Wednesday 28 July 2010, 14:05
Read your work out loud:
OK, so maybe not if yours is a 5,000-word investigation into insider trading ... though even then it's no bad idea to read aloud to yourself the key passages that your audience needs to understand if they're going to follow the whole story.
Certainly, if your copy is intended to be read on air or online, reading your script out loud is a must. Don't be embarrassed - it's your colleagues who aren't reading their copy out loud that are getting it wrong.
There are apocryphal tales of accidental poetry being thrust into the hands of newsreaders at the last minute which would never have got on air if the writer had followed this tip. My favourite is:
"There were cheers of delight in Port Talbot tonight as news of the settlement spread."
OK ... maybe it never happened (or maybe it did), but it illustrates one danger pretty well.
For clarity's and accuracy's sake, you really should read headlines and straplines several times out loud. Do those few words actually mean what you intend? Reading them out loud can shake out ambiguities or assumptions the facts don't support.
Inadvertent tongue twisters don't always leap off the page - but you'll spot them if you read out loud.
And remember, even if you're writing for the web, reading your opening pars out loud is a good test of whether you've made your story as clear, simple and engaging as possible.
Wednesday 28 July 2010, 09:50
Thursday 29 July 2010, 13:47