mrdanielprice
Member

Writing Samples Critique Wanted

Hi, guys and gals.

 

I've decided to make some tweaks to my Upwork profile.

 

Instead of having tens of writing samples, I've opted to go for just four of my most recent articles, with the hopes that these are all a client needs to read to decide whether they should hire me.

 

I'd really appreciate it if some fellow article writers could take a look and let me know what they think; whether they're good or bad, and if there's anything I could improve on in my writing overall.

22 REPLIES 22
lysis10
Member

I hate writing and the one reason is because it's just so not black and white. lol  I've had customers say I'm terrible and some say I'm great. My repeat customers love me, but I've had a few jobs where they were just so unimpressed. I have no idea if I'm good or not but it's why I hate taking on new clients. I have no idea how it will turn out. I just do what I can and hope it works out.

 

Anyway, that's the hard part about critiquing. What I do know is that I just rewrote an article for a customer that was terrible. Fluff content that was 500 words and said nothing. That's where I think I come out ahead of competitors. I write about what I know, so even if my writing ain't perfect, the content I give them is good. They get info from an expert POV.

 

In the case of my customer, I looked at his history and see that he went with a writer who is more than half my price. He just paid me to rewrite it. He's been giving me more work lately, so although he tried cheap, I suppose he's figured out that he gets better quality from me and is now paying my price. If you know what you're talking about, you'll be miles ahead of the lowballers and clients will pay the price. Most of the time, I do 0 research and write from the top of my head.

 

Experience is where you can bank.


@Jennifer M wrote:

I hate writing and the one reason is because it's just so not black and white. lol  I've had customers say I'm terrible and some say I'm great. My repeat customers love me, but I've had a few jobs where they were just so unimpressed. I have no idea if I'm good or not but it's why I hate taking on new clients. I have no idea how it will turn out. I just do what I can and hope it works out.

 

Anyway, that's the hard part about critiquing. What I do know is that I just rewrote an article for a customer that was terrible. Fluff content that was 500 words and said nothing. That's where I think I come out ahead of competitors. I write about what I know, so even if my writing ain't perfect, the content I give them is good. They get info from an expert POV.

 

In the case of my customer, I looked at his history and see that he went with a writer who is more than half my price. He just paid me to rewrite it. He's been giving me more work lately, so although he tried cheap, I suppose he's figured out that he gets better quality from me and is now paying my price. If you know what you're talking about, you'll be miles ahead of the lowballers and clients will pay the price. Most of the time, I do 0 research and write from the top of my head.

 

Experience is where you can bank.


 That's an interesting point.

 

I've never had anyone tell me my writing is bad, but I have had a fair few tell me they really like my writing style. However, I don't always hear back from people I reach out to about work, so I've recently become a tad paranoid that it's my writing samples to blame.

 

Hence this thread.

"The upcoming first-person action game is set to get a closed beta this Friday, which will include main missions, side missions and more, along with testing its online systems."


"is set to get"

 

Edited version: "The upcoming first-person action game begins closed beta testing this Friday, which will include main missions, side missions and more, along with testing its online systems."

 

Important: Make sure you use begins instead of will begin. (Active voice instead of passive voice.)

 

Also, you could "tighten up" your writing. Read this: http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/concise.html


@Jake S wrote:

"The upcoming first-person action game is set to get a closed beta this Friday, which will include main missions, side missions and more, along with testing its online systems."


"is set to get"

 

Edited version: "The upcoming first-person action game begins closed beta testing this Friday, which will include main missions, side missions and more, along with testing its online systems."

 

Important: Make sure you use begins instead of will begin. (Active voice instead of passive voice.)

 

Also, you could "tighten up" your writing. Read this: http://writing2.richmond.edu/writing/wweb/concise.html


I would be more concerned about the relative clause, but hey 🙂

 

Appreciation for bringing up the "action word" thing though, that's sort my religion. I browsed some native English writers' portfolios the other day and the ratio of to be/not to be amazed me quite a bit.


@Jake S wrote:

Important: Make sure you use begins instead of will begin. (Active voice instead of passive voice.)

 


Neither one of these verbs is in the passive voice.

You're right. It's present tense vs. future tense? That would make "will begin" grammatically correct?

tlbp
Member

Daniel, it may be that I have not been paying attention since games aren't my genre, but I don't recall seeing a lot of quality posts for those jobs. Do you have any non-game writing samples that you could add to the mix?

 

It is my opinion that a writer who can compose sentences using decent English word choices and grammar can make a go of it here as a generalist. You probably will not garner premium rates for generalist work, but you can slowly start to grow your business. I suggest that you choose some topics of interest to you and write about them. 

