A Critique

Voice Card  -  Volume 19  -  John Card Number 17  -  Fri, Apr 5, 1991 12:11 AM

This is a response to VC 19 Drury 33 ("Cold Nutrition")...

Basically, Drury, I'm quite impressed. You seem to be insecure about your writing abilities, but in fact your sentences are clear, straightforward, gramatically correct, and to the point. Thus my suggestions are little more than nit-picking. I'll start from the grass roots level and work my way up:

- "there is 1.75 times increase" is a slightly awkward. How about "there is a 75% increase"?

- Break your text into shorter paragraphs. The reader needs a chance to sort and store the information she is receiving; paragraph breaks provide a signal to add another brick to the wall, so to speak. And a long column of text without a break can be rather intimidating. Fortunately, your text is already organized into a logical, orderly sequence. So all you have to do is hit the return key every now and then.

- I'm not exactly clear about how this is going to be used and what your audience is, so take this last comment with a grain of salt. I wonder if you are telling the questioner more than he really wants to know and at the same time not giving him information he can really use.

Basically, the question is "What kind of seeds should I feed my bird in the winter?" and the bottom line answer is "gradually offer more fatty seeds, nuts, and legumes to the basic diet." Two problems: First, it took about ten minutes to get to this basic answer. You could probably cut out some of your caveats and deep background. WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT!

Second, to a regular joe like me, "fatty seeds and legumes" is a bit too vague. Can you be more specific? Like what kind of seeds excatly? Pumpkin seeds? Sunflower seeds? I'm sorry, but I couldn't tell the difference between a fatty legume and a skinny legume if my life depended on it.

Of course, maybe it was not your intention to answer such a simple question. Your commentary was quite interesting and opened my eyes to the complexity of diets and the radical differences between even related species. If this is the information you want to present, you might consider changing the question instead. So either make the question more general or the answer more specific.

That's about all that strikes me. Let me say one more time that your text is quite sound just as it is. My suggestions might make it slightly better, but it could be published just as it is. When I was teaching comp I could only dream of text as coherent as this! Good work!