Diagnose You probably
have a problem with information flow if you:
1. Draw a line under
the first six or seven words and do not find the name of a character
that you have heard of before.
2. Circle the first major noun in the sentence and do not find
a word or idea that the previous sentences have led you to expect.
1. List the characters in the story, human and non-human.
Select one or a small group of characters that thread through your
3. Rearrange each sentence so that it begins with one of the characters
you have selected.
with Information Flow: An Example
The paragraph below is from a computer hardware manufacturer's
product guide given to potential and current clients. The guide
presents some general background on the company, together with
more specific descriptions of the systems and components the company
An accurate picture of the expectation of any given product is
obtained through a series of established product tests. For instance,
a variety of conditions are recreated in the Accelerated Aging
test, thus approximating actual use and ensuring faultless product
operation for the customer. Degradation and failures can be observed
in less time through the application of conditions more severe
Diagnose You have a problem with information flow because you:
Have not found characters that you have heard of before in the
first six or seven words:
An accurate picture of the expectation
of. . . .
2. Have not found that the first major noun in the sentence refers
to an idea that previous sentences have led you to expect.
picture of the expectation of. . . .
Here, you will have to take our word for it: this paragraph
starts a new section of the product guide, and nothing on the
pages made us expect that this section would begin with a discussion
of the abstraction "picture of the expectation."
1. List the characters in the story:
the manufacturer ("we" or "Signet Information Systems")
2. Select one or a small group of characters that thread through
Signet Information Systems, tests, products
3. Rearrange each sentence so that it begins with one of the
characters you have selected:
Signet Information Systems has established a series of product
tests designed to formulate an accurate picture of what can
be expected from any given product. The Accelerated Aging Test,
for instance, recreates a variety of conditions in order to ensure
that each product will operate faultlessly for the customer.
It has been developed to approximate more closely the actual use of
products. In accelerated testing, components are subjected
to conditions more severe than normal in order to speed up aging and obtain degradation
and failures in less time.