<![CDATA[​Roaming Writer - Blog]]>Wed, 03 Oct 2018 06:24:23 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Tips for beginning interpretive writers]]>Thu, 31 Mar 2016 16:05:51 GMThttp://roamingwriter.ca/blog/tips-for-beginning-interpretive-writers
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Surrey Museum, BC
This week a former colleague asked me for a few resources for beginning interpretive writers, because he was looking to guide a few newbies whose panels were sounding like MA theses. Interpretive writing is one of those professions that doesn't have a clear path to get to. Most of the writers that I know learned on the job from more senior writers, reading books and maybe a few creative writing courses.

My own path to interpretive writing and planning was a circuitous route… from an undergrad in communications, to marketing, to an MA in film studies, to book publishing, to interpretive writing and exhibit development. It's common to have history, biology, environmental studies or other backgrounds before finding interpretation. I'll be honest, I didn't know the profession even existed when I heard of a job opening at my first interpretive design firm, AldrichPears Associates.

So here are a few practical tricks that I used when I started out. Some I still use today to check on my writing to make sure I'm on track.
  • One message per paragraph or panel! No matter how many times I remind myself of this, it is still a difficult one. If you're having trouble with your word count, the flow of your writing, or just can't seem to get everything you want to in one panel, then step back and reassess. Do you need to refine and reduce the content you are delivering? What's the main message? 
  • Active instead of passive voice. When I started out this was a tough one for me, because I was coming from a more academic background, where passive language was used all the time. It was programmed in me! To help catch my passive sentences I would use the Word "find" to search for the words would, should, and can. Wherever you have these words, you are bound to have a passive sentence.
  • Use an online readability tool. You can paste your text into the tool and it will give you a readability score. Generally, interpretive writing should be about a Grade 8 level.
  • Read the panel out loud. Imagine you are a parent reading to a child. Does the writing flow well when you read aloud?
  • Struggling with word count? Take out unnecessary "the"s, make sure to use contractions, and try restructuring your sentences to shorten them.

Have a tip to add? Or a question? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.


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<![CDATA[W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Centre Visit]]>Mon, 22 Feb 2016 23:28:26 GMThttp://roamingwriter.ca/blog/wac-bennett-dam-visitor-centre-visitIn January I had the opportunity to travel to Hudson's Hope, BC for meetings. Here are a few pictures from the Visitor Centre that I completed with W3 last spring. It was the first time I had a chance to see the installed exhibits. 
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The Power Smart house, with lots of tips for saving electricity.
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Interactive power grid
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Trout in a box
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Wildlife interactives
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