When you’re sending a singing telegram to your ex-wife to let her know that your son is lost in the mall, it’s best to keep things short and sweet. Here are six editing tips to shorten your message and make sure you’re getting your point across the best way possible.

1. Repeat important words and phrases throughout the song so the ideas stick: It’s important to say the most important words and phrases over and over again so your ex-wife is able to remember the big points. Things like “he doesn’t have his cell phone with him,” “I took his cell phone from him,” and “I used his cell phone as collateral so I could try on rings at Kay’s, and he disappeared before I could give it back to him” should appear multiple times in your song.


2. You don’t have to list every employee who was working at PacSun: You have plenty of information to get across as is, so you can definitely cut any lines you have that are just listing every person who was scheduled for a shift at PacSun today. Go with your gut: If it feels like you’re listing too many inconsequential employees, you probably are.

3. You don’t need to mention what race your son is: It’s important to keep in mind who exactly will be receiving the singing telegram about your lost son in the mall. In this case, it’s your ex-wife, which means she already knows what race your missing child is. So even if the lyrics are accurate and fit well in the musical sequence of the song, a line like “My white son, my white son / Was last seen holding three Cinnabons” is not necessary to the core message you’re trying to get across, so you’re better off cutting it.

4. Be sure to include a chorus: A singing telegram informing your ex-wife that your son is lost at the mall can get confusing if you don’t include a clear-cut chorus. Even a refrain as simple as “The boy disappeared, and I realized too late / To live forever in the mall may be our son’s fate” can work wonders in keeping your ex-wife from getting too confused.


5. If you mention Poseidon, you’re doing too much: While having your son disappear in the mall may feel like the God of the Seas is commanding the entire weight of the oceans to crash down upon you as you fall to your knees outside of FYE, there are simpler and clearer ways to get this point across. If you catch yourself writing a climactic verse about the legend of Poseidon, go ahead and take that whole part out.

6. Take out any lines that are plugs for Sunglass Hut: As no one from Sunglass Hut will ever hear this singing telegram, any lines that are targeted plugs for their stores are pretty much pointless. The message is solely about letting your ex-wife know that you are unable to find your son at the mall. Keep that in mind while editing, and you’re on your way to writing a concise, memorable song.