Don’t Be Obvious

I’m done grading student homeworks for the week, and one of the things that has come up a lot lately is “Don’t be obvious.” I actually priced rubber stamps with things on them like:

7 DEADLY SINS!
COLLEGE!!!!
IMAGE ORDER!
YSS! CHAP ____
DON’T REPEAT!
LESS DETAIL!
DESCRIPTION!
OBVIOUS!
UPPERCASE!
PROOFREAD!

Then I decided not to get them. Maybe I’ll illuminate a rubber stamp per blog for a while.

OBVIOUS! is pretty simple. Don’t tell us anything ANYTHING that is obvious.

He drops the pencil. It falls to the floor.

Well, DUUUUH! Where else is it going to fall? The ceiling? If we are living in Anti-Gravity Land or Bizzaro World, tell us stuff like that, but otherwise, if we can figure it out without your telling us, don’t tell us! Keep your toner to yourself, buddy.

She had a smile on her face.

This is in my book. Evidently my students aren’t reading my book. Ah well, that terrible lack of character will be reflected in their grade.

Where ELSE is the smile going to be? Her happy elbow? I think not.

I never had any friends to read my work out loud to me, but surely you have a friend or two who is willing to help you. Get them to read your work to you, out loud, SLOWLY and you listen (maybe read along) and see what smacks you as obvious, stuff you don’t HAVE to tell us… and then get rid of it.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Don’t Be Obvious

  1. Melody Lopez

    Get the stamps. It will make grading more fun for you. IMO

  2. Agree with Melody. Stamp ’em!

  3. Joleson

    Hah! From the way you marked up my script so very, very, very many times, it fell to the floor from the weight of all that stamp ink and I greedily snatched it up that I might learn another thing or two from your comments. Now, I stand at the door, hesitatingly, batedly, unabashedly, and am thinking about the possibilities of doing a full rewrite. Maybe casting someone with better writing skills as the protagonist’s typist. Maybe, just maybe.

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