FreshVoice’s Great Content Map: Part 1

Mourn ye not the loss of those nasty, useless websites from the 1990s. We’ve moved past those early, unsophisticated days of Al Gore’s invention and today the Internet is an ecosphere teeming with intelligent design. Content that appears carelessly has a hard time competing against its highly-realized and sophisticated brethren; this is Darwinism at a literary level.

If you’re going to shout above that din, you can’t be merely a Wielder of Words, a Purveyor of Progress or a Thinker of Thoughts. You need to be a Crafter of Content!

What can we learn about capturing an audience’s hearts and minds by considering not just what words and sentences to use in which order, but how and where they appear on a page, and what appears around them?

When you get down to the bones of a great piece of contemporary content, everything is carefully sculpted and delicately connected. This is what I call the Content Map. It’s the architecture overlaying the actual words, like signposts on a journey, or finding clues on a treasure hunt. The Content Map provides direction and motivates the reader to continue.  Continue reading

Manuscript Mark-Up: Are YOU a billboard punctuator?

A guest-post by Suzy Manuscript Marker

A warm welcome to the first edition of Manuscript Mark-Up.

I hope we’ll have all sorts of fun together, and talk about the stuff of writing without getting our shorts in a knot. This should be a relaxing experience. (Listen to this as you read along!)

Today I’d like to discuss an editorial phenomenon I call billboard“billboard punctuation”that is, the incorrectly applied punctuation used mostly by novice writers who believe these props will enhance words, phrases or messages in their work.

Unfortunately, the reverse is often true, causing (at best) momentary confusion with readers and (at worst) an eventual loss of the author’s credibility as a writer, and potentially as a subject matter expert.

Punctuation creates a road-map for your dear readers, and you want to carry them along the path gently and without distraction from your all-important message. Good writing is an art and a science. So how can you reduce or eliminate billboard punctuation from your writing?

Here are four suggestions to consider:

Continue reading