Adapted from B.R. Meyers‘ fascinating book A Reader’s Manifesto. I’d honestly completely forgotten about it (I really wasn’t into bookmarking or saving “valuable” stuff back then) until recently when I bumped into this again while browsing Wikipedia. And I remembered exactly why I’d loved these in the first place — they’re funny enough to be true! I’ve personally come across people who would follow some of these rules below to the tee!
Enjoy! And remember not to take it too seriously! In fact, if you really want to be an effective writer try doing the opposite of the rules below.
Here’s another related piece (actually the book has its origins from this article) from The Atlantic that you would find funny.
The Appendix: Ten Rules for “Serious” Writers at the end of the book is an ironic set of guidelines for writing, each of which refers to a previous violation of successful prose that he has criticized. Myers implies that following these rules will lead to literary success.
The rules are as follows:
Be Writerly: If your writing is too natural, then there is no way it is scholarly.
Sprawl: Content doesn’t matter, it’s all about size. Critics are impressed by big books, so brevity should be dismissed.
Equivocate: If it doesn’t make sense, there can always be a good excuse. Truth can always be distorted as long as it makes the writer sound good. For example, the plot isn’t important because the lack of plot is what’s important.
Mystify: If people think that your writing is smarter than their writing, then they will respect your writing. If you sound smart (and definitely if you are published) then you must possess a brilliant mind.
Keep Sentences Long: If the sentence is not long and boring, then it is definitely not literature.
Repeat yourself: Repetition of words is important. If you don’t mention your subject enough times, then the reader may not know what you are talking about. You may also use synonyms to show that you know how to use a thesaurus, and thus, must be an intelligent writer.
Pile on the Imagery: Your writerly credentials will bloom to greatness if your ability to tie together multiple similes and metaphors like the wooden pieces of a Lincoln log set, never disintegrate from the fiery visage of the sun. The more literary devices that you can throw together, the better the writing.
Archaize: If thine style of writing reflects an age long gone, and a world unfamiliar to the modern reader, then thou art indeed a master of the quill and the ink. This is very similar to rule number four, except you must write as if you are stuck in the past, rather than stuck in a dictionary.
Bore: The word boring may as well be a synonym to the word scholarly. Along the lines of rule number one, you cannot write naturally, or make your words interesting. It is simply not scholarly. People are not supposed to be able to understand your writing, they are only supposed to realize that your writing is brilliant, because it just might be the cure for insomnia.
Play the part: Remember to be as you write, scholarly, literate, practically a god. You must understand that when you seem smart, when you seem to believe in yourself, others will do the same, because, how could someone that is so smart and so pompous be wrong?