1. Crazy Ivan

    Crazy Ivan New Member

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    The 'Rules' of writing.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Crazy Ivan, Jun 20, 2007.

    Here are several very important but often forgotten rules of English:

    1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

    2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

    3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)

    4. Employ the vernacular.

    5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

    6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

    7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

    8. Contractions aren't necessary.

    9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

    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 as cliches.

    13. Don't be redundant; don't more use words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

    14. Profanity sucks.

    15. Be more or less specific.

    16. Understatement is always best.

    17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

    18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

    19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

    20. The passive voice is to be avoided.

    21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

    22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

    23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

    24. While a transcendent vocabulary is laudable, one must nevertheless keep incessant surveillance against such loquacious, effusive, voluble verbosity that the calculated objective of communication becomes ensconced in obscurity.

    25. In a sentence, the nouns has to match the verbs.

    26. Don't use no double negatives.

    27. In writing, few things are, so to speak, more infuriating, than, say, commas, at least when there are too many of them, or when they should be, say, semicolons.

    28. Proofread your work, so you don't leave some out or forget to finish

    29. Run-on sentences are really bad because the reader saturates and what you really should be doing is using commas and semicolons and even periods to break the sentence up into more digestible chunks.

    30. To have been using excessively complex verb constructions, is to have been bopping the literary baloney.

    31. A friend I spoken with recently told me he been forgetting his helper verbs.
     
  2. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Chuckle. This is priceless! Thanks, Ivan
     
  3. EyezForYou

    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Rules are meant to be broken, kid. :cool:
     
  4. EyezForYou

    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Here are better rules, quoted from a different writer's board. Her name is Katrina on OneOfUs:
     
  5. EyezForYou

    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Continued:
     
  6. EyezForYou

    EyezForYou Active Member

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    As I've said many times before, use the active, not passive voice.

    Good luck on using these true-and-tried methods.
     
  7. Crazy Ivan

    Crazy Ivan New Member

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    Um...
    This was a joke topic.
    *siiigh*
     
  8. Crazy Ivan

    Crazy Ivan New Member

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    Also, if you want more of this type of humor, try it out here:
    Tina's Humor Archives

    EDIT: Whoops, sorry for the DP. >.>
     
  9. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ivan,

    It was a joke topic, but each caveat did illustrate a violation of the rule being touted in reverse.

    Setting aside the humor aspect, both yours and Eyes' contributions point out some important guidelines of style.

    My only issue with Eyes' portion is that the attribution of the quote is a bit vague. It acknowledges another source, but without enough information to be sure whether that source wrote it herself or lifted it from another source - a potential inadvertent plagiarism issue.
     
  10. Nadala

    Nadala Banned

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    Well joke or not, on the subject of writing rules a must have book on the rules of writing is make your words work by Gary Provost. It's a real writers bible
     
  11. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not familiar with that one. I use Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" and "The Little, Brown Handbook" for the most part (US English).

    The Penguin Guide to Punctuation appears to be a major reference for UK English usage. Anyone have other references, and for which English dialect are they primarily written?
     
  12. blubttrfl

    blubttrfl New Member

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    i'll have to agree. many books we read break these rules like crazy and somehow, it works. so if the writer knows what they're doing, most of these rules can be broken without the reader even noticing because somehow, it just works...
    now, for novice writers (like me :p) we have to stick to the rules, which i can never bring myself to do hehehhe
    (i read this list once before, but it was used for students writing research papers not for creative writing)
     
  13. Sturdy

    Sturdy New Member

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    Letter to a Triple-Threat Grammarian by George Feinstein

    Dear sir, you never past me in grammar because you was prejudice but I got this here athaletic scholarship anyway. Well, the other day I finely get to writing the rule's down so as I can always study it if they ever slip my mind.

    1. Each pronoun with their antecedent.

    2. Just between you and I, case is important.

    3. Verbs has to agree with their subject.

    4. Watch out for the irregular verbs which has crope into our language.

    5. Don't use no double negatives.

    6. A writer musn't shift your point of view.

    7. When dangling, don't use participles.

    8. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.

    9. Don't write a run-on sentence you got to punctuate it.

    10. About sentence fragments.

    11. In letter themes reports articles and stuff like that we use commas to keep a string of items apart.

    12. Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.

    13. Its important to use apostrophe's right.

    14. Don't abbev.

    15. In my opinion, I think that an author when he is writing shouldn't get into the habit of making use of too many unecessary words that he does not really need in order to put his message across.

    16. Check to see if you any words out.

    17. In the case of a business letter, check it in terms of jargon.

    18. About repetition, the repetition of a word might be real effective repetition - take, for instance, Abraham Lincoln.

    19. As far as incomplete constructions, they are wrong.

    20. Last but not the least, lay off cliches.
     
  14. trailer trash

    trailer trash New Member

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    About Contractions

    Contractions



    Contractions are use most often in contemporary writing, and are purely a stylistic choice. Most purists shun there usage, and in business writing and some other types of correspondence contractions would not be appropriate at all. But, in the successful realm of the New Novelist of today contractions have become more widely accepted and can be found in almost every work of fiction.

