Fast Food Writing

Editors and style advocates these days are promoting the conversion of gourmet meals of words into packets of popcorn. Is this really what has become necessary to keep the public reading? The above picture shows some of my works requiring total rewrites in order to convert them into the package in the foreground.

The guidelines for the rewrites would be as follows:

Adverbs are taboo. Adjectives are allowed only rarely. Other ways of putting he or she said are frowned upon. Thou shalt not have anyone answer, reply, respond, remark, growl, snap, shout, yell, bellow, rage, whisper, murmur, laugh, gurgle, giggle, chortle, trill, pipe up, interrupt, venture or squeak.

Sentences should be short. Concise. Not need commas if possible. Semi-colons are unnecessary, they should be eliminated completely even if linking two complete phrases. Let me revise that. Dont use semicolons.

Paragraphs should be kept short and not be allowed to ramble on, even if there is no change in topic or voice. The reader is only to be fed small bites.

Bites that can be mashed up and fed in forkfuls. With the arm in perpetual motion.

Perpetual motion that only ceases when the plate is empty. Then the reader is ready for the next meal.

Clichés are to be avoided like poison. Let me rephrase that. Dont use clichés.

Obfuscation is anathema. Rephrased: dont use any words that will confuse your dim readers.

The plot should always involve the main character/s in great suffering. They not only get themselves into horrible situations, but are too stupid to do so without suffering constant damage.

There: you now have a blueprint for your best cellar to get drunk with success on. Oh, and never indulge in wordplay, or end a sentence with a preposition.

© May 2017 Leslie Hyla Winton Noble
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13 thoughts on “Fast Food Writing

  1. disperser

    Good advice, he says with a touch of irony in his stilted voice; he means it, too even as he enjoys referring to himself in the third person which, as everyone knows, is three times better than first person and fifty percent better than second person. His silent chuckles add to the ironic tone as he further contemplates that third person is not really a person or even third unless one adds a hyphen between the numerical and the human designator portions of the oft-compounded descriptor of the made-up nomenclature striving to chute writer into arbitrary and narrow writing conventions that some say have outlived their original purpose and now stifle creative writing. But, that’s just me, and who can say if I hold any authority on which to speak on.

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    1. colonialist Post author

      If you tried to make this convolutedly incomprehensible, you have failed. The sense still comes across perfectly, and in far greater depth than would have been the case had you paraphrased it!

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    2. disperser

      Nothing I ever say is incomprehensible unless someone purposefully ignores, twists, or otherwise corrupts the meaning of my scintillating prose.

      The above was merely a fun exercise in letting the mind wonder and dictate to fingers the resulting stream of consciousness.

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      1. colonialist Post author

        Your stream of consciousness is remarkably ordered.

        Unlike felicitous gerbils pursuing the infinite with razor vegetables sinking into stretched undies for the glorification of platonic multitudes with tendencies towards cannibalism.

        (Good grief: did I actually rattle that off without stopping once for thought?)

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      2. disperser

        I have a naturally ordered and anal-retentive mind. Some say it’s a curse but I consider it a gift.

        Something like what you wrote would require me making an effort toward the chaotic.

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    3. LordBeariOfBow

      You will fail miserably Emilio you use all the correct dots and dashes and commas and stuff now take me for example I have no idea when to use a colon or a question mark so Im perfectly suited to be the best selling author of the 21st century all I need now is for someone to tell me what to write

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      1. disperser

        Well I, think that if; someone tells you what to . . . write. Well than — I would guess they would have two say it slowly so you could bang away at the keyboard and occasionally; say “eh?”

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  2. Arkenaten

    Going back and applying these simple, but so often overlooked ‘rules’ to every thing I had considered a book made me aware just how little I knew.

    I once read that, it is only after knowing the rules, and understanding them is one then allowed to break them!
    I’m still working on it. It may be a while yet.
    Good post.
    I do enjoy your Writing Posts.

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    1. colonialist Post author

      Mock these rules though I do, there is certainly some sense in applying them in moderation — or, rather, to moderate one’s tendency to go overboard in the other direction.
      Thanks; I must do more. There is one arising from a very recent edit begging for an airing.

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