Tuesday, 27 January 2009

'Describe the iPod'

I had a review on Youwriteon recently of Catch a Falling Star. Among other advice was the terse instruction, 'Describe the iPod.'

Presumably my critic wanted me to say something like, 'He fished the tiny audio device, not much larger than a Christmas postage stamp, from his pocket, admiring its sleek silver lines, and fitted the white earphones into his ears'. But it seemed to me that if a reader hadn't come across something as ubiquitous and universal as an iPod, then frankly he should not waste his time reading further, as he would not be getting any of the cultural references in the book and would find the whole thing mystifying.

I have to admit, though, that it's one of the trickiest things in writing; what to put in and what to leave out. I'm still working on that one.


  1. Can't please all of the people all of the time, Lexi. Really wouldn't worry - just follow your gut on what to keep and what to chop. The other possibility could be that the reviewer enjoyed the way you'd described other things and wanted more. Or was struggling for something to say.


  2. "Describe the iPod"?

    Ya gotta be kidding.

    "Describe the phone."

    "Describe the stoplight."

    "Describe the fork."

    "Describe the box of cereal."

    "Describe the pocket lint."

    I think you know well enough that any review on either YWO or Authonomy or any other place where the credentials and/or abilities of the reviewers can range from Excellent to Nonexistent that includes anything in the way of a terse instruction is to be tossed overboard with nary a qualm or glance over the shoulder to see if anyone is looking.

  3. Just as long as it doesn't hit anyone, Alan.

    Must keep ticking those Health and Safety boxes...

  4. You are right, of course. Paper cuts can be nasty.

    But still. "Describe the iPod"?

    For goodness sake, that's just wacko.

  5. Heh. Heh heh heh heh. Dear God. Why? Why describe the ipod? WHY? Madness.