Archive for the ‘Commercial Writing’ Category

A List as Literature

Friday, December 7th, 2012
story as list

Beaumont Hardy helps you navigate the short story landscape.

Here at Beaumont Hardy, we still think writers can learn a great deal from the submission guidelines of publications listed in places like Duotrope. In studying the submission guidelines of Words and Images, the literary magazine from the University of Southern Maine, we came upon an interesting genre writers might want to explore further. Words and Images is eager to read all types of prose, and among their interests, they mention “to-do lists.” We like the idea of a list that can function as a compelling piece of prose or even as a story, and we wonder how such a literary piece would function.

Someone suggested the following list, which hints at a larger story, perhaps even a mystery.

1. Clean windows

2. Get telescope out of attic

3. Check sighting device

4. Confirm Lefty’s schedule

5. Tell Shirley to take the kids to the movies

6. Borrow silencer from Vinnie

The problem is that a list of this type tends to feel heavy-handed in its attempt to convey plot. Perhaps a list functions better as a mere suggesting of an emotion or an experience. Consider the following list.

1. Wash beach towel

2. Put away sunscreen

3. Give umbrella and picnic basket to Goodwill

4. Delete photos from camera

5. Call Stacy re. girls’ night out

What do you think of a list as literature? How would you create a scintillating list? Please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Duotrope provides as invaluable service to writers, but it no longer survives on donations, as it once did. After January 1, 2013, writers can only use Duotrope’s helpful and extensive listings by subscribing to Duotrope. Please consider a subscription to Duotrope. We all benefit from the service it provides.

 

Brochure Copy

Friday, May 8th, 2009

metalBrochure text needs to be snappy and to-the-point. Here at Beaumont Hardy, we edit text for brochures on any subject and for any business.

The following is a the unedited version of copy on a brochure offering glass-cutting services. Below the unedited version is my edit of the same text. My editorial comments are at the bottom of this post.

Don’t throw away your old bottles which can be turned into many other uses. Your old bottles can be made into glasses or vases by our trained glass cutters. Or, for an extra fee, we can personally etch anything you want into your bottle, glass or vase. Flowers, patterns or your own personal designs. We can etch anything into glass.

In this day and age of recycling and “thinking green” everyone wants to think of new uses for old things. One of the easiest objects to reuse and recycle is glass, especially glass bottles.

Do you have a closet filled with old glass bottles that are too pretty to throw away? Or are you sentimentally attached to old bottles that you really aren’t using. Keep the bottles that you love and treasure but put them to work for you. Turn your old bottles into glasses that you can actually use everyday.

Our expert glasscutters carefully cut off the top of a bottle and sand the cut part smooth. It’s so smooth that you can safely use the bottom part of the bottle for drinking.

Some bottles are just too pretty to throw away. Keep them and making them useful by turning them into drinking glasses instead.

We can also do an “extra”-special trick on your wine bottles. We cut off the top of the bottle and carefully fuse the top to the bottom of the bottle, creating a really unique and one of a kind “wine glass” that makes use of every part of the bottle. 100% recycling!

Mail us your bottles or bring them into our workshop yourself. We’ll quote you a price that will make you happy.

After editing, the brochure copy reads something like this:

Don’t throw away your old bottles. Let our trained glass cutters turn them into drinking glasses, vases or hand-etched decorations that you can use and enjoy every day.

In this age of recycling and “thinking green,” everyone wants to find new uses for old things. One of the easiest objects to reuse and recycle is glass—especially glass bottles.

When you bring us a bottle, our expert glass cutters carefully cut off its top and sand the cut part smooth—so smooth that you can safely use the bottom part of the bottle for drinking.

We can also do an extra-special trick with your wine bottles. We cut off the top of the bottle and carefully fuse the top to the bottom of the bottle, creating a unique wine glass that reuses every part of the bottle. 100% recycling!

We also offer glass etching services. Our skilled glass etchers will personally etch flowers, patterns or your own personal design into any bottle, glass or vase. We can etch anything.

Keep the bottles that you love and treasure—old glass bottles that are too pretty to throw away or bottles that bring back fond memories—but put them to work for you.

Mail us your bottles, or bring them to our workshop yourself. We’ll quote you a price that will make you happy.

Below is the text with my editing marks. My comments to the author are in brackets and italicized. The portions I cut appear with a strike-through, and the portions I added are underlined. (In a normal Word document with “Track Changes,” my editing marks are in red, and my comments are in their own separate section, not inserted into the text.):

Don’t throw away your old bottles which can be turned into many other uses. Let Your old bottles can be made into glasses or vases by our trained glass cutters turn them into drinking glasses, vases or hand-etched decorations that you can use and enjoy every day . [Readers of your brochure will want to know, up front, what exactly your business does.] Or, for an extra fee, we can personally etch anything you want into your bottle, glass or vase. Flowers, patterns or your own personal designs. We can etch anything into glass. [I’m purposely keeping the opening paragraph short, so readers of the brochure can get a quick, concise idea of your services.]

In this day and age of recycling and “thinking green,” everyone wants to find think of [“Find” is more concise than “think of.”] new uses for old things. One of the easiest objects to reuse and recycle is glass,especially glass bottles.

Do you have a closet filled with old glass bottles that are too pretty to throw away? Or are you sentimentally attached to old bottles that you really aren’t using. Keep the bottles that you love and treasure but put them to work for you. Turn your old bottles into glasses that you can actually use everyday.

