Thought I’d share some tips that I pulled out of some of the mentorship reviews I’ve been writing lately.
To explain: I number each line in my students’ copy, and then analyse line by line, commenting where necessary.
Each of the points below refers to one particular line in the submitted copy.
15: Nice. Beef it up a little, that line deserves double the space – and then make sure ‘disaster’ feels like a cataclysm to the reader. Not just ‘disaster’ – more like: ‘You’ll be totally and completely screwed, sitting up for nights on end, rummaging through endless pages of code to fix bugs in the program, while your staff is already at home eating Doritos and watching the Olympics’… etc.
9: ‘With everything else going on’ – this is where you want to use two or three examples instead. As writers, we must be paranoid about bounce rates: imagine each reader is just waiting for a reason to stop reading because he’s got things to do. Any time you allow confusion or ambiguity, a percentage of readers leaves. (‘leave” without the ‘s’ in UK English).
17: To me, an exclamation mark is a bit of a crutch: a well-written sentence doesn’t need one. Like a well-chosen adjective doesn’t need an intensifier. It can also provoke the wrong feeling ‘fake, overly emphatic, artificial’. Dangerous thing to use, avoid if possible, or only use when called for. (ex. quoting an upset person etc)
2: Ok, I like your premise and you’re right – but you gotta tell me why. This one too allows me to fill in the blanks – fix what, in which sense, where in my biz ops are we talking about.
Another problem is that it’s a truism – which is about as risky to use as a cliché: it can work, if done right, but it can very easily backfire, people tend to gloss over things they assume to be true…
…Unless you slam them with a reason for telling them something they already know. So, that gives you the freedom to get more outrageous, since you’re balancing it. Polarize, blow things up and embiggen them.
Ex: “Don’t wait until tomorrow to fix what you can fix today – because today’s UX design is tomorrow’s passé, and today’s minor glitch is tomorrow’s MySpace”, or something like that.
Right? So you take a truism and use it as a reason to say something really attention-grabbing or fun or quirky or remarkable. The commonality of the first part means it ‘makes sense’ if you pair it with something very uncommon etc.
1: The format ‘Why abc will result in horrific xyz consequences’ is very good. But consider what the abc and xyz you speak of are – ‘will come back to haunt you’ is strong language, but it’s abstract, it’s a faceless feeling. Your job is to provide a more tangible reason to feel that way.
That’s just a few snippets. When you work with me, every week you get two pages absolutely full with this kind of feedback. That’s four custom, personal reviews per month for $299. A steal.
Signup is over there, in case you want to finally get over the hurdle and become a powerful, fluent, sales-getting business owner, all by leveraging the power of your own personality and voice: http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/
And by studying hard and practicing your writing daily, but I’ve mentioned that before.