Don't Tell Them, Show Them – Writing Rules

This list has been floating around for years. Nonetheless, I thought I would share it since it popped up again in my reader this morning and it always gives me a chuckle. Sometimes, the best way to make a point is to “show, don’t tell” (was that a cliche?) so here goes nothing:

Twenty-six “Golden” Rules for Writing Well

  1. Don’t abbrev.
     
  2. Check to see if you any words out.
     
  3. Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.
     
  4. About sentence fragments.
     
  5. When dangling, don’t use participles.
     
  6. Don’t use no double negatives.
     
  7. Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
     
  8. Just between you and I, case is important.
     
  9. Join clauses good, like a conjunction should.
     
  10. Don’t use commas, that aren’t necessary.
     
  11. Its important to use apostrophe’s right.
     
  12. It’s better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.
     
  13. Never leave a transitive verb just lay there without an object.
     
  14. Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop
     
  15. Use hyphens in compound-words, not just in any two-word phrase.
     
  16. In letters compositions reports and things like that we use commas to keep a string of items apart.
     
  17. Watch out for irregular verbs that have creeped into our language.
     
  18. Verbs has to agree with their subjects.
     
  19. Avoid unnecessary redundancy.
     
  20. A writer mustn’t shift your point of view.
     
  21. Don’t write a run-on sentence you’ve got to punctuate it.
     
  22. A preposition isn’t a good thing to end a sentence with.
     
  23. Avoid cliches like the plague.
     
  24. 1 final thing is to never start a sentence with a number.
     
  25. Always check your work for accuracy and completeness.

Get it?

Hat tip to far too many people to list here.

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I’m Not Editing – I’m Building My Prototype!

What a wonderful analogy for the writing process offered by Ken Davis at Manage Your Writing: drafts are like prototypes serving a similar purpose in creating a final written product! Ken explains how he was able to get his writing trainees to resist the urge to painstakingly edit their first draft by likening that draft to the construction of the initial prototype of a physical product. A prototype devoid of the spit and polish of the final retail version. As taken from his post:

A draft is a prototype. It’s not the final product. It’s not written for the reader. It’s written for the writer. It’s “quick and dirty.” It’s written to test. It’s written to see if it does what it was designed to do.

Editing while drafting that first version of your work hinders the creative flow. The initial phase should be about invention and creativity and not about final brush strokes. How damaging it is to that flow to stop a thought mid-stream in order to insert the proper punctuation!

While I admit that some of my blog posts retain their prototypical feel ;), I myself have difficulty resisting the urge to tighten while drafting my work product. Use Ken’s analogy to remind yourself that you don’t need to put your name on it until you are ready to sell it to the public!

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I'm Not Editing – I'm Building My Prototype!

What a wonderful analogy for the writing process offered by Ken Davis at Manage Your Writing: drafts are like prototypes serving a similar purpose in creating a final written product! Ken explains how he was able to get his writing trainees to resist the urge to painstakingly edit their first draft by likening that draft to the construction of the initial prototype of a physical product. A prototype devoid of the spit and polish of the final retail version. As taken from his post:

A draft is a prototype. It’s not the final product. It’s not written for the reader. It’s written for the writer. It’s “quick and dirty.” It’s written to test. It’s written to see if it does what it was designed to do.

Editing while drafting that first version of your work hinders the creative flow. The initial phase should be about invention and creativity and not about final brush strokes. How damaging it is to that flow to stop a thought mid-stream in order to insert the proper punctuation!

While I admit that some of my blog posts retain their prototypical feel ;), I myself have difficulty resisting the urge to tighten while drafting my work product. Use Ken’s analogy to remind yourself that you don’t need to put your name on it until you are ready to sell it to the public!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]