Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Look at the History of Luggage: And Thoughts From a Recovering English Teacher

Bear with me: There's a reason for doing the same topic twice running.

"The History of Luggage"
Jerry Smith, Article Alley
"Free content for your website or blog"
(March 21, 2006)

"Ever since man has moved from place to place and took his belongings with him some sort of luggage was used. It was used to keep all belongings together and even organized. Like everything luggage has evolved.

"Christopher Columbus likely had a trunk filled with clothing and necessary navigational tools such as maps. Trunks were often made of fine woods like oak, pine, or cedar. Others are made of a combination of materials including cloth and leather. Trunks were often ornately decorated with nails and brass clasps with locks. Families have passed them down through generations and have become family heirlooms...."

This history of luggage is even shorter that the other one I micro-reviewed. Mr. Smith's piece is 254 words long, Mr. Vorelli's has 448 words.

Shorter doesn't necessarily mean better - but in this case I think it helped. Mr. Smith's piece is easier reading, and doesn't have that list of product features - complete with an exclamation point. !

Overwrought Writing!

You'll notice that some writers use exclamation marks! A lot! Even when they aren't really necessary! There's a time and a place for the exclamation mark! But not at the end of every sentence!

The first time I noticed the over-use of exclamation marks was in a comic book! I was in my teens, and thought the story was okay, although I remember very few details! I do remember wondering why I found each dialog balloon so exciting!

It didn't make sense, because the writing was, well, not done very well!

That's when I noticed that there was an exclamation mark at the end of every sentence!

Even ones where it made little or no sense!

I've been careful about overusing that bit of punctuation ever since.

Being Brief, being Terse

How long to keep writing about a subject is partly a matter of how much space you have to work with, and partly a judgment call.

One of the reasons I like Twitter is that Twittering is really good exercise for me. I tend to write at length. With 140 characters to work with, and no more, each Tweet is an exercise in brevity for me.

I'll let you decide which of these two mini-articles on the history of luggage is best. Me? I prefer Mr. Smith's. He says at least as much as about the history of luggage, with roughly half the words.

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