    For those of you who want to come abreast of the new times in contemporary composition I have listed bellow all the contractions you’ll need to know to get the job done.

    are not - aren’t
    has not - hasn’t
    I am - I’m
    can not - can’t
    have not - haven’t
    I had - I’d
    could have - could’ve
    he would - he’d
    I have - I’ve
    did not - didn’t
    he will - he’ll
    I will - I’ll
    let us - let’s
    she is - she’s
    they are - they’re
    might not - mightn’t
    should not - shouldn’t
    they have - they’ve
    ought not - oughtn’t
    there is - there’s
    we will - we’ll
    she would - she’d
    they would - they’d
    we have - we’ve
    she will - she’ll
    they will - they’ll
    we are - we’re
    were not - weren’t
    you had - you’d
    what is - what’s
    you will - you’ll
    who is - who’s
    you are - you’re
    would not - wouldn’t
    he has - he’s
    would have - would’ve
    she has - she’s
    you should - you’d
    shall not - shan’t

    Contractions can add a flavor of authenticity to certain stories that otherwise would be lost without their usage. You must achieve a balance, being consistent in their usage. And since stories can be written from a diversity of points-of-view, the choice to use contractions will depend more heavily on the characters than on the narrator. A story told from a more narrative style and consisting of very little dialogue can still make use of contractions.

    Elmo

    PS: As you can see if you've been watching I have had a hell of a time formating this post.
    PPS: What is fiction that boarders on realism without profanity?
     
  15. Heather Louise

    Heather Louise Contributor Contributor

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    Crazy Ivan, was it meant to be funny or serious?? If serious then most of those rules (or at least the ones I understood), I disagree with. I also think it unfair to make rules for writing as anything can work, it just depends on how it is done.

    If it was meant to be funny then I don't get it. :p
     
  16. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's actually the work of a guy named Victor L. Visco, just pasted here sans citation... and it's totally tongue-in-cheek, as each numbered item breaks its own rule... yes, it's sposta be funny... but maybe more 'silly' than funny?
     
  17. bruce

    bruce Active Member

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    What do you think about these?

     
  18. Nobeler Than Lettuce

    Nobeler Than Lettuce New Member

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    Sounds like a brutally cold way to enjoy one of mankind's greatest artistic achievements.
     
  19. Mo Yeongsu

    Mo Yeongsu New Member

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    Sounds like some motivation. I interpret it as

    1. Don't make excuses.
    2. Don't quit.
    3. Don't second guess yourself. (I don't like this one, actually.)
    4. You wrote for someone to enjoy your work. Make sure they have a chance to read it.
    5. And if at first your work isn't received, keep it up until at least one person reads it and says, "Wow!" Because that one thing makes all the work of 1-4 worth it.
     
  20. Sillraaia

    Sillraaia New Member

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    While I tend to mostly agree with 1, 2 and 3, I think the rest are personal decisions.

    1 - While yes, you must write, it isn't a forced decision. There is no responsibility to do such, if you don't want to. Unless of course, you have been paid to do that.
    2 - It is important to finish, else why even bother starting an unfinished thought, if it has no conclusion...
    3 - Rewriting can be dangerous. When you first think up the scene, and throw yourself into it, you are feeling it all. You can see most vividly everything around you. You can better describe the emotions involved, and therefore impress more feeling, more soul into your work. The truer the feeling in the work, the more you are personally involved in the happenings, the truer it sounds. Rewriting after the fact can remove some of this closeness that you need to write it effectively. IMO.
    And this is totally separate from editing and adding stuff in to your story later, which can add to it, clarifying your previous meanings...

    Points 4 and 5 are about selling the work, if that is what you so choose to do. If you wrote it for your personal enjoyment, you are not obligated to share it, and choosing to share / sell it or not does not determine your own capabilities.

    These points are taken out of context, I would assume. If these are rules for writing as a profession, as a source of income, then I would agree with 4 and 5, since your purpose for writing is the sale of the works. /shrug


    Edit:
    I have to also add that the entire idea of having rules for writing can also be dangerous. Too much research into the how-to books / websites can explain things in a way you do not understand, so therefore you may get intimidated, and think you cannot do it. It all sounds too difficult. It can be very discouraging, if you let it.
    But as you then write more you might find that you have been doing what they said all along, and simply not known it.
    Some things you learn, you pick up on, you get a feel for them, rather than learning the theory first. It makes writing instinctual, when you 'just know' what feels good, and when there is something wrong or odd about certain parts of your story.
    IMO, that is why the best advice is always - read more, and don't worry so much about any kinds of "rules" - you will pick it up as you go along.
     
  21. apathykills

    apathykills New Member

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    1. If you want to be a writer i agree.
    2. nope, lots of time you start something only to realize you have no plot for it, or no way to make it keep going, forcing yourself to write something you know wont be as good as something else you can write is just silly.
    3. This obviously was not written by a dislec... dislexts... a man that can't spell.
    4 and 5: yep. If it's finished and it's good, sell it.
     
  22. Banzai

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Well, I thought I'd get this in before someone else does...


    The first rule of writing: You do not talk about writing.
    The second rule of writing: You do not talk about writing.
     
  23. SilverWolf0101

    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    My English honors teacher told me the same thing, she said talking about only makes the "chore" worse (Btw, I totally disagree with the word she chose because I don't feel that writing is a chore).

    As for those rules, they sound like complete, excuse the word, crap to me. You don't have to write if you don't want to, and you don't have to finish it. Especially if it's a case like apathykills presented. If you feel there is a need to rewrite your material because of some reason, then perhaps you would like to without an editor saying to do so. Also, you do not, and I repeat, DO NOT, have to get your work published just because you wrote it. Perhaps a person just wrote what they did out of mere boredom, or for their personal preference, that doesn't mean it has to be published.

    These are however, my opinions and therefore cannot sway anyone.
     
  24. Speedy

    Speedy Contributor Contributor

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    Second!

    1 and 3, i can agree on (depending on what you are looking for)

    2,4 and 5, i really disagree with.
     
  25. ManhattanMss

    ManhattanMss New Member

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    With all due respect to Mr. Heinlein, I liked your interpretive version much better, Mo!
     

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