November 29, 2023

Word Perfect!

Good reading is one of the pleasures we enjoy without giving it too much thought. What you guys out there don’t realize is that good reading can’t happen without somebody first doing some good writing.

There can never be too much good writing in the world. So, in the hopes of inspiring some of you, I’m going to teach you a few fundamentals of good writing.

First, you must learn that writing is made up of words. These words have names according to the jobs they do. Words can be nouns or verbs or adverbs, etc. These names are called particles of speech. Sentences are made up of lots of particles of speech strung together like this. See? It’s not that hard.

Let’s do some exercises. There’s a particle of speech known as gerundative fumpher. An example is “yunna.” Using this in a sentence is easy. “Hey Clem, yunna go fishin’ or watch TV?” Jeff Foxworthy uses a similar concept with different spelling in his term, “yont to.” That is, “Yont to walk or drive?”

Double negatives don’t make no sense at all. Avoid them. The closest you may want to get is the reflexive plupunder in which negatives are piled up so high that you can get away with a statement that means nothing. Politicians are good at this. An example would be, “Shoot, no! I don’t cotton to none of that there no-good dad-gum durn-fool useless bunch of nothin’ no how, no way, not never!” Some people construe this to mean “no,” but it’s much more complex than that.

Reality is important. Remember that you’ll no doubt be writing about real people doing real things (as I always do), so you’ll want to make your writing have that ring of authenticity to it. This is easily accomplished using the particle of speech known as reality syntax. For example:  “He et the soup.” “Did he leave any?” “He et all the soup.” Needs additional tense.  “He done et all the soup.” Better, needs reality. “He done et all the soup (burp).” Perfect!  See what can happen when you allow reality to creep into your writing?

Quotations are often a valuable part of building suspense, credibility, filling space, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. Remember, when you are quoting somebody, you must quote them accurately or they’ll sue you and have you thrown in writer’s prison where you’ll have to live on bread and water, which eventually will give you writer’s cramps. Accurate quotations can be tedious as this comment from a 15-year-old girl illustrates: “Well, you know, he like said to me, like if I didn’t like want to think that, then I could just like, you know, forget it and stuff, but my friend told me that his Mom said that like if you wanted to be cool you could like choose your own way to put it so that you could like be so okay with the fact that is like just so not right! Y’know.”

Another valuable, but underused, particle of speech is the adnoun. You know about verbs and adverbs and nouns, but I’ll bet they never told you about the adnoun. Many English teachers avoid it because it’s so rarely used in English. That’s a shame, because it’s quite useful. Germans are big adnoun fans. It works like this. Start with a noun, “dog.” Then you add another noun, “hot dog.” Continue this process until you’ve added as many nouns as you need to fully describe whatever it is that you’re trying to describe. “At the park under the bridge where the hot dog vendor stands.” In German, this construction is common, except they string the words together into a long one: “unterbridgenamusmentparkenhaisshundsellener.” See how this adds flair and variety to your writing?

Every good writer pays careful attention to factual accuracy. Nothing will so quickly destroy the career of an up-and-coming young writer as making a factual error. Consider the sentence, “John shot a squirrel out of a tree in his yard.” Is what’s wrong with this sentence that it’s impossible to shoot a squirrel out of a tree? I suppose you could shoot a squirrel out of a tree if you were close enough. Is it that John is a really bad shot and couldn’t hit a squirrel with a nuclear weapon? Is it that we said the squirrel was “out of the tree” when we should have said the squirrel was in the tree?

NO! None of the above! The simple truth here is there are NO TREES IN JOHN’S YARD AND ANYBODY WHO KNOWS JOHN KNOWS HIS YARD IS TREELESS!

For Pete’s sake, people, if you’re not going to be truthful in your writing, then go do something else like invent a cure for cancer or eliminate world poverty! Don’t mess around with something as important as writing!  Sooner or later you’re going to come up against the dreaded writer’s block.

I just did.

See ya around,


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