Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Write "Good"

Some of you may have seen this before, but I came across it for the first time at our university writing center and I had to share. Just some fun writing "advice." :)

The following was written by Frank L. Visco and originally published in the June 1986 issue of Writers' digest. (I found it on Plain Language) Enjoy:

“How to Write Good”
  •                   Avoid Alliteration. Always.
  •                   Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  •                   Avoid cliches 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 cliches.
  •                   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?


  1. I've seen this before and it is hilarious. I like the metaphor one. :D

  2. :D I love this! Can I re-post?
    ~Sarah F.