Saturday Etsy Writing Critique #14

I just nabbed some fun new music, so get ready to rock out to this week’s Saturday Writing Critique! (I know I will be!)

Our brave volunteer this week is Rita (and her kitty Jelly Bean) of Casbah Kitten. With adorable cat photos and plenty of catnip-stuffed goodies, Rita has created a fun, attractive shop.

Like many Etsy sellers, Rita uses the description section to tell a little story about her pieces and the kitties behind them. But while I enjoyed the humor in her writing, some parts left me a little confused. In my opinion, Rita needs to find a way to add some focus but preserve the fun.

Let’s see what can be done for a description of her colorful catnip-stuffed jelly beans:

~~~

What happens when your cats start demanding a new play tower? I told mine to get a job and earn some money….. so they brainstormed and decided to produce and market cat toys named after themselves. And one cat is named Pickles, how fun is that? So Jelly Bean (aka the Casbah Kitten) took control of the situation and put Pickles in charge of catnip production. These fun jelly bean toys are hand sewn of velvet in various “flavours” and are lightly stuffed with polyfil and a generous pinch of all natural catnip from our garden. They are small and light for easy carrying and batting around. They come 7 to a bag (our choice of assorted fun colors). Jelly Bean is also acting as spokesmodel for the product, which has been thoroughly tested! The first photo shows 7 random colors that are used…there are others and yours may vary slightly.

~~~

I’ve noticed that many people who have creative, rich imaginations sometimes have trouble clearly communicating their stories through writing. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when we are trying to edit the elaborate plot-lines in our heads.

Definitely Rita should keep the world of her kitties and their personalities intact – it’s something that runs throughout her shop and blog, and it’s a lot of fun for buyers to “get to know” them (and her!).

But after Rita writes out her story, it might be a good idea to break out that delete button and pare it down to just the essential elements. She needs to keep each item description simple enough that a buyer who stumbles into a single listing isn’t confused.

In this case, I would just take out Pickles altogether (Sorry Pickles!). The plot is immediately simplified, and focuses on Jelly Bean’s entrepreneurship – which I think is the really cute part! And Pickles still gets his moment in the spotlight when he gets jealous of Jelly Bean’s success and creates a catnip pickle.

I’m also going to add some line-breaks to improve readability, and simplify the colors explanation (I think “our choice of assorted colors” is quite clear).

Here’s my rewrite:

~~~

What happens when your cats start demanding a new play tower?

I told mine to get a job and earn some money! So after some brainstorming, Jelly Bean came up with idea to produce catnip toys named after herself. She can personally assure hours of kitty entertainment, after performing rigorous product testing!

These fun jelly bean toys are hand sewn of velvet in various “flavours” and are lightly stuffed with polyfil and a generous pinch of all-natural catnip from our garden. They are small and light for easy carrying and batting around. They come 7 to a bag (our choice of assorted fun colors).

~~~

As a side note – I also have a kitty named Jelly! I usually call her Jelly-belly, though. Maybe they’re related.

Rita, 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!

~~~

An adorable shot of Jelly Bean helping with the Casbah Kitten website!

Bonus: An adorable shot of Jelly Bean helping with the Casbah Kitten website!

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Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 10:52 pm  Comments (15)  

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi. I’d love to be considered for a critique! Thanks,

    LeAnn

  2. What a cool idea to to give seller’s help with their item descriptions! I just saw your post in the Etsy forums and would love it if you could take a peek at my shop to see if the descriptions are too distracting.

    I make stuffed animals and try to give them their own personalities to help them sell. I’ve had a bunch of people who were ambivalent about the toy until they read the description and then the HAD to have it. I don’t always write a story for each of them, but I try to since I really think it helps. Anyways, if you could check it out and give me your objective opinion, I’d be oh, so, grateful. I’m at http://www.flaky-friends.com

    Thanks!

  3. Found out abut your critique in the etsy forum. I could use some advise.

    sweetteadesigns.etsy.com

    Thanks for looking!

  4. Hi! Just read about your critiques on an Etsy forum. I just set up shop on Etsy and would appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks!!

  5. I’ve been reading your critiques for 2 weeks and have really learned some great stuff. I would love some help with our store, L & R Designs.

    Thanks,
    Elizabeth

  6. Well done!! I now have a clearer picture of Jelly. She is stomping away from Rita in a little huff and “fixing her wagon” by creating something for her own, and others, amusement. How divine!!

    Smiling all the way…….

    http://www.BrushItOn.etsy.com

  7. I know I need help with my writing of my pieces. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Michelle

  8. I love your critiques! I could use some help with my Custom Cape listing.

    http://www.panjo.etsy.com

  9. Another great critique! Thanks for sharing your expertise with the etsy community!

    ~Toni

  10. I will volunteer to be a ginny pig! Can always use help, I never know what to say about my designs.

    Thank you,

    The ChainMaille Lady

  11. What a great idea! I agree with you that many artists may find it difficult to put their creativity into words to entice others to look at or even buy their work. For me, it generally comes from an inherent shyness and a lack of self-confidence in my work. Its something that I believe many artists have to push through to be successful. I am working on it. Perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to take a step forward in that direction with your help! *rolling dice* to see if I get picked. If not, I will certainly learn a lot from reading your blog! Thanks for the learning experience!

  12. Another useful critique:)
    I definitely have too many ideas shouting for paper space. I will take your advice and make more liberal use of the delete button.

    Love the bonus photo!!

    Thanks again,
    Mary

  13. Please consider me… I am always not good in words. Please help.

    yeah.. I love the bonus photo too 🙂

    thank you.

    ~ching

  14. Oh that last photo is too cute!!

  15. Another great re-write — keep the cute, cut the clutter 🙂


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