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Looking for ruthless critique

  1. MollyMillions profile image85
    MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago

    So I am interested in honing in my journalistic skills and engaging the reader.
    Please give me your input on any and all of my content-- this is my most recent.

    http://mollymillions.hubpages.com/hub/S … -The-Green

    1. Cardisa profile image90
      Cardisaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Hi Molly. the first thing I noticed was your title which is not search friendly at all. You have a great hub but may never get the readers you want if no one can find it.  How about this, "Transitioning To An Eco-Friendly Home By Going Green". There you have two keyword phrases in the title guaranteed to get some attention.

      To follow up on that are your subtitles, they need to be more specific to what the text in the capsules is all about. For example, the capsule about the toilet needs to be more specific with something like "Going Green In The Loo", you can make it dynamic but still specific.

      1. MollyMillions profile image85
        MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Thank you very much for taking the time to critique my work. smile I'll be taking your advice.

        1. Cardisa profile image90
          Cardisaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          You are very welcome and please feel free to do the same for me. I am not very good at editing typos and grammar mistakes so if you see any on my hubs please feel free to let me know.

          1. MollyMillions profile image85
            MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

            I took a gander at your Levine article, teehee. There are a few typos under the subhead: What Women See As Being Sexy in A Man.
            Assess is accidentally spelled 'asses', ;p, and under the bullet points I notice a few sentences have periods while others do not. I never know what I like better myself, but consistency is what matters.

            "the way he dresses, grooms his face and hair, hygiene is very important," could better be said "the way he dresses, grooms himself, and maintains hygiene are very important."
            Overall a really fun article that got my girly side going.

            1. Cardisa profile image90
              Cardisaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

              Thanks Molly, I really appreciate this. No matter how many times I read through, I always miss something...lol. Will correct them right away. Usually I don't use periods for lists so I 'll remove those. smile

    2. DamienAlexander profile image59
      DamienAlexanderposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      On the whole your writing is very engaging, with few 'boring' bits. Your ideas are, while not wholly original (I've been living virtually all of those tips my entire life), quite commendable.

      Few problems:
      First section you say "your body will begin to change... more on that later". Considering its subheading has 'dirty' in it I guess you're implying that you won't be as clean as you normally are.. which in my experience isn't the case, but either way you don't actually talk about it later.
      When you calculated your laundry savings you should probably have just turned the word 'calculations' into a hyperlink and avoided that clunky end of paragraph parenthetical clause. ( which look even worse with a random url at the end http://cantfindafunnylink.com/ohwellthiswillhave/todo)
      "As for the cleanliness of things, well, I'll go into detail about that later"... you don't. If you mean you're going to put that in another article you might want to just say that although I'd leave it out altogether as its just a paragraph of nothing.

      Entertaining read, I laughed a few times at some of your suggestions. In a good way, though smile
      Going commando... big_smile

  2. Cre8tor profile image97
    Cre8torposted 2 years ago

    Cardisa is right. When I joined HP, I was in that "creative titling" mindset but have learned quickly that the people who read on the net aren't drawn in by creative titling and phrases because they aren't seeing....they're searching.
    Also, there was a rather large blank space in the article. Perhaps consider thumbnails for that set of pics or adding some text to fill in the space.
    One last thing...and it's probably just me, I wouldn't sound as if you "might" write more articles and things like that. You didn't do it a lot but there were a couple times that I felt your confidence was shaken and if you aren't confident, it's hard for me to be confident in your material. Again, that's just a me thing but if you agree with that train of thought, you may want to make some minor adjustments. SELL IT!

    A belated "Welcome to HP"!

    1. Cardisa profile image90
      Cardisaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Cre8tor is right. It did grab me in the first paragraph where you said "...and perhaps more to come", that you weren't too sure about more articles. You also mentioned in your last paragraph that you "hoped to supply more info". You need to change those to more definitive sentences..

      1. MollyMillions profile image85
        MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Thanks to the both of you. I realize that you're so right. I am TOTALLY going to be writing more articles on this topic, because I feel it's pretty important while also unique. smile

    2. Marisa Wright profile image92
      Marisa Wrightposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      That's it in a nutshell -  I'll have to remember that phrase!

