Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rules for Writers

By Joe Moore

Who said there are no rules for writers? Of course there are:

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid clichés like the plague.
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
16. Don't use no double negatives.
17. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. . .
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be ignored.
21. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
22. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
23. Kill all exclamation points!!!
24. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
25. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
26. Use the apostrophe in it's proper place and omit it when its not needed.
27. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
28. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
29. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
30. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
31. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
32. Who needs rhetorical questions?
33. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
And finally...
34. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Did we miss any?


  1. Love these, Joe! "Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake." That brings to mind southern sayings I grew up with, like "You look as happy as a tick on a fat dog." There are some much earthier ones, but I blush to post any!

  2. Very funny. I just had shoulder surgery yesterday. Luckily the drugs I'm on reduced my laughter to a stoned chuckle, otherwise I'd be crying from the pain.

  3. I'm editing right now, and here are my pitfalls: overuse of the word "just" and my real Achilles heel, having my characters "start to" or "begin to" plus a verb. Not good, and there are lots of 'em in there. I'm on a search and destroy mission for those.

  4. Love these. I may have to post them in my classroom for my seniors. Thanks Mr. Moore!

  5. Joe. That one was informative and funny.