It’s Kind of Hard to Explain…

Most people like to have questions answered in a way that is short and to the point without being terse.  Even when they are seeking complex information, the briefer you can make it, the happier they will be.

Last night I experienced the positive side of this.  I needed to know how to return a DVD from Amazon.com that was scratched.  The website had a very straightforward, bullet-pointed process that was easy to understand.

Unfortunately, there are some concepts that can’t be explained as succinctly, particularly in writing.

I brought some genetics into Dragon, because it was necessary to explain how a human woman could give birth to a dragon.  In order to make the concept understandable, I had a character explain and demonstrate with biscuits.  I think it turned out pretty clear, but it took 325 words.

I’m experiencing the same problem tonight, from the questioner side.  The football announcers keep mentioning this “read option” and assuming I know what that means.  I don’t.  So I took to the internet to find the answer.  It turns out that football concepts are hard to describe succinctly or even clearly, at least with text.  (I have a feeling that many sports concepts are better explained with a visual example.)  I finally did find an explanation of it, although still a bit wordier than necessary, so I at least have an idea of what is going on.

The next time I have to say “It’s kind of hard to explain,” I’ll try to remember my frustration with this football concept and be as understanding as I can to the person asking the question.

(If you are now wondering about the read option – it’s an offensive play that lets the quarterback choose if he wants to hand the ball to the running back or run it himself, based on how the defense lines up.  Okay, maybe that wasn’t so hard to explain; perhaps the sports writers just need to try to simplify things and leave out all the jargon and extra details!)

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