Nita, the Meme Sahib of our blogging community, has tagged me. For some reason, indubitably related to a chronic intake of the toxin-laden waters of Mumbai, she has this delusion (or hallucination, whichever is whatever) that I can write, and things like that.

Well, one must not disrespectfully treat a lady these days, unless one is an Indian policeman.

So here I am, deliberating on a subject I know little about. Therefore I shall proceed to write with the utmost confidence on it. As always.

A writer should have many qualities, but let me say what qualities I have always considered necessary for me to develop or nourish. Pardon me for sounding tastelessly didactic, pompous and verbose. Use the comments section freely for abuse, none of which will ever be deleted.


1. Write in short sentences, or use long ones only when sure your long sentence is unavoidable, tantalising, magnetically mesmerizing in its complexity. Then you delete it.

2. Write because you love to. Write on things that you care about. Or don’t.

3. Never be afraid of writing on anything. Even if the article is as scary as committing to posterity your limited mono-neuronic understanding of the art of writing.

4. For humorous writing, you must possess an abundance of imagination. The wilder the better. But the zany figures of speech should strike a chord in the reader. Or you will sound like a broken cord.

5. Just when one starts to take one’s writing seriously, one realises that one is committing a multitude of blunders in the structure. In other words (especially if you are a smartass officially numbered in the last Census), reassess your prose.
It is quite a useful experience to have worked with an editor-type in a newspaper. Aeons back, I had a girlfriend who used to edit stuff, and I learned some valuable things from her. At that time, I did not even know that it was a given to press the spacebar after a full stop or comma, for example. Once you know what the newspaperwallahs want you not to do, then you get out of it and start blogging.

6. Write on a regular basis. Writing is like potty training. Unless you sit every day and go through the motions, the smoothness in flow is never going to be achieved, even if you burst a blood vessel trying. A lot of such efforts are unfit for human consumption (to stretch the pungent figure of speech), but it will all count later. And did I say that one thing not to do is to torture figures of speech just so that they can fit in your sentence?

7. While those who write do know that it is necessary to spend time on your creation, it is important to know what those minutes and hours are to be used for.
So, use time for:
Actually, this is well known to everyone. But I just wrote this up to complete point number seven. I wish to underline how important it is to use a round figure (like the ten points here) to impress on your readership how scientific and thorough you are.

8. Control of language. This is one thing I feel so deficient of (Another point: never let a preposition end a sentence with). There are writers who are capable of notable fluency and flow ( like an infant peeing just when you have changed the bedsheets and nappies, and barely closed your eyes to the cruel, wet world). And they can do it again and again. Did you notice how I never use ‘And’ to start a sentence?

9. Take your writing and your diction seriously. If you are not careful of your spilling, your metaphors, and those other thingies that are called adverbs, punctuations, etc., chances are your readers will treat it the same. And never preach to your readership. Also, when you feel that insane urge to highlight, underline or italicise what you think are particularly clever passages, just do one of the things that can save the world from a population explosion: desist, withdraw, and, if you didn’t get this particular message, abstain. Readers don’t consider this in good taste, and think you are a loud, tasteless fool. Not me, but you.

10. More imagination: use your mind to bring in analogies between the most bizarre or the most logical, depending on if you think a donkey looks better in tails or in pajamas.

I end this Foolitzer-nominated post by tagging Ergo and Krishashok to tell us, if you can, a thing or two about your particular impression of the art of writing. Ergo brings a philosophical depth and clarity in his deliberations on abstract profundities. Ashok, though not a professional writer, can bring a levity to even a pan pizza. He is seriously funny and creative, though his particular genre of language is a sort of Tamil-English hybrid.
Here is to you, guys!

15 responses to “WRITER’S CAMP

  1. Rambodoc: Your long list of writing rules makes me wonder if you should have called this posting ‘Writer’s Kampf’ instead 😉

    I noticed that Meme Sahib Nita has tagged me as well, but I shall have to take some time to write a deliberate post i.e. one requiring deliberation. As you know these days I am afflicted by Irritable Vowel Syndrome and Constantation 😎

    I will wait like Godot for that post…

  2. Corrigendum:

    … if you should HAVE called…

  3. I wanted to write a clever repartee, but I am afraid nothing comes to mind!
    Thats the problem. Your post makes one feel that one must write a clever comment and then there is brain freeze!
    Anyway, my potty training for the day is over.
    Goodnight, and thanks.

    Your cleverness in evident in your posts. Repartees are for the vacuous farts (like you know who!)…

  4. Pingback: Danaher’s List of Writing Rules « Danaher’s Pique

  5. Thanks for the thoughts on writing.

    Danaher’s List of Writing Rules is my list of things to mind while writing: resisting responding was impossible. Let me know what you think.
    Danaher’s Pique

  6. Aeons back, I had a girlfriend who used to edit stuff, and I learned some valuable things from her.

    I have always known that there must be a woman behind every successful writer 🙂

    And sexcessful ones, too! Alas, good things come to an end too fast, don’t they?

  7. Nice reading:)))))

  8. Rambodoc, even though you claim humbly not to be a “writer” in the traditional sense, the words in this passage betray you. Like so many great writers, you capture just the right ideas and, like you say, use poignant figures of speech without the least bit of spatchcock (there’s a fun word for you). I’m sure you, as most, deliberate over certain phrases and sentences before posting, but the ease of reading in your wonderfully instructive ten steps impels me to believe no effort was put forth in their creation. Among the dozens of writing tips I’ve read, including those of Stephen King, these are some of the most informative and truthful of the batch.

    Now, now, Bancheese, those are very serious compliments, indeed!
    Don’t dare do it ever again!
    And ‘spatchcock’?? I know just part of that word.

  9. I guess this would be a good place to place the link to an old blog post I wrote about effective writing.
    Here is the [link]

    Thanks, Semantic!

  10. Now, apart from DDD, your posts make me suffer from BFS: Brain Freeze Syndrome…:-)

  11. 10 lip smacking tips on “Art of writing”.Seriously doc ,I should call Dave Barry and warn him of serious competition from you.
    If you allow me,I would like to add an extra *r to the 7th point in the post-*reliance.Buy a Reliance mobile and call your friends ,to borrow some interesting tidbits when your creative juices dry up .Don’t worry about the bills subscribe to their bol-India-bol scheme.

    For more adventurous ones,try these tips of Seth Godin..Warn you -at your own risk

    # Be snarky. Write nearly libelous things about fellow bloggers, daring them to respond (with links back to you) on their blog.
    #Assume that every day is the beginning, because you always have new readers.
    #Start at the beginning and take your readers through a months-long education.
    #Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.
    # Write in English.
    # Better, write in Chinese.


    Thanks, xntric!

  12. Reporting doc,
    Links are working fine.Checked thrice.


  13. Thnks for the gyaan! I think its time for me to start working on better writing now..

    Welcome, Harsha! I thought you are one of the great Indian blog writers already?!

  14. I have to tell you this. In my last few posts..every time i write a sentence that begins with ‘and’, a voice rings in my head and tells me to change it. And i am serious. Thanks for these tips.

  15. Pingback: Me, Me, Me, Me. Me too: The writing meme « La Vie Quotidienne

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