Back at it! And I’m happy to report another advancement. After going through both the original effort and my revised effort essentially side-by-side, there was a clear winner. The winner was the revised version, but that’s not really a surprise. Interestingly enough, I found the feedback from the instructor echoed much of the critique I gave myself prior to submission.
Visually on the page, the revised effort looks far cleaner and less hectic than a few giant paragraphs. In our real lives we have countless experiences, for example, our emails where when you open it up you can see the blast of text vomit. It’s that one gigantic block of text that you groan about upon seeing. Now, I understand that our informal emails between friends are what they are — informal. I guess the point and realization are this is exactly why you have to be very diligent about your work. The instructor constantly reiterates to “transcribe with the reader in mind,” so if it’s something that gives you pause in your regular daily life, you can bet that the scrutiny of your client is going to be at a much higher level. Here’s hoping these lessons will carry over in my real life correspondence, too! I have no doubt they will.
The other tidbits of feedback were comparisons to eating. It’s better to bite off and chew smaller pieces than it is to jam the whole pie into your mouth. So on the page it looked cleaner, but it also reads cleaner. When it was suggested to read each aloud to myself, despite being exactly the same words, my reading pace was decidedly different in each case. You can both hear and feel the transitional tone when you break things up into more easily digested paragraphs instead of trying to eat the whole pie in one big snarf! That’s what the reader wants.
The final suggestion with regard to proper paragraphing was that sometimes you’ll want to deviate from the norm, but pick and choose the moments to do so. That is to say that even though there are occasions where one big giant paragraph my be technically correct, it may still be the wiser choice to go ahead and find a reasonably appropriate spot or two to break it up into those more digestible pieces for your end user who is, quite importantly, the person who is paying you to do great work.
So for next time I tossed the instructor some questions about the gobbledygook that is legal terminology. I may have a few laughs for you on that one because a lot of it seems like a foreign language… because it is! This is often where having a legal dictionary would be great, but how many of us would give any consideration to getting one? Exactly, me neither. My understanding is this is where friends and the search engines are our support staff.
Until next time… (Also in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve started typing with TWO spaces after punctuation at the end of a sentence. Let me tell you what a nightmare that is! Ugh…. essentially some clients want two spaces as a carryover from typewriters, while some clients are returning to one space. So I’m trying both so I can be prepared!)