Expert Opinions from Non-Experts

We’ve all been given tips on writing. Some of us seek this advice; others of us receive it unsolicited. Often the advice we receive is refreshingly helpful. But what about advice that’s just awful? We all hear it. I struck up a conversation about nonsense writing tips with my co-workers last week and captured the best of the worst. Now we can all share in the despair together!

Bad Writing Tips for Students

  • Use giant periods. Since periods are so insignificant, no one will notice and you can reach that arduous page limit!
  • If you have a double spaced paper due, write it in single space, and then convert it to double space. In an hour, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished so much more!
  • Fudge your margins to make your look longer. Who pays attention to margins anyway?
  • Create a super-long title. It’ll make you look like you care more and will help you reach the page limit.

Bad Writing Tips for Novelists

  • Set everything up in your first chapter – goals, characters, dreams, etc. Development is too tiresome for the reader.
  • Describe the character’s physical appearance in extreme detail – like how you would order a sandwich at Subway.
  • Be more realistic. No one wants to read about “stuff that could never happen.”
  • Characters must behave predictably. No wild flim-flam.

Bad Writing Tips for all Writers

  • Remove all your commas; they pull the reader out of the story.
  • Add fluff to your work to make it longer.
  • Never use short or run-on sentences, or one-sentence paragraphs, or one-word paragraphs.
  • Quantity equals quality.
  • “Said” and “asked” are boring. Use more fun and descriptive words!
  • Read the works of any famous author and copy their writing style, then you’ll succeed.
  • For all people meant to write, writing comes easily.

These samples represent the negative stigma sometimes associated with writing advice, but remember: most advice can be helpful. I beseech you, come to the UWB Writing and Communication Center and put our peer consultants to the test!


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