Sunday, May 20, 2012

How to Write Good

Thanks to my friend and brother-in-law, Gregg Lewis, for forwarding this to me:

How To Write Good

My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:

    •    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?

By Frank L. Visco,
a vice-president and senior copywriter
at USAdvertising.