone-answerer, like me!


Notice that in the interest of brevity I took out the part about not submerging the earrings. I think that’s pretty common-sense, but if Jane is worried about it, maybe it could be in the email that gets sent to buyers after a purchase?

Thanks Jane, I hope this helps! Many happy sales to you!


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!)

Also check out the Writing Critique archives!


Published in: on June 28, 2008 at 10:22 pm  Comments (15)  

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Amy, every week I had been reading your critiques on all the volunteers items’ description, and learning every different aspect in writing. You are really good in writing.

    Please do me a critique on my description, I am always very poor in writing. feel a bit clumpsy. here goes my store addy:

    thank you.

  2. hello!
    great blog and v informative. stumbled across your thread on the forums and was v curious. I do find it hard to write about each piece of work when putting them in my etsy store. trying to come up with ‘new’ or ‘interesting’ lines. also I was interested in your post as I’m just doing my own website and would love to develop my writing for this venture!!
    many thanks for your helpful info, I’ll be checking back to read up properly on all the older posts too.
    best wishes! 😉

  3. This is good information. I have an Etsy shop and my descriptions are in need or a critique. My descriptions are bland and sterile. I’d like to add more personality, but I don’t want to go overboard. Funny, I write web site copy for a living, but I have a hard time writing for my own items. Thanks for the info!

  4. great suggestions. you definitely improved the description and made it more interesting.

    i would love to have you give mine the once over. sometimes i think they can be a bit boring!


  5. Great crit! Once again you take enthusiasm and turn it into the English language. I like my style but I know my descriptions could be improved, so I’m nominating myself!

  6. Hi There!
    Loved the critic-all corrections noted! That paragraph at the end is a bit dense-its relatively new and a copy of a blurb I put in my booth at shows, as I am frequently explaining to folks what the earrings ARE. I was being a bit cheap and trying to get two paragraphs on one sheet of paper!

    Thanks for the help-I appreciate it and think you are an excellent critic!


  7. Oh wow, this is a really interesting post. I like to keep my descriptions brief without losing all personality so this has been particularly helpful to read.

  8. Critiques are always great! I’ll volunteer!

  9. Another good installment! I really enjoy reading these!
    If you’re looking for boring copy to add some life to, welcome to my shop 🙂

  10. Wow! You are an excellent writer– I thought her description was great, but somehow you made it better. I liked the short, basic info at the top of the description and then a heading with more info to follow. It seems much easier to skim.

    I’d be thrilled to get a critique!

  11. What a great thing you are doing. Oh…descriptions, after thinking up a name for my jewelry piece this is the hardest part of listing an item! I think mine can get a little too long! I’m up for a critique if you have time!

  12. I’d love to have my writing critiqued. Writing is my least favorite part of the listing process. How to say enough and say it well; it’s hard.

    Great blog post.

  13. Hi! I’m here too!
    Yes I would like a critique. You can’t imagine how much.
    I’m from Greece and I learned my english 25 yeras ago.
    So now I’m trying hard to be correct with them and always I’m worry about them. I make my list using dictionary all the time by that maybe not enough. I don’t know what impression gives my shop from my writing.

    Thank you in advance 🙂

  14. sorry, years!!!! not yeras

  15. That was a really long description! I always wonder about cutting those down, Thanks for the great tips!

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