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Old 05-10-2008, 02:48 PM   #2
Ivan Wolfe
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Tempe  AZ
Posts: 474
Re: My First Article

I teach writing at college, and I do some work as a freelance writer. What kind of feedback exactly do you want?

I have a few suggestions:

1. Your overall point seems clear. Your post contains great advice, and you have a strong, clear viewpoint that few readers could misunderstand.

2. However, I noticed quite a few grammar and punctuation problems (for example "the bodies(your) physical limitations" should read "the (your) body's physical limitations"). You also use the semi-colon incorrectly in the first paragraph (you should just use a comma instead of semi-colon). This may seem like nit-picking, but small mistakes like those can add up and lower your ethos with your audience. I won't detail all the problems, but you might want to drag out your old grammar book from college composition in order to refresh your mind.

3. Another critique (I mean all this as constructive criticism, so don't take this as an attack) pertains to your style: you use "is" as your main verb in nearly every sentence.

Now, CrossFit embodies active, outgoing, and energetic qualities. It deserves active, outgoing, and energetic verbs. Frankly "is" contains no action and serves only to make any subject seem more "blah." The overuse of "is" (or any of its conjugations: be, are, was, were, been, being, am) creates a bureaucratic feeling (look at bureaucratic prose - almost nothing but "is" verbs). Your opening paragraph succeeds (despite the few mechanical errors) because of its active, energetic verbs.

I would never say "never, ever use is" - but one can nearly always revise it away. For example, your post said "It is a simple fact that our aging generations, generally, are scared to death of breaking a hip or simply lack the motor development to lift an object of any size over their head. This is something you used to only see in advanced age, but is becoming more common in younger generations, even starting as young as 45." A good rewrite of that sentence might read: "One simple fact: our aging generations, generally, fear breaking a hip or otherwise simply lack the motor development to lift an object of any size over their head. You used to only see this in advanced age, but it has become more common in younger generations, even starting as young as 45."

Often, this idea of eliminating the "is" verbs can cause even the most dedicated of writers to go insane, but in the end it can mean the difference between a merely okay writer and a pretty good one.

There's more that I could discuss (such as eliminating unnecessary and repetitive words and phrases), but I don't want to turn this into a lecture. Consider it friendly advice (and, if you have the time or resources, read the book Revising Prose by Richard Lanham. It explains a lot of what I've discussed in greater detail - plus Lanham has a breezy, easy to understand writing style that makes his book fun to read).

Hope that helps. Remember, this advice is worth what you paid for it!
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