      Someone once told me, "Your title is for Google.  Your summary and first paragraph are for real people".

      In other words, your title MUST include a phrase or phrases that people are searching for, with the words in that order - even if that means the title is a little too boring for your taste.   Remember, a catchy title is useless if no one can see it, and no one will see it if the search engine robots can't work out what it means.

  3. MollyMillions profile image85
    MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago

    No worries, I'll be reading you in the future, for sure. big_smile

  4. k12rswow profile image58
    k12rswowposted 2 years ago

    Most people who what to have their piece critiqued are looking for as many people as possible clicking on ads to generate you mollyMILLIONS.  Your just greedy and clever.

    1. Cre8tor profile image97
      Cre8torposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I hardly think that this request is a ploy. First off, that's what this forum is for. Seeing as how Molly is fairly new and only has 4 Hubs, it makes perfect sense that she would be here, in a help forum, asking for a critique or 2. I do however sense an ulterior motive in your comment.

      1. MollyMillions profile image85
        MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I appreciate you backing me up on this. K12rswow, now sure what makes you think that-- my username is a reference to a cyberpunk character. tongue

  5. Fiction Teller profile image59
    Fiction Tellerposted 2 years ago

    The thing that jumped out at me most was that the piece wasn't focused enough toward humor to be a parody and yet had too many tongue-in-cheek moments and organizational divergences to be useful as a how-to.

    Many writers enjoy creating such ambiguity, but it doesn't work in a web piece so well, largely because the function of humor is to entertain, and the function of a how-to is to solve a problem.  So your search traffic, who is trying to solve a problem, will end up frustrated that it's not easy to scan or interpret (Are they serious here?  Oh, no, they're joking. Aargh!)  While your browsing traffic, eager to read a laugh-out-loud piece, might not want to wade through the non-humor elements (Come on, come on, get to it...).

    If it were mine, I'd commit to its being either parody or how-to and then craft everything, from the title to the layout, to support my desired format.

    If you do want a hybrid, a how-to with a strong thread of humor, or a humor piece with a strong thread of real advice, one key to making it work is to make sure one element dominates, instead of both competing with each other.  Show what kind of piece it is in the title, summary, lead photo, and introduction so there is no mistake.  Then use all our favorite slick literary techniques to slip in elements of humor or practical advice.  Clear signals help the reader take the writing as the writer intends and could have your readers taking even more from the piece than they expected - which is one prerequisite to going viral.

    1. MollyMillions profile image85
      MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      Well said, I really appreciate the input. This advice is on point, and I'll have to keep this in mind in the future. I have a feeling that this is probably a common issue with my articles.

    2. Cardisa profile image90
      Cardisaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I actually disagree with this argument. Google suggests conversational writing style and people never like reading articles where the writer is talking at them. In terms of the dry humor, this takes away nothing from the authoritativeness of the piece so long as you can cite your experiences and sources where possible.

      In addition, it's best your readers have a consistent writing style throughout your hubs. Stick to what you know and develop your own style. Some pieces may call for more humor than others, some pieces may require a formal writing style but allow your own voice to come through.

      The article in question is based on your own home experiences and I believe readers do expect anecdotes of some sort.  I honestly don't see your style and humor detracting from your work.

      1. MollyMillions profile image85
        MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Well cool, I'm glad you think so. I imagine that this can become an issue with other articles I have written, but perhaps not this one so much.
        If you guys have taught me anything, it's that I need to ask for input more often as well as do some research of my own on the what methods would work for me. smile

  6. Fiction Teller profile image59
    Fiction Tellerposted 2 years ago

    Hi Cardisa,

    Absolutely a conversational style and humor are appropriate in almost any kind of article whatsoever.  People love natural writing; nobody dislikes humor.