 

As Jennifer mentioned, rewriting is a lucrative field. Often a proofreading or editing job is really more of a rewrite. I have gained repeat customers by being able and willing to look up information to recraft a sentence that was incomprehensible. Being someone's go-to person when they need something fast is beneficial. (Finally, my insomnia pays off.)

 

I know many people don't use grammar checking software, but I do. I still look at the changes suggested by the software to determine if they are needed or even accurate.  Using the software allows me to pinpoint some of my weaknesses.

 

If you look at articles online, they tend to fall into a variety of styles from very casual to very analytical. What draws a client to a particular writer is often his or her own style. For instance, I was an epic fail at pop-culture, casual writing.  Ask me to explain complicated facts in simple terms and I perform much better. Smiley Wink

 

I've not looked at your samples yet but wanted to offer some general guidance. Based on my extensive experience of 5 whole months as a freelancer. LOL

 

I think a willingness to learn and adapt will be your greatest assets.

If he can get himself on at least semi-popular sites, he'll pwn the competition. I don't see many video game options here except from people who sound like kids or your standard broke blogger. But then again, I don't search them out either.


I think Tonya's advice to try to branch out a little is solid. Maybe try your hand at expertise in another area related to gaming that you can tie in with the gaming area.


@Tonya P wrote:

Daniel, it may be that I have not been paying attention since games aren't my genre, but I don't recall seeing a lot of quality posts for those jobs.


 You're right, video game news writing jobs are once in a blue moon here on Upwork, but I also try to get work through one other freelance platform and by email (either responding to ads or by reaching out to various sites, advertising my services to them).

 


@Tonya P wrote:

Do you have any non-game writing samples that you could add to the mix?


 I don't and writing stuff not related to gaming doesn't interest me at the moment.

 

Sure, it sucks not being able to land any decently paying work, but it sucks way more knowing I cold do more to help my get some good writing gig (i.e. having great samples to showcase to clients).

At a glance:

 

You have multiple punctuation errors. At one point you have 'it's' instead of 'its', your commas are in the wrong places and you've miscapitalised in places.

 

The byline states 'MrDanielPrice'. Why no spaces and why the honorific?

 

One article is headed with 'begins next week' - looks odd unless the publication date is prominent.

 

 

Daniel,

 

This is 100% unsolicited but I suggest you post an invite only job for Kim (her post is above my response) and see if she is willing to work with you.  Kim is a superb and many time published author and I've worked with her as an editor.  She's about the best you can get!


@Wendy C wrote:

Daniel,

 

This is 100% unsolicited but I suggest you post an invite only job for Kim (her post is above my response) and see if she is willing to work with you.  Kim is a superb and many time published author and I've worked with her as an editor.  She's about the best you can get!


 I'll certainly take that into consideration. I know a great proofreader I used back when I used to write fiction, so might get in touch with her and see if she can take a look at these for me (she usually only takes on bigger budget work).


Kim F wrote: 

The byline states 'MrDanielPrice'. Why no spaces and why the honorific? 


 There are no spaces because that particular site uses usernames, instead of allowing people to display their names however they wish.

 


Kim F wrote: 

One article is headed with 'begins next week' - looks odd unless the publication date is prominent.


 I see you point. However, people generally read the news when it goes live (or pretty close to it), so the context for "next week" is obvious, unless you're reading it quite a while after it was published.

 


@Kim F wrote:

At a glance:

 

You have multiple punctuation errors. At one point you have 'it's' instead of 'its', your commas are in the wrong places and you've miscapitalised in places.


 Thank you about the "it's" instead of "its" typo. Amended.

 

There's a big difference between typos like "it's" and misplaced commas, other punctuation errors and capitalisation.

 

I'd really appreciate it if you could point to some examples of these errors, as I've read through them again and can't see anything (then again, it's **bleep** near impossible to see all mistakes in your own writing, as you can tell with the "it's" hiccup.).

 

As far as miscapitalisation is concerned, I presume you're referring to the following cases: "M for Mature", "Social Play", "Trautman Challenges" and "Frontrunner".

 

M for Mature - "Mature" is capitalised here because it's the name of the rating itself.

 

Social Play - These two words are capitalised because it's the name of a feature, not just the regular use of the words "social" and "play".

 

"Trautman Challenges" - The publisher styled this as being capitalised, so I did, too.

 

"Frontrunner" - This is capitalised as it refers to someone who signed up via email for the beta weeks or months ahead of its release. The developer capitalised the word in their official blog posts, so I did, too. It also separates it from the definitions outlined by Oxford Dictionaries for "front runner".

 

Apart from those, I can't see any other instances that you could be referring to with regards to miscapitalisation. Hope this clarifies some things.

I think it is a good plan to find someone to work with as a proofreader as it is so difficult to proof one's own work. 

