Introducing the 2010 Toyota Prius, part of this complete eco-friendly experience.
As an editor, do you ever see the same darn copy coming across your desk, with a few nouns and verbs changed out? As a writer, do you ever get stuck in a formula for writing a certain type of article or story?
My local newspaper’s website, Mlive.com, just posted this lovely piece of copy to their homepage, (sorry, Mlive):
“Heading to Detroit this weekend for the North American International Auto Show? MLive.com has you covered with what you’ll need to know and everything you’ll want to see. With dozens of electric and hybrid vehicles taking center stage, be ready for an eco-friendly experience.”
Nothing really wrong with writing a little blurb like this on deadline, right? But I swear I’ve seen this exact copy, with a tweak here and there, on my desk about 100 times, AND on MSNBC, AND on pretty much any other news site with a “weekend guide.” Is this the weekend guide formula? Let’s break this down into a mad lib and see how hard this little piece of copy can be made to work:
“_VERB_ing to _NOUN_ this weekend for the _ADJECTIVE_ _NOUN_? We have you covered with what you’ll need to _VERB_ and everything you’ll want to _VERB_. With dozens of _PL NOUN_ taking center stage, be ready for a(n) _ADJECTIVE_ experience.”
What can you make of this?
Heading to Neiman Marcus this weekend for the oh-so-hot Reem Acra trunk show? (The girls love Reem!) We have you covered with what you need to wear and everything you’ll want to snatch up to make your day a dream. With dozens of new designs taking center stage, be ready for a bridal smackdown shopping experience. (Hint: Bring your brass knuckles.)
Well, that’s a few extra words, but you see what I mean? Automotive copy reads like this, Access Hollywood talks like this, and on and on. My fix? Rather than hang myself by my press pass, I tend to rearrange the sentence structures. And again, there may be nothing wrong with what you’ve got–unless last month’s copy looked a lot like it, and the month before that…. Here’s a quick “blender” fix for your copy:
The North American International Auto Show is on this weekend, with dozens of the latest hybrids, electrics, and futuristic concepts taking center stage. It’s a lot to take in, but we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide for everything you’ll want to see and do at this year’s show.
Or whatever. It won’t win a Pulitzer, but it may save your editor’s life.