Writing Clinic #4: Maria Nedeva’s Post
Welcome back to Writing Clinic! If this is the first Writing Clinic post you’ve read, here’s a quick reminder of how it works.
I take a look at a blogger’s post (published or unpublished) and explain what’s working well and what might need some tweaking. The posts can be on any subject, and we’ve had quite a range so far.
If you’d like to submit a post, there are guidelines and instructions here.
This week, we’re going to take a look at Maria Nedeva’s post Five unorthodox ways to spot an upcoming neighbourhood (and don’t ignore number four).
Before I go further, I recommend you pop on over to Maria’s site and read through the post. See if you spot anything that you think she’s doing really well (or anything that you might suggest changing).
Here’s what I thought:
What’s Working Well
This is a solid, well-put-together blog post with a lot going for it. I particularly like Maria’s use of:
#1: Short Paragraphs and Bullet Points
Although this post is reasonably long, Maria uses short paragraphs and bullet points to make it easy to read. These are always a great idea – they add white space and make the post look much more inviting.
#2: Clear Conclusion and Call to Action
Maria ends the post with a short section headed “Finally…” While it’s not usually necessary to have a “Conclusion” or “Finally” or “Summary” section, longer blog posts can benefit from it. The last line of the post is a call to action (two questions encouraging readers to comment) in bold italics so they stand out.
#3: Numbered Subheadings
As you’d expect from the title, Maria’s post has five clear, separate points. She’s using a subheading style, “Header 2” (or <h2> in HTML) for these, which means they not only stand out well for the reader but are flagged up to search engines as subheadings.
What Maria Might Change
There were a few possible tweaks I spotted while reading the post. (If you have additional ideas, or disagree with me, feel free to add a comment below!)
#1: The Use of the Word “Upcoming”
I’d not come across the exact phrase “upcoming neighbourhood” before – I’d refer to these as “up-and-coming neighbourhoods”. Maria might want to double-check what phrase her audience are most likely to use, as if she’s picked the wrong one, it could have an impact on search traffic.
#2: The Editing / Proofreading
While I’ll be the first to admit that I make occasional mistakes, I did spot quite a few typos in Maria’s post.
I’ll give a few examples:
#1: “John looked at all available houses in two miles radius.”
This should be:
John looked at all available houses in a two mile radius.
#2: “If you see people in dressing gowns collecting the main …”
“Main” should be “mail”.
#3: “…offers very similar chance of spotting an upcoming neighbourhood.”
This should be:
…offers a very similar chance of spotting an upcoming neighbourhood.
I know these are really tiny, picky things, but a handful of small typos can spoil an otherwise good post.
#3: No Definition of “Upcoming”
It may be the case that Maria’s readers are already clear on what constitutes an “upcoming” (or “up-and-coming”) neighbourhood, but I felt the post needed to be a bit clearer. Maria’s primary definition appears to be “where house values are going up”, but obviously this rise is due to a number of factors.
I’d like the introduction to include a clear explanation of what you’d typically see in an “upcoming” neighbourhood – or a link to a post that explains this. (To make room for this, I’d cut the third paragraph of the post, which I think wanders a bit too far from the point.)
I’ve been very picky, but overall, I thought this was a strong, well-written post with some (as the title says) unconventional ideas. What did you think? Share your feedback with Maria in the comments.
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4 Responses to “Writing Clinic #4: Maria Nedeva’s Post”
Thanks you, Ali, for the very constructive review. I’ll have to start paying attention to my idefinite articles after all. And generally be more careful editing :).
Of course I mean ‘thank you’ 🙂
Terry A. McCarthy
One of the first and most important problems for any writer is to master is the organization their thoughts and their articles. Much of writing is literally putting the conversation into a logical order. A paragraph that has too many distant points connected is probably too long and should be broken down or reorganized. Bear in mind, paragraphs are containers for holding together the individual concepts that we join and build into an article.
My old journalism training was based upon a simple and repeatable roadmap: Tell them, tell them what you told them, and tell them again. It is overly simplistic to write that way. But, If you consider your opening paragraphs the “tell them”, and spend a paragraph or two telling them “what you told them”, the “tell them again” to be the writing of a paragraph or two summarizing the key points, you’ll get he point.
The points in your commentary have value. If a writer spends good time adhering to your points, and adds the organizational considerations to their writing, now I think we can move writing to a new level.
I agree with Ali about the strong post. I also am a stickler, though, for typos and there were a few more that Ali didn’t mention. To me, that says the author was in a hurry to get the post published and didn’t take the time to proofread it.
With my posts, I will always go back and read through them a few times to try and catch all the typos. To some people it’s not a big deal. But then there are those of us that cringe at typos.
I was also a little confused about the “upcoming”, but then I saw the phrase that explained it: … “one that is just about to become the place where everyone want to live.” (again, it should be “wants” instead of “want”) When I first read “upcoming neighborhood”, I envisioned an area where there were no houses, but would one day be a neighborhood. It didn’t make much sense to me until I saw the definition. Maybe Maria could expand a little more on that concept.
Overall, I did think it was a great post with the potential of becoming even better with just a few tweaks.
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