@Wendy: Thanks for the unexpected applause 🙂

 

@Daniel: You might find an editor more helpful than a proofreader.

 

The ‘next week’ thing: I was thinking in terms of a portfolio piece as that was your question. Plus on the web – versus in print – you can’t possibly know when the piece is read.

 

‘There's a big difference between typos like "it's" and misplaced commas, other punctuation errors and capitalisation.’

 

I disagree. An error is an error. Why and how it’s an error is obviously relevant to you on your own personal learning curve, but not to anyone editing your work.

 

Miscapitalisation: If I were editing your work I might debate some of the examples you gave, but I was actually thinking of (for example) ‘service packs’ that appears capitalised in one piece.

 

definitions outlined by Oxford Dictionaries’: You mean the OED? Although it’s unlikely to make a lot of difference in this instance, I’d strongly suggest you use an American English dictionary when writing in AmE as there are some surprising difference in nuance between BrE and AmE. Plus capitalisation is often a style rather than grammar issue, so your favourite style guide would be more relevant here.

 

And sorry, but no. I’m not going to fully edit your pieces here. Apart from the fact I usually get paid for such things, I don’t have the free time to do so, and it would open up the possibility of a rush of pleas to check people’s grammar. Plus even if doing that sort of thing made me happy, I don’t think it’s appropriate here.

 

@Tonya: I agree in principle, but that often isn’t cost-effective for shorter pieces, and there may not be time. However, most people have some bad writing habits and repeat their mistakes, so even paying someone to edit/proof a representative sample of your work can be enlightening.

Okay, so I'm going to reach out to the editor and ask her if she can take a look at the pieces.

 

Kim, I won't bother discussing the errors and problems in my writing further, so it not to take up anymore of your or my own time. I'd like to thank you, however, for bringing up the issues in my writing, whether or not we see eye to eye that all of them are genuine. I'm very grateful.

 

While I am at the mercy of this particular site's own editors (they make changes and have the final say on what the published piece reads/looks like), I will try my best.

 

As far as the general quality of the articles, from a journalism and reader's perspective, if anyone wants to chime in on that note please do, especially if you read video game news yourself.

 

I'll stop here and try not to embarrass myself further. Hopefully, I will come away having been alerted to some ways I could write and/or edit my own pieces better in the future.

If you land gigs with bigger sites, they have an editor fix your stuff anyway. What's great is they edit your work AND give you a byline. It's sweet.


@Jennifer M wrote:

If you land gigs with bigger sites, they have an editor fix your stuff anyway. What's great is they edit your work AND give you a byline. It's sweet.


 I thought as much. Seems the editors are somewhat subpar for the sites I've written for in the past.

 

Just making sure I have samples that are great to get those gigs seems to be the tough part.

It's best to specialize here, but I'm not sure how many gaming opportunities there are. I'm not looking for them, so maybe there are a ton and I just don't know it. 

 

Where you will struggle is that gaming is one of those guy in his mom's basement making a WordPress blog things. Of course, these guys have no money.

 

 


@Jennifer M wrote:

It's best to specialize here, but I'm not sure how many gaming opportunities there are. I'm not looking for them, so maybe there are a ton and I just don't know it. 

 

Where you will struggle is that gaming is one of those guy in his mom's basement making a WordPress blog things. Of course, these guys have no money.


 LOL, I have come across plenty of people like that.

 

I wouldn't use that exact wording (as I personally find it quite offensive, stereotypical and bordering on bullying), but there are way too many wannabes who just create a site and then never put any real money into the idea (namely being unable to pay writers).

 

There are, however, I good handful of legitimate sites out there, so hopefully there may be some decent work one day.

I stereotype people all the time. It's how I can detect good clients and don't get scammed.

 

Anyone living with their mom after 30 is a loser and I avoid them like the plague IRL and online.

 

You'll find that you need to if you want to get paid. This forum is filled with SJW who gave that guy in Nigeria a chance because maybe he's a great guy who just wants to send them a check.

I was referring to you stereotyping people on a personal level, not a professional one.

 

Wow, I'm actually pretty surprised by your comment there. Not sure why, but I always thought you were a pretty nice person.

 


@Jennifer M wrote:

Anyone living with their mom after 30 is a loser and I avoid them like the plague IRL and online.


 You're on a pretty high pedestal there with that one. I guess you're better off being homeless then? Is this "loser" status allocated to those 30+ living with their mother or do you get a free pass if it's your father? Or does "mom" really mean "family/relative"?

 

You also seem to be a tad old to be using words like "loser" and to have such a negative reaction to older people who are living with their parent(s).

 

You'd think I knew somebody in this situation, but I don't.

 

Anyway, this is super off-topic, so I'll stop here.