Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bad Writing Part 2: The Revenge!

In part 1 we talked about…um…something, which I’m sure were important. In this section I’m going to give you some real-world (make believe actually) examples that illustrate some points. Some of these points may even pertain to writing.

The Broken Promise

Any author can tell you that you need some way to get the reader’s attention. The good news is that, once you have their attention, you don’t need to keep it. For your writing to be truly bad, you must then “break” the promise you made when you got their attention. That way when they get to the end of the article, they really feel violated!

Rather than this:

I’ve used this technique to score with the hottest chicks in the house. Now when I walk in the room all the guys get grumpy because they know I’m gonna be the one walking out with the hottest girl there. Here’s how you can too:

First of all, you gotta get them drunk. No woman in her right mind is going to put out and do the kind of perverted, depraved things that you want while sober…

Try this:

I’ve used this technique to score with the hottest chicks in the house. Now when I walk in the room all the guys …

And speaking of girls, what’s up with all that damn perfume?! I mean, that crap could drop a skunk at ten yards! And ketchup in those little plastic packages – I hate that!

Now you can drone on and on about your favorite pet peeve for the rest of the article and never actually tell t he reader anything. That can be important if, like me, you don’t actually know the answers to your questions.

Insult the Reader

While some people wont give you the time of day when you ask nicely, those same people may crawl across broken glass to prove that they know more than you. Now this technique does not work writing, but I think it should, and dammit, that’s what matters!

Therefore, rather than giving the reader a good reason to believe you, complete reasons and a well structured presentation try just insulting them. Rather than this:

Why you should become a conservative.

Conservative ideas focus on values that are important to people like family values and money. The basis for the conservative movement is that, rather than putting money in the hands of the poor, so that they can improve their miserable lives, it should be given to those who can use it best; specifically myself.

Try this:

Idiots! You couldn’t think for yourself if your lives depended on it! Rather than asking you to come up with an original idea I’m just going to give you the right one. Then I want you to parrot it back like the sheep you are. Before we begin, however, I want you to repeat after me:

I am a stupid, doody-headed nitwit who whacks his head against the wall twice a day.

Make them Work for it

One of the things I hate about good writing is that it’s clear and easy to understand. Such authors make it plain what they are writing about and do silly things like sum up their ideas to make it easier to remember.


A technique that I’ve found to not work is to make it sound like you know what your doing, but to never get to the point. For example, here is some relatively good writing:

The basics of sales are a) getting the prospects attention somewhere else, b) hitting them on the head very, very hard and c) running away with their money.

Directing attention elsewhere varies from prospect to prospect so you need to find out what interests them early…

Use this:

Good salespeople make money; lots of money. The fact that I don’t shouldn’t deter you. The point is that I know a lot of successful salespeople. The fact that they don’t know me is immaterial, I’ve seen them; strutting around with their latest skank and their “Ha, ha! I’m rich and you’re not!” smiles! Well, when the revolution comes (for it will come) we’ll see just how damn smug you are!

At any rate, if you follow my tips, you’ll become successful. Unlike that little ungrateful creep that I tried to teach! Just because he set some sales record the first week doesn’t mean that you can just ignore my ideas! When I corner you some night with a week-old bread crust and start pummeling you we’ll just see who is #1!


OK, so these examples aren’t very good. Well I’m not a very good writer, so there! I may not know what’s good, but I know what I like and it’s not these examples. If you use my tips you may not get a Pulitzer, but at least you can be confident about your writing. You’ll know it sucks.


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