Companies forum: Constructive Criticism

 
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Imagedgal
Feb 11, 2010 12:29 PM CST
Name: Don Galaway
Baytown, Texas (Zone 9a)
This is a writing sample I submitted to Textbrokers. I would value your honest evaluation.
Don

When you enter the city of Baytown, Texas, you encounter a diverse and fascinating conurbation where no less than three communities have merged into a single entity. The scenery varies from the tall pine trees so typical of East Texas, to the towers and structures of several refineries, to the coastal area along the Houston Ship Channel, each locale having a character and beauty of its own.
Although no distinctive city skyline can be seen, few structures can compare with the impressive Fred Hartman Bridge that spans 1,250 feet across the Houston Ship Channel. It is a cable-stayed suspension bridge, her stays covered with bright yellow tubing. I once flew over the bridge on approach to Houston Hobby Airport. The one word I have to describe her is, “breathtaking”.
Driving along Highway 146 one morning, I was treated to a uniquely beautiful sight. One of the small, inland bays was dotted with several derelict pump jacks just visible in the early morning mist.
Of course, those pump jacks are a vivid reminder of the very reason for the existence of this community; the petrochemical industry. The massive structures of the refineries attest to the massive reserves of oil and gas that lie beneath the natural beauty of this remarkable place called Baytown.
Santa Don

Bringing joy to the world, one smile at a time. http://www.santa2u.net
Imagejar617
Feb 11, 2010 1:38 PM CST
Name: julie
Dellroy Ohio Zone 6a
Freelance Writer and Avid Gardener
I will be completely honest if that is what you want. I like the way the information flowed, as a tour of the town. There might be room for improvement in the wording of things. For instance, "where no less than three communities have merged into a single entity" might sound a little better if you said "where more than three separate communities grew into one metropolis". (this coming from someone who has never been there, mind you, so take it with a grain of salt)
I just don't think entity is the word to use in that instance.
I would not start a sentence with the word "although" or "however"....make the sentence bold as though you are an expert and there is no doubt as to what you are saying. "There is no distinct city skyline to be seen but few structures compare to the impressive Fred Hartman Bridge which spans 1,250 feet across Houston Ship Channel. A suspension bridge with yellow covered stays, is nothing short of breathtaking when seen from the air."
It is also in poor taste, when writing an article about a certain subject to interject your personal opinion into the writing. By using "I", "my", or other first person terms, it makes the reader think the article is slanted with your opinion and not fact.
The last two paragraphs might be better combined into one. Leave out the personal tones and make the statements bold. With that said, I think this is a good piece.

I really hope you are not offended but I did say I would help and you did say to be honest.

Let me know what you think.
Julie
Imagedgal
Feb 11, 2010 2:38 PM CST
Name: Don Galaway
Baytown, Texas (Zone 9a)
Absolutely no offense taken at all, Julie. I asked for constructive criticism because that is what I wanted. No molly-coddling wanted. Thanks, and I'll work on it. I've never had any training as a writer, but I think I've always thought I might have some raw ability.
Santa Don

Bringing joy to the world, one smile at a time. http://www.santa2u.net
Imagejar617
Feb 11, 2010 3:00 PM CST
Name: julie
Dellroy Ohio Zone 6a
Freelance Writer and Avid Gardener
I do think you have the ability because you made me visualize exactly what you were talking about. Keep up the good work!
Julie
Imagejar617
Feb 11, 2010 3:27 PM CST
Name: julie
Dellroy Ohio Zone 6a
Freelance Writer and Avid Gardener
I do think you have the ability because you made me visualize exactly what you were talking about. Keep up the good work!
Julie
Image1AnjL
Feb 11, 2010 3:42 PM CST
Name: AnjL/Annmarie
CA Sierra Mts
HI, I just found this thread and read your article Don. I liked the descriptive and informative feel of it. :) other than whats already been said... I would caution on using the word 'massive' twice in one sentence (in your last sentence) maybe finding a different word to describe the same?
Overall, I liked it :)

