Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Some Geeky Editor Humor

Editors and proofreaders will appreciate this tongue-in-cheek list on http://www.creativeteachingsite.com/humorgrammar.htm.
A little geeky editor humor goes a long way on a bad day (or a good one, for that matter).


1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

2. Never use a preposition to end a sentence with. Winston Churchill, corrected on this error once, responded to the young man who corrected him by saying, "Young man, that is the kind of impudence up with which I will not put!

3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

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

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 endlessly over and over again

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Contractions aren't always necessary and shouldn't be used to excess so don’t.

12. Foreign words and phrases are not always apropos.

13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous and can be excessive

14. All generalizations are bad.

15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

16. Don't use no double negatives.

Friday, April 4, 2008

One Author's Cure for Writer's Block

I like the simplicity of this quote by novelist Robert Crichton. As writers, I think we try to make the process way too difficult at times.

I was fretting too much over that opening sentence.
I worked on it scrupulously,
thinking that if I could only get the first sentense right,
the rest of the book would come easy.
That was a big mistake.

Weeks went by with my staring at blank paper
and getting nowhere.

One day I decided to just start writing
in the style of the Dick and Jane first grade readers.
Simple little words,
without bothering about style or polish -
just to get the story on paper.

I started writing,
"There is a little town on a hill called Santa Vittoria.
It is in Italy. The people in the town
grow grapes and make wine.
One day, not too long ago..."
and so on. It worked fine.

Soon I was writing like mad all day long.
The pages began to pile up and I felt better.

Robert Crichton