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Sermon Illustrations: Writing

George Simenon was a Belgian mystery writer who wrote over 200 novels. He created Inspector Maigret....Faster than Maigret could solve his cases, Simenon wrote them. At the rate of 80 typewritten pages a day, he could finish a book in 8 to 10 days.1

Avoid alliteration. Always. 2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. 3. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.) 4. Employ the vernacular. 5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc. 6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary. 7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive. 8. Contractions aren't necessary. 9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos. 10. One should never generalise. 11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know." 12. Comparisons are as bad as clichés. 13. Don't be redundant; don't use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous. 14. Be more or less specific. 15. Understatement is always best. 16. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement. 17. One-word sentences? Eliminate. 19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake. 19. The passive voice is to be avoided. 20. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms. 21. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed. 22. Who needs rhetorical questions? Source Unknown

1 Ballinger, Erich Detective Dictionary: A Handbook for Aspiring Sleuths p110, translated by Catherine Kerkhoff

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