When you bring us a bottle, oOur expert glass cutters carefully cut off itsthe top of a bottle and sand the cut part smooth. It’s so smooth that you can safely use the bottom part of the bottle for drinking. [I moved this sentence up, so that readers of the brochure will get an idea of your working methods sooner.]

Some bottles are just too pretty to throw away. Keep them and making them useful by turning them into drinking glasses instead.

We can also do an extra-special trick with on your wine bottles. We cut off the top of the bottle and carefully fuse the top to the bottom of the bottle, creating a really unique [“Unique” does not need any modification.] and one of a kind wine glass that reuses makes use of every part of the bottle. 100% recycling!

Or, for an extra fee, [I’ve saved any mention of fees until the end, where you mention price quotes.] We also offer glass etching services. Our skilled glass etchers will we can personally etch flowers, patterns or your own personal designs anything you want into any your bottle, glass or vase. Flowers, patterns or your own personal designs. We can etch anything into glass.

Our expert glasscutters carefully cut off the top of a bottle and sand the cut part smooth. It’s so smooth that you can safely use the bottom part of the bottle for drinking.

We can also do an “extra”-special trick on your wine bottles. We cut off the top of the bottle and carefully fuse the top to the bottom of the bottle, creating a really unique and one of a kind “wine glass” that makes use of every part of the bottle. 100% recycling!

Keep the bottles that you love and treasure—old glass bottles that are too pretty to throw away or bottles that bring back fond memories—but put them to work for you.

Mail us your bottles or bring them into our workshop yourself. We’ll quote you a price that will make you happy.

[Please post your comments about this Sample Edit. To submit your own work for a free edit–and inclusion in a posting on this blog–please write to me at jane@beaumonthardy.com.]

Writing a Professional E-mail Message

Monday, March 30th, 2009

oregonAlthough e-mail is normally a casual and very colloquial medium, people often use it for more important business or academic purposes. Writers of professional e-mails should strive to send the cleanest and most professional messages possible.

At Beaumont Hardy, we edit commercial and professional e-mails for all writers and for all subjects.

The following is an unedited academic e-mail to a professor. Below the unedited version is my edit of the same text. My editorial comments are at the bottom of the post.

Dear Professor Palgrave,

I’m in your modern American film class, and you said we should send you an e-mail to tell you about our topics. I’m not really sure what I want to write about, but I was thinking of writing about how Pretty Woman is like another version of cinderella. The main problem is that there isn’t really a movie of cinderella that I can compare Pretty Woman to, but I think the story of cinderella is well known enough that I might not have to have a movie to compare.

I was basically going to say that the Julia Roberts character in Pretty Woman is like a modern cinderella, because she starts out in a deadend job and doesn’t really have that many opportunities. And then, in the end, some kind of magical things happen (or magical in terms of emotions), and she ends up having a happy ending.

I’m not sure if this is really a good idea for a paper, so I wanted to know if you had any ideas for changing it or making it better.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

[name withheld]

Here is the e-mail in its edited form:

Dear Professor Palgrave,

I am a student in your Modern American Film class, and I wanted to send you some thoughts about my paper topic. I have not yet determined the exact focus of my paper, but I would like to write about Pretty Woman as another version of the Cinderella story. However, I believe that there is no movie version of Cinderella that I can use for comparison. Do you think the Cinderella story is well-known enough that I might not necessarily need to refer to a movie version of it?

The main point of my paper is that the Julia Roberts character in Pretty Woman is a modern Cinderella, because she has a dead-end job and few opportunities at the beginning of the story. Several magical things happen to her (magical in terms of emotions), and she has a happy ending.

Please let me know if this idea will work for my paper or if you have any ideas for changing or improving this topic.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

[name withheld]

Here is the passage with my editing marks visible. My comments to the author are in brackets and italicized. The portions I cut appear with a strike-through, and the portions I added are underlined. (In a normal Word document with “Track Changes,” my editing marks are in red, and my comments are in their own separate section, not inserted into the text.)

Dear Professor Palgrave,

I am in your Mmodern American Ffilm [I assume that this class is called Modern American Film.] class, and I wanted to send you some thoughts about my paper topicyou said we should send you an e-mail to tell you about our topics.[I changed this sentence so that you’re not telling the professor what she said. One assumes that she remembers her own instructions.] I have not yet determined the exact focus of my paperI’m not really sure what I want to write about [I’m making it sound like you have given the topic a great deal of thought.], but I would like to write I was thinking of writing[This way, you sound more decisive and sure of yourself.] about how Pretty Woman ais like another version of the Ccinderella story. However, I realize that there is no movie version of Cinderella that I can use for comparison. The main problem is that there isn’t really a movie of cinderella that I can compare Pretty Woman to, Do you think the Cinderella story is well-known enough that I might not necessarily need to refer to a movie version of it? but I think the story of cinderella is well known enough that I might not have to have a movie to compare.[It seems like a good idea to defer to your professor’s expertise.]

The main point of my paper isI was basically going to say that the Julia Roberts character in Pretty Woman is like a modern Ccinderella, because she has starts out in a deadend job and few doesn’t really have that many opportunities at the beginning of the story. Several And then, in the end, some kind of magical things happen to her (or magical in terms of emotions), and she has ends up having a happy ending.

Please let me know if this idea will work for my paper orI’m not sure if this is really a good idea for a paper, so I wanted to know if you hadve any ideas for changing it or improving this topicmaking it better.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

[name withheld]

[Please send me your comments about this Sample Edit. To submit your own work for a free edit–and inclusion in a posting on this blog–please write to me at jane@beaumonthardy.com.]