Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Revisiting the Top 10

After reading some articles that recently crossed my desk, I feel compelled to re-publish a bit of slapstick sarcasm, Top 10 Ways NOT to Improve Your Writing. While I jest, the advice is spoken in love and sincerity. I do want to enable my clients and blog readers to present the best quality material they possibly can. It's important to write with correct structure, formatting, grammar, and word usage so that errors don't detract from your message. It's never a good thing when your reader laughs at a mistake and misses the point you're trying to make.

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. May God grant you discernment to avoid these fatal flaws, and may you receive lots of acceptance letters!


Lynnda - Passionate for the Glory of God said...

Oh, yes, I fight every one of the items on your list.

Thanks, Jodi.

Kel said...

I love this.:) As an aspiring writer, I'll make sure to use each of these great rules! LOL!

Suzanne said...

ROTFLOL, Jodi. Especially about #1.

Jodi Whisenhunt said...

Heehee! Hope it helps!

John M. Wills said...

Excellent post, thank you. I will link on my blog.

John Wills

Jodi Whisenhunt said...

Thanks, John! I appreciate the link-up!

K.M. Weiland said...

Important points, every one. Number 7 is a particular "peeve" of mine.

Jodi Whisenhunt said...

In my freelance editing work, I see #9; a lot! ;)

LauraLee Shaw said...

hehe. Number 8 drives me crazy, but I'm pretty bad about #7.

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