Song of the Day: Hey Man, Nice Shot by Filter
How to Write Good
By Frank L. Visco
My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:
- Avoid Alliteration. Always.
- Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
- Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat.)
- Employ the vernacular.
- Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
- Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
- It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
- Contractions aren’t necessary.
- Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
- One should never generalize.
- Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
- Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
- Don’t be redundant, don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
- Profanity sucks.
- Be more or less specific.
- Understatement is always best.
- Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
- One-word sentences? Eliminate.
- Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
- The passive voice is to be avoided.
- Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
- Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
- Who needs rhetorical questions?
Okay, show of hands. Who read through this list and realized they were guilty of one, two, or all of these infractions? Come on, I know I’m not the only one. Although this is a tongue in cheek (cliché!) list, there is a lesson here. (Parenthetical remark! One-word sentence! Egads, does it ever end? Oops, profanity & a rhetorical question.) Rules are meant to be broken. Well, maybe not always. Spending 24 hours in the city jail may have you rethinking that philosophy. However, when used appropriately a writer can break, bend, stretch, and reshape these rules and the many other “unwritten” rules and still write a powerful, effective, emotional piece of fiction. The key is to know the rules and understand why they are not to be tampered with. (Preposition.) Once you master them, then you will know how to effectually shatter them for your own gains.
I want to thank a special friend, William Simon for sending this to me. Gracias!
So, which of these crimes are you guilty of committing? Let me hear from you.