Constructive Criticism Thread

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Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Ed on Wed Jul 09, 2008 3:17 pm

This thread was created as a place where you can post problematic sentences or brief excerpts from your articles in order to receive constructive criticism from fellow writers. If you're struggling with an awkward phrase, having problems with sentence structure, or need some grammar tips, post it here. Remember, though, that you shouldn't post entire articles, as they will no longer be original content once they have been published since the forums are indexed by search engines.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Wed Jul 09, 2008 9:04 pm

Thanks for the thread Ed!

Here, I'll go first:

Turns out this particular computer is seven months old and has crashed to the point requiring a complete reinstallation of Windows Vista five times!

This sentence is bugging me as being too cumbersome. Any suggestions? Maybe: . . .has crashed to the point where it has required a. . .

It's a mouthful of a sentence :)
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Ed on Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:00 am

Turns out this particular computer is seven months old and has crashed to the point requiring a complete reinstallation of Windows Vista five times!

Turns out this particular computer is only seven months old, but it has required a complete reinstallation of Windows Vista five times!

"Crashed" implies a single occurrence, but "five times" is multiple. The word "crashed" here is problematic to me, and may be unnecessary for the sentence in its current form.

or

This computer, only seven months old, has already crashed five times. Each instance required a complete reinstallation of Windows Vista!

or

This computer got thrown out. It was a piece of trash.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby rljudge on Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:39 am

Over the course of just seven months, this particular computer had crashed such that Windows Vista had to be reinstalled five times!

or

While it's not unusual for a computer to require periodic Windows reinstallation, this particular computer required a Windows Vista reinstall five times in seven months!

or

This computer was so unstable that it required five complete Windows Vista reinstallations in just seven months!
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:14 am

Awesome, thanks!
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:58 pm

No one else wants to play? :(

Okay, here's a title that I am considering but it seems unwieldy and I'm wondering if I have the capitalization thingy right?):

Squeezing from the Bottom of the Tube – Tips for Scrimping and Saving when you’re Already Frugal

The article will give tips for those of us who have already been buying store brands, clipping coupons, shopping the sales, and so on. My main concern with the title is twofold:

One - is the reference to "squeezing from the bottom of the tube" too obvious, too cliched, or too obscure? You know, those who squeeze every last drop of toothpaste. . . For some reason, it seems like everyone should be familiar with those little attachments that twist the tube in such a way that every tiny bit comes out. But then, it could be just one of those weird things my grandmother did... Likewise, if it is a grandmother thing, is it generational?

Two - should "already" be capitalized? I believe it should be based on its length but would love a little guidance. Seeing it on screen has me second guessing myself though.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Elizabeth Ann West on Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:37 am

[quote="Celeste Stewart"]No one else wants to play? :(

Okay, here's a title that I am considering but it seems unwieldy and I'm wondering if I have the capitalization thingy right?):

Squeezing from the Bottom of the Tube – Tips for Scrimping and Saving when you’re Already Frugal
[/quote]

I think the title is a little too long. The "Squeezing from the Bottom of the Tube" is clever, but not really adding anything but length to the title.

Tips for Scrimping and Saving When You're Already Frugal is powerful and grabs my attention. It sounds like something I want to read, just to make sure there isn't more I can do. The phrase "Squeezing from the bottom of the Tube" should be moved to your first paragraph because it's a good way for readers to help identify "Oh, yes this article is for people like me, I squeeze every last drop of my $2.79 bottle of toothpaste..."

Just my humble opinion. :)
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Ed on Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:41 am

I like EAW's suggestions, but I do want to say that I would have recognized the phrase without cringing at the metaphor as too much of a cliche.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:20 am

Thanks! I'll drop the first part but use it in the introduction. Sounds like a plan :)
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Lor on Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:41 pm

What they said. The first bit belongs in the intro. Great line, by the way, but clearer after the main message.

This has me wondering about titles. I've just submitted an article with what may be a common title. If the title is picked up by copyscape or whatever system CC uses, would I be looking at rejection?

Lor
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:02 pm

Some titles are just bound to be generic and used a lot. I doubt a title such as "How to Build a Birdhouse" would be rejected even though there are probably hundreds of articles out there with that title. But, I bet Ed wouldn't let a well known title get by such as an article about grammar and punctuation titled, "The Elements of Style."
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Lor on Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:28 pm

Not even <i>The Ninety-Two Elements of Style?<i\>

By the way, I'd really love the ability to add "actual" italics.

Lor

I've been studying my previous post looking for flaws, thinking you were digging with the mere mention of <i>Elements of Style.<i\> I got a rejection last week and it's had me fearful of submitting again. A little voice on my shoulder kept whispering, "You'll never make it in this business." Finally flicked the little critter into the dustbin today, but still paranoid, apparently.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Celeste Stewart on Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:42 pm

No, I wasn't digging or hinting. It's just a book that is right next to my computer and happened to be a good example of a title that might not fly . . .

We all get rejections so don't let them get you down. Give yourself one hour to pout and then re-read the rejection notice with an open mind, correct the mistake, and try again. If it helps, think of them as "revision requests" or something less negative sounding than rejections.
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Lor on Sun Aug 17, 2008 5:01 pm

My EOS is also beside my computer, tattered and taunting me as it does. I know you weren't digging, but second-guessing messes with ones head. <gr>

Lor
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Re: Constructive Criticism Thread

Postby Hans on Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:24 am

I'm not sure if this is allowed given the whole secrecy over identities and such, but here goes:

I recently started a web-blog and written a piece on the LHC (large hadron collider). If you don't know about the LHC and the debate surrounding it, you will once you read the article. :D

As this is actually the first time i've started a blog of my own, i have a few questions.
1) Is such a writing style suitable on a blog?
2) Are more pictures/videos needed?
3) Should the length of the post be shorter?

Constructive criticism on the article itself would be great as well.

LINK: http://freelancerhans.wordpress.com/
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