Monday, August 6, 2012

Remember three things: 1. Focus. 2. Focus. And what was that last one? Oh yeah, FOCUS.

I'm taking a walk, doing some window shopping, and I come across one of those things that drive copy editors crazy. I walk by a store called:

JUST CABINETS Furniture and More

My face starts to twitch and my breathing gets strained. While shaking a mental fist at the owners of this place, I'm thinking: "OK, which is it? Does this store have just cabinets or does it have furniture and more? Make up your mind!"
So, I go inside. The bulk of the store consists of all types of furniture and relatively few cabinets. Sigh.

The lessons?
1. Some people don't know how to name their stores.
2. For writers and editors:
- Beware of contradictions.

- Stay focused on your message; don't try to say too much at one time. In an effort to get as much information in their stories as possible (because all of the info is soooo important), writers will often spew all of their notes into their stories with little regard to focus and flow. And that can result in confusion for the readers.
  When writing, remember: Take one point at a time, and stay focused on a point until you're through with it. Then, make a transition to your next point, and then write about it.

- Readers almost never care as much about what you're writing as you do, so there's no need to tell them everything you've found during the research of your story. Writers have readers' attention for only a short time, so concise, focused writing with a smooth flow is extremely important to keep them reading. 

Now, back to that sign. Perhaps:

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