All Things Hobby
All the coffee in Columbia will never make me a morning person!
Imagearejay59
Feb 11, 2010 3:44 PM CST
Name: Arejay aka Robin Brann
Maine
4th Annual Iris Sale going on now!
Gee Jar looks like you have a new writer up and coming there nice little first piece Dgal. Keep going!!!jar right just a couple of adjustments could make it printworthy!!
Imagemarsue
Feb 15, 2010 10:42 AM CST
Name: Marilyn (Mau)
South-central Missouri-in the
Zone 6b
Good job, Don.
The others have had some good suggestions. Perhaps you could use the word 'immense' to substitute for 'massive' in one of those instances in the last sentence.
One thing I would like to point out is the use of the word 'conurbation'. I had to "google" it to find out what it meant. I don't like to interrupt the reading of an article to look up the definition of a word. Your article may very well be aimed at an audience that you would expect to know what the word means. If not, however, you might want to think about changing that word for something more easily understood by a wider audience.
Just a suggestion.
Imagearejay59
Feb 15, 2010 11:07 AM CST
Name: Arejay aka Robin Brann
Maine
4th Annual Iris Sale going on now!
That is a great point Marsue I use this link dgal http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/conurbation
Imagedgal
Feb 15, 2010 11:20 AM CST
Name: Don Galaway
Baytown, Texas (Zone 9a)
You are probably right about the $2.00 word. Don't mean to be a curmudgeon, but I like to challenge folks to expand their horizons. I love to learn new words. But then, I guess there is a time and a place for that. Thanks for the advice. Point taken. Thanks too, Robin, for the thesaurus site. I have always used the one in MS Word, the this one will be more convenient at times.

He He, Did you have to look up curmudgeon?
Santa Don

Bringing joy to the world, one smile at a time. http://www.santa2u.net
Imagearejay59
Feb 15, 2010 11:28 AM CST
Name: Arejay aka Robin Brann
Maine
4th Annual Iris Sale going on now!
No ifs ,ands or buts about it. I did look it up. Doesnt really fit that smiling face of yours but if you says so. I too enjoy words Don come visit my cubits there may be something there for you!!
Imagemarsue
Feb 15, 2010 11:43 AM CST
Name: Marilyn (Mau)
South-central Missouri-in the
Zone 6b
I enjoy learning new words, too, but there are folks out there who would have stopped reading immediately upon encountering "conurbation". As I said, it all depends on the audience you are trying to reach.
Curmudgeon I do know and I doubt that you are one, Don! Smiling
Image1AnjL
Feb 15, 2010 12:59 PM CST
Name: AnjL/Annmarie
CA Sierra Mts
LOL! Good point Mau! I just skipped right over the word, and I still dont know what it means LOL! But I too, DO know what a Curmudgeon is and would have a really hard time believing that you are fitting of that description Don!

Hey Robin, just wanted to let you know that your link to newbies on the right side is no longer working... I think Dave tweaked something again LOL
All Things Hobby
All the coffee in Columbia will never make me a morning person!
Imagearejay59
Feb 15, 2010 1:01 PM CST
Name: Arejay aka Robin Brann
Maine
4th Annual Iris Sale going on now!
God Love him!! Maybe he will fix it when he is done breaking it!!
Imagejar617
Feb 16, 2010 12:29 PM CST
Name: julie
Dellroy Ohio Zone 6a
Freelance Writer and Avid Gardener
Hey Don, did you ever expect to get so much help? It is nice to see how other people read the written word.
Imagedgal
Feb 16, 2010 1:07 PM CST
Name: Don Galaway
Baytown, Texas (Zone 9a)
Hi Julie, I need all the help I can get and appreciate it. But, you're right, we all see things from a different viewpoint.

I dearly love to read, but I don't have much time for casual reading of a novel like I used to have. I did read the Mitford series last year and really enjoyed it. Jan Karon is a wonderful writer.
Santa Don

Bringing joy to the world, one smile at a time. http://www.santa2u.net
Imagemarsue
Feb 17, 2010 5:20 AM CST
Name: Marilyn (Mau)
South-central Missouri-in the
Zone 6b
Well, after all, Santa is a busy fellow all year long what with overseeing the elves, etc. Who knew he had time to read anything? Smiling
Imagedgal
Feb 17, 2010 7:12 AM CST
Name: Don Galaway
Baytown, Texas (Zone 9a)
You're right Mau; those Naughty & Nice lists get longer every year. By the way, I remembered to include a link to my Santa website in my signature line, so check it out.
Santa Don

Bringing joy to the world, one smile at a time. http://www.santa2u.net
Imagemarsue
Feb 17, 2010 8:31 AM CST
Name: Marilyn (Mau)
South-central Missouri-in the
Zone 6b
Oh, my goodness--what a fun website--love the Santa photos, especially the one with the two toddlers that are crying--LOL (Even Santa can be a little frightening to small children.) Thanks for sharing that with us. Thumbs up
Image1AnjL
Feb 17, 2010 1:44 PM CST
Name: AnjL/Annmarie
CA Sierra Mts
I agree Thumbs up

and that does look like the REAL santa! wish you lived closer and could visit my grandson Sad
All Things Hobby
All the coffee in Columbia will never make me a morning person!

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