The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #28 July / August 2017
Letter From The Editor
The Finer Points
by Erik Zidowecki
July / August 2017 | 

"The devil is in the details" is an American English idiom, meaning "there is a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected."

It can be taken in a negative way, as in something bad is hidden, but the more common usage is that the hardest and perhaps more important part is in the smallest pieces.

For me, it points to how we need to pay attention to every detail, no matter how small, to make something great. A good example of that is a magazine. Writing articles is just the first part. When you start formatting the layout, you need to make sure of certain things, like there are no orphan or widow lines, that there is enough space between images and text, etc. After that, you have pull quotes, drop letters, end signs - all important items which make the difference between a good piece of work and a great one.

In this issue's book review, I found an excellent example of this with the cover of Dreaming Sophia. Many book covers contain an image, a title, the author's name, and little else. This cover, however, is probably the most beautiful and detailed book cover I have ever seen. The author, Melissa Muldoon, obviously put in a huge amount of time and effort into creating it as a work of art, and it makes the book stand out.

Another highly detailed work which inspired me was a video recently created by Benny Lewis. He made it to celebrate polyglot Steve Kaufman's YouTube channel turning ten years old. With the help of several others of the language community, he created a video designed to look like a news broadcast from the fictional Polyglot News Network (PNN). He had multiple clips from people in different locations, using multiple languages, and incorporating humor, making it more satirical.

But what truly impressed me was the editing and special effects. He's got the fancy news backgrounds and professional title foregrounds. He even has the tricky illusion of "live broadcast" by showing the anchor (himself) on his producer's (Olly Richards) screen, while being corrected on the pronunciation of "Ling-Q".

The effort and thought that went into making the video are evident because of all those minor things which make it a whole product.

The devil is in the details.

Erik Zidowecki

Letter From the Editor - The Finer Points
Writer: Erik Zidowecki
Petey: Coffee with cream

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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