Monday, August 17, 2009

Lessons in What Not to Write: No. 526: "not unexpected"

I saw a tweet today that got me reeling. I am thankful it was just a tweet and not a book I'm editing. I like the person who wrote this tweet; he's a crafty guy, very good at what he does. But he could use a lesson in "writing worthiness".

Oh, twinges of hypocrisy are bubbling up. I know that very little that I write is exciting and/or worthy. Let me just say that up front. But the subject of this tweet went something like: traffic is really bad; it's not to be unexpected.

What does that sentence leave you feeling? It leaves me feeling like I just wasted time reading that sentence.

Lesson no. 1 in news writing: mans bites dog versus dog biting man. If the story isn't original, then don't write it. If your audience expects that the traffic will be bad, then they don't need to read that it was bad. And THEN be told that it is not to be unexpected. And let's not even get into the double negative issue here.

Today I published a Facebook status that admits to the world that I love to imagine myself playing lead guitar on songs that rock. I do this probably daily. Maybe a little less. Doesn't everyone do that? Anyway, that may be a stupid post; that may be something that no one wants to read; but at least it's not cheating the reader. It's giving them new news.

So, tell us something new, something truly unexpected. Make us feel. The purpose of even Twitter shouldn't be to ALONE write things like: went to the gym; went to the store; went to the gym again; played some golf; wow, it's hot; traffic is bad, but who the hell thought it wouldn't be? etc.

Or maybe that is it's purpose.

No comments: