How To Write Gooder
This is a humors listing of what not to dos in your writing – unless it’s poetry which adheres to no rules. I see these as general guidelines and not all hard and fast rules.
Indicated by italics, are examples and explanations where I thought it was necessary – for me ’cause I didn’t know what some of them words meant 😉
“How To Write Good”
by Frank L. Visco.
1. Avoid alliteration. Always. (Kim’s kid’s kept kiting.)
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. She is a person I cannot cope with. (The word with is a preposition. Consider re-wording.)
3. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.) And, like this one, outdated.
4. Employ the vernacular. (Write as you would speak.)
5. Eschew (another word for avoid) ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary. Use a dash.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive. Star Trek’s “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” “To boldly go” is a split infinitive. “Boldly” splits “to go.” * This rule is still up for debate.
8. Contractions aren’t necessary. Unless used in dialogue or writing articles in which minimal word count is stressed.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos. (Not appropriate.)
10. One should never generalize.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
12. Comparisons are as bad a clichés. Her words flowed like warm honey on a cold night.
13. Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
14. Profanity sucks.
15. Be more or less specific.
16. Understatement is always the best.
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate. * Debatable.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake. Dark is to light as laugh is to cry.
20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms. To “go bananas” – go insane or be very angry.
22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed. “So now what we are dealing with is the rubber meeting the road, and instead of biting the bullet on these issues, we just want to punt.”
23. Who needs rhetorical questions?
Until tomorrow – Write On!
~ K.L. Parry