    I'm talking more about working to meet and set up a reader's expectations.  The better a writer sets up her readers' expectations, the more responsive they'll be to the writing.  If the writer doesn't present a strong slant or commitment, then readers will be all over the board, controlled more by their own perspectives than the writing - some will like, some will dislike, some will not care, but the writing itself won't leave much of an impact on anyone.

    I think of it like cooking.  Even if everyone loves chocolate, it's not enough just to use chocolate in a cupcake. Sure, most everyone will kind of enjoy 'em.  But to get people so wild about 'em they ask for the recipe, you have to have the right balance of appearance, texture, and taste.

    So a novelty chocolate cupcake shaped like a shoe with a mint frosting buckle?  A cupcake that's huge and sloppy with thick, rich frosting but with a barely sweetened cake part?  An unfrosted cupcake with an extra dark chocolate outer layer and a creamy custard filling?  All memorable.  All make strong statements. 

    But a chocolate cupcake of indeterminate shape, with a mild frosting, and only lightly flavored, neither markedly moist nor markedly dry, with no buttery undertones and no notable taste contrasts, will be quickly forgotten even if it has exquisitely pretty gold sprinkles on it that make everyone initially ooh and aah.  Some folks actually resent wasting calories on cupcakes that don't meet their expectations!

    I think writing is a lot like that.  It's especially important for digital writing, because online readers are reluctant to spend any time at all on anything.  The Internet is vast; there's always something more entertaining out there, more informative.  We really have to give 'em a darn good reason to be there.  We have to make it easy for them to read/watch/browse.  (And the easier it is for them, the harder it usually was for us!)  We have to deliver on our promises.  And if we fail to promise anything in the first place - avoid a strong slant, in other words - we won't get a lot of readers, no matter how cute the product.

    1. MollyMillions profile image85
      MollyMillionsposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I understand what you mean. I should work on committing more to my slant while supplementing it with relevant and consistent information. I tend to have a problem with making my work seem deliberate, and it turns into something that reads more like a conversation than information.

  7. Fiction Teller profile image59
    Fiction Tellerposted 2 years ago

    Hi MollyMillions,

    If it read like a conversation, it'd be fine - people love reading conversations; they're an entertaining way of conveying information.  I think it's more that it's not strongly anything - even a conversation.  It lacks a strong sense of voice.

    Take your intro:
    "In this article, and more to come, I would like to outline why I think that a budget-friendly and Eco-friendly house is not only important in this day and age, but also easily-attainable. From this point on, I'll be referring to this lifestyle as Earth Budgeting. That is to say, these tips will help both the environment and your budget."

    The use of the first person here feels intrusive, not deliberate.  Filler words like "in this article," "more to come," "I would like to," "from this point on," and "that is to say" reinforce that impression and dilute your message.  It feels more like a wordy formal introduction than really talking to the reader.

    Here are some examples of different kinds of conversational style with distinct voices (and of course, none of these voices or personas is supposed to be "you") :

    "Did you know that a budget-friendly house that also manages to be eco-friendly is actually possible?  Five years ago, I certainly didn't.  Today, I call it Earth Budgeting.  Here's my secret."


    "So, my latest kick is Earth Budgeting.  Never heard of Earth Budgeting before?  Neither had I, until my budget fell earthward.  Then I learned.  Now I offer you these tips.  Heed them well, but not too well.  You'll see why I say that in a minute."


    "Think keeping an eco-friendly and budget-friendly household isn't humanly possible?  Actually, Earth Budgeting, as I call it, is easy.  The trick is to be willing to make some sacrifices and get - okay, let's face it -  a little yucky.  But only a little, I swear."

    The idea with conversational stuff is to commit to a persona.  It's kind of like performing on stage.  You talk to each reader as though she's your best friend.  Even though your readers' personalities are diverse, each one should feel that the message is specifically for *her.*  It's tricky.  You will alienate a few, but your appeal will still be broader.

    Another key thing I think would help you in this article is conciseness.  The fewer the words it takes to convey an idea, the stronger the message.  If you could trim the article - wipe out 50% of the words or so - it'd be easier for you (and your readers) to see your underlying slant.  And that slant is there.  It's just a bit too much work to get to it.