Funny, for Writers

Published August 8, 2021 by Nan Mykel

Umberto Eco  (1932-2016)

  1. Avoid alliterations, even if they’re manna for morons.
  2. Avoid cliches: they’re like death warmed over.
  3. Never generalize.
  4. Hold those quotes. Emerson aptly said, “I hate quotes.  Tell me only what you know.”
  5. Don’t write one-word sentences. Ever.
  6. Recognize the difference between the semicolon and the colon: even if it’s hard.
  7. Do you really need rhetorical questions?
  8. Be concise; try expressing your thoughts with the least possible number of words, avoiding long sentences–or sentences interrupted by incidental phrases that always confuse the casual reader–in order to avoid contributing to the general pollution of information, which is surely (particularly when it is uselessly ripe with unnecessary explanations, or at least non indispensable specifications) one of the tragedies of our media-dominated time.
  9. Don’t be emphatic!  Be careful with exclamation marks!
  10. No need to tell you how cloying preteritions are.

 

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