Monday, March 16, 2009

The Lessons of Redlines

As I respond to my boss's redlines, I find myself moved to make a special post dedicated to what I'm learning from this contract. Perhaps if I bracket these ideas off and tell you all about them, I will find the lessons easier to incorporate. And, perhaps, you will find them useful as well.

  • Where There's a Will, There's a Won't: Cut it out with the "will!" It's always "this will" and "that will." Nobody wants to hear about what something "will" do, they want to hear what it does! This construction is about as undynamic as the passive voice (my old enemy). It sucks the energy out of every paragraph it appears in. It's time to stop.
  • The First Sentence Always Sucks: Before sending anything anywhere, highlight the first sentence of every paragraph. For each highlit sentence, consider very carefully if it belongs. If I'm not 100% sure, delete it. Chances are pretty good its a waste of words.
  • Active Voice! Active Voice! Seriously. I'm not as bad at this as I used to be - my friend Jon once asked me "does the passive voice pay you to endorse it or someting?" - but I still have room to improve. Clearly.

And now that the edits are done and sent in and the check is in the mail, it's definitely time to post this thing. I can only hope these lessons make an actual impression on me!

2 comments:

Becca said...

Sounds like you're improving your writing style.

So this is White Wolf project #2? What's your next thing after this?

Mark said...

Thanks!

After this I have a project for Greymalkin Designs (no surprise, it's for Desolation, which is their only game) and something else for a company called Green Ronin, and I can't tell you what it's for.