Thursday, February 25, 2016

What Do You Do When the “Idea Well” Dries Up? - Peggy Blann Phifer

Because I write blog articles once-a-month for two other sites, for HHP, and my own, I often struggle for new material. Such is the case this time.
Back in the late 1990’s-ear4ly 2000’s, I edited and published a rather successful online/e-mail newsletter, and wrote my own column I called The PegBoard. When thinking of what to write today, I dug back into those old articles, and I present one of my favorites for your enjoyment. (Note the date)
The PEGBOARD: by Peggy Phifer
April 19, 2004
"Was's and commas and adverbs . . . Oh, my!

I spent all last week working on my 2-page synopsis and first 10 pages of my wip (work in progress) for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference next month. I've become quite conscious of grammar usage, the overuse of adverbs, the all-too-frequent use of "was" and a dozen other things most of us do that we really know NOT to do. I even had some POV (point of view) problems. Oh, and the proper insertion of commas (some included where they didn't belong, and others omitted.)
Well, I made it through the synopsis, with a lot of wonderful help from some super people who took the time to review my writing – not just the synopsis, but my pages for submission, too. And, they're in the mail…on their way to the conference committee and the author who will be doing the paid critique…gone…done.
So, I'm a little brain-dead today and I'm going to borrow something I found that ties right in with this subject. I think you'll enjoy it as much as I did when I found it.

Here we go:
Here is today's CleanLaugh - Rules for Editing

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
19. The passive voice is to be ignored.
20. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
21. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
22. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
23. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
24. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
25. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
26. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
27. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
28. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
29. Who needs rhetorical questions?
30. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

And the last one...

31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Thanks to Pastor Tim's CleanLaugh List - Pastor Tim I just checked this link, it’s still there!

And that clears the PegBoard for another week. God Bless.
"If you can't write -- write anyway!"
Peg Phifer-Copyright © 2004
I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did. And forgive me if I brag a little—I won the WRITER of the YEAR award that May for my newsletter. The conference director, Marlene Bagnull, was one of my biggest fans.

Visit Peg at

1 comment:

  1. Excellent points for the writer to keep in mind. Thank you!