Posted by: jeannineatkins | September 4, 2009

Words and their Trimmers

This week my daughter started an internship in the marketing department of a toy company. She’s very excited to have been given her own cubicle, email account, phone extension, and garage clicker, and to have a great boss who took her out to lunch the first day and introduced to her to many people, including a woman whose office includes lots of photos from Twilight. Emily’s been working on press releases and catalogue copy. She told me, “I have to describe the product and make it sound great, put in licensing information, layout dates, which keep changing, who to contact, all this stuff in just a little space. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get everything into just a few sentences.”

Um, actually I would believe how very hard that is.

Then we went on to discuss colons, semi-colons, and if there is ever a correct time to put a period outside of the parenthesis.



  1. Aw, sounds like a great internship!! I remember Mark Twain said (paraphrasing here), “If I had more time, I would have written shorter.”

  2. What a neat job! Sounds like writer’s training camp.

  3. Sounds like she has a fun job.
    It IS hard to put things into a few words.
    I’m sure I’ve seen a period outside a parenthesis. But where? And why?
    The mysteries of writing. . .

  4. I believe how hard it is, too.

  5. random commenter
    sounds like they are treating her well over at that internship :0)

  6. She feels very lucky and grateful to have this internship.
    And Mark Twain, yes. Even paraphrased, he is genius.

  7. Yes, writer’s training camp. But they probably dress better in their near L.A. offices.
    Have a good day in your “office” with its regularly posted hours. I’m happy that’s working out for you.

  8. Now I’m wondering if I even wrote that right. It’s too early in the day for me to consider the fine points of punctuation. At least there’s always something for us to ponder!

  9. Yes, you would believe. Poetry and PR do have something in common re concision and control.

  10. Re: random commenter
    Hey, random commenter!
    So far, so good. She even escaped an afternoon at the shredding machine!

  11. “You wouldn’t believe…” Ha! 🙂

  12. I meant to say this last night, but Emily should get her hands on a grammar handbook–Ann Raimes or Diana Hacker have good ones. You can look up all those nasty rules you think you should know but really don’t. I always tell my students, you don’t have to know everything about grammar, you just have to know what you don’t know so you can look it up!

  13. Re: random commenter
    hello! That is good to hear, internships can be tough, I know from experience :0)

  14. So funny! I’m glad Emily has such a great internship. There’s nothing like having to write tight to make you appreciate the skill of poets.

  15. Thanks for the suggestions re handbooks, Dina. I’ll pass them on!

  16. I know I was a lot older when it occurred to me that the object wasn’t just to write but to pull in the reigns; what a balancing act.
    Yes, Emily feels quite pleased with this internship; she was in the right place and the right time and stepped up.
    Have a good weekend, Amy!

  17. Yay for Emily! And what fun to have a daughter with whom you can discuss the fine points of punctuation.

  18. “Um, actually I would believe how very hard that is.”

  19. Yes, I love talking with my daughter and love talking punctuation, so what more can I ask?
    Have a good weekend, Susan!

  20. I guess until you really sit down and try to boil something down you’re not going to believe how hard it is. Thus all the people in the world who think they might knock off a picture book one evening. I’m glad she’s having this experience.
    Have a great weekend, Jenn. I just picked up Prophecy of the Sisters after reading your review, so I’m excited!

  21. Sounds like a fun internship! For some reason, I thought of the movie, Big, the one with Tom Hanks. Will your daughter get to play with the toys?

  22. That sounds like a great experience for her!

  23. I forgot about that movie — I’ll have to see it again!
    No playing with toys yet, but she said the woman who’s a Twilight fan used Bella and Edward dolls as stands in for a demo of something not yet developed.
    Best wishes for the upcoming Sept. mornings!

  24. And when there’s all that cool history you’ve researched you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to put everything into a couple hundred pages.

  25. Killing our darlings: one of the hardest parts of the process, I think, especially for lovers of research.
    Hope your retreat left you inspired!

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