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Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Crit – Part Two

Here in Donna’s Adult World (NOT to be confused with the porn shop we pass every time we visit Poppy), I’ve done a bunch of scribbling. There’s the newsletter for one of the printing companies where I toiled for 20 years, the Association of Late Deafened Adults quarterly publication, work related instruction manuals and, of course, this here blog.

Important to keep in mind but easy to forget, I gotta keep my audience in mind – at the forefront, in fact.  What constitutes acceptable tone certainly depends on the business and the company BUT when writing for a company newsletter it is AOK and, for that matter, a very good thing to rock an informal tone and bring a side of wit to the table.

Is the newsletter just a prop – an HR sop to the worker bees though? Are the Powers That Be trying to give the impression, on the cheap, that they care? If that's the case, engaging writing is unimportant. You can be as dry as crisp bread – doesn't matter, no ones gonna be reading it, not even on the can.

At the printing company where I worked, we'd just hired a young kid who'd only worked for uptight inusrance companies before. His job was proofreader – a new gig for us. Sadly, no one gave the poor kid the 411 on our corporate culture. You know, that FUN was AOK! His first editing effort managed to tranform the company newsletter, (who's readers were members of Mission of BurmaBirdsongs of the Mesazoic, Miles Dethmuffin and The Freeze (amongst many others), into a dull-ass licensing agreement. You know, the long lists of terms and conditions that you need to agree to before buying/using but, like the rest of us, you just check the Yes-I’ve-Read-And-Agree and move on? Yeah, that.

Yep, this required a convo and a rewrite.


Bast knows, I’m guilty of forgetting this. For example, I was asked to write my mother’s obituary. I left out the humor (though amusing obits are THE best) since that wasn’t really who my mother was but I wrote in my general style (sans swears of course!). This wasn’t some boring ass death notice and curriculum vitae BUT it was also not a rollicking, fluorescent retelling of mia madre’s life.

So yeah, I liked the eulogy but it was def not what mia madre's conservative friends and relations would want to read  I was mega guilty of not keeping the audience in mind. Luckily, the funeral home folk edited the shit out of it before publication.

I didn't get the mother send off that I would've liked but everyone else did. Spock comes to mind, of course, "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few"

The first rule for writing a given piece AS WELL AS critiquing another person’s work – know and understand your target audience.

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