Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top 10 Ways NOT to Improve Your Writing

10) Don't use a thesaurus. Go ahead and say "season" twenty times on one page.

9) Overuse the semicolon; it's such a cute little punctuation mark; and gets so little respect.

8) Always put the period outside the quotation marks.

7) Use cute little "catch phrases" and be sure to place quotation marks around them so the reader "gets" it.

6) Devote your first five chapters to your main character's history. Don't get to the action til the reader has completely lost interest.

5) Write like you text, using hip abbreviations like omg and lol, and be sure to end each sentence with lots of exclamation points!!!!!

4) Writing long and drawn-out sentences will surely entice the reader and lead him into the story by preventing him from lifting his eyes from the page, something that would divert his attention from the intense scene being played out before him and would thus alert him to the fact that he hasn't eaten in several hours or had a drop to drink since he awoke that morning; hence, such weakness may incite hallucinations that cause him to wonder if the characters about whom he is reading are truly fictional or if they are indeed living, breathing people stalking him, hovering over his shoulder, about to throw him from the train.

3) Reciting lofty words and abstract thoughts will educate your reader and require him to utilize a nearby dictionary and encyclopedia.

2) Give your characters unique names that are impossible to pronounce.


1) Be sure to take excessive pride in every word you write, knowing each first draft is a certain masterpiece in need of no editing.

Follow these 10 simple guidelines, and you will definitely NOT improve your writing. In 2010, may God grant you discernment to avoid these fatal flaws, and may you receive lots of acceptance letters!


tina.ari said...

#3: I was speaking to a co-worker last week about authors and she was telling me about this author she LOVES because she has to use her dictionary through most of his books! Surprisingly, I do not recall his name. You can bet that I won't be reading HIS books. I enjoy learning, but reading is my escape and my passion and I'd rather not be beaten over the head by someone's over-education (ha ha ha).

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jodi -

I popped over here from Facebook. Your tongue-in-cheek style appeals to me. I've signed up as a follower.

Susan :)

bdg said...

Good list. And furthering the tongue-in-cheek tone, there's a typo in #4. "my" instead of "may." (note the period INSIDE the quotation mark).

Hope all is well on your side of this screen.


Jodi Whisenhunt said...

Leave it to my own cousin to point out my mistake! Gee thanks, Brent. Fixing now. (No, really, thanks!)

Tina, books can indeed be educational, but unless your target audience is a group of scholars, casual language is much easier to read.

Thank you for joining me, Susan! Glad to have you!

Dawn Herring said...

Well done, Jodi. Love the humorous approach, especially the one about the run on sentence.;)

Jodi Whisenhunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodi Whisenhunt said...

Thanks, Dawn! I know you won't do any of these things!

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