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Lessons From the Terrible Writing of This Post

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Mythcreants has numerous posts examining the terrible, awful, vivid, and even fantastic writing of various books and short stories. However, we’ve never analyzed this particular post, Lessons From the Terrible Writing of This Post. That is unfortunate, because this post contains enough terrible writing to fill three posts. And since so many of you have requested this in comments, I present Lessons From the Terrible Writing of This Post.

Because this post discusses and has spoilers for this post, you may wish to read this post before you read this post. Or you can set up a second tab and read this post while you read this post. Either way, you can find this post right here.

I haven’t finished reading this post yet, and already I’m annoyed by its terrible writing. I have a question for anyone who’s already read this post: Does it improve later on?

I’m just going to peek ahead at the ending. No, this post does not improve. I just looked at the last line. It’s still terrible.

Let’s at least see what we can learn.

Start With Something Interesting, Not Bland

Mythcreants has numerous posts examining the terrible, awful, vivid, and even fantastic writing of books and short stories. However, we’ve never analyzed this particular post, Lessons From the Terrible Writing of This Post.

First thing I noticed was that the first two sentences, while accurate, are far too bland to entice me to read any further. The only reason I am going to keep reading this post is because I have to write it, and I can’t write a post about this post until I’ve read it.

I have reworked the first two sentences.

Example

You’d think patriarchy would be good for men, but it isn’t. Patriarchy enforces strict standards of masculinity that are impossible to meet.

You can see how much better that is. The first sentence gets your attention, telling you something you’d think is obvious is actually wrong. And the second sentence sets up the thesis and jumps right in to telling you why the obvious fact is wrong.

The problem with this rewrite is that the sentences don’t make sense for this post. They work better for the post entitled Five Signs Your Story Is Sexist – Against Men. To fix this, we can simply rewrite this entire post so that it’s Five Signs Your Story Is Sexist – Against Men instead of Lessons From the Terrible Writing of This Post.

This post has barely started, and it’s already advocating plagiarism. And while not actually plagiarized, the basic idea for this post seems to be a mere copy of the superior This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself by David Moser or the beloved Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover by ‎Jon Stone and ‎Michael Smollin. Or at the very least, of Bryony’s clever comment in Why We Shouldn’t Be Fighting Over Trigger Warnings: “Content notice: contains content notices.”

Make Your Post Appropriate to the Site

This quote has no speculative fiction or RPGs in it because this post has no speculative fiction or RPGs in it. Look, I don’t know how I’m supposed to quote something from this post that isn’t in this post. Leave me alone and just read the next part!

Mythcreants is devoted to speculative fiction and roleplaying games. However, this post makes no mention whatsoever of various TV shows, books, and movies such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, or Star Wars. Nor does it mention any RPGs such as Advanced Dungeons & Dragons or Torchbearer. It doesn’t even mention the Discworld novels or the Mouse Guard RPG! How can I not mention them? Mythcreants mentions the Discworld novels and the Mouse Guard RPG in. Every. Single. Post. Mentioning them would make this post much better, just like. Every. Single. Post.

Now, you could argue that self-referential works are themselves speculative fiction of a sort. You could argue that speculative fiction has a long history of self-referential works. You could also argue that the bricks in constructing buildings are actually tomatoes or that most people are secretly large groups of rabid small furry animals in trench coats. This is the sort of “logic” I would expect from someone who continues to read this article when there are so many better articles on this site and on the rest of the internet.

To rewrite this section I’d just toss in a little something about speculative fiction or RPGs.

Example

Blah blah blah Discworld novels and Mouse Guard RPG.

Follow the Site’s Guidelines

This section is too short.

Mythcreants’ Editorial Guidelines for Articles states, “Subsections should feel consistent with each other. Than [sic] can vary somewhat in length but not wildly in length.”

This section is too short. Even the smug inclusion of “[sic]” doesn’t lengthen it enough to match the other sections. Let’s try this:

Example

Even with these six extra words, this section is too short.

Nope. Still too short.

Hire a Copy Editor, Get Beta Readers, or at Least Prooofread Your Post

Hire a Copy Editor, Get Beta Readers, or at Least Prooofread Your Post

In the header for this section “Proofread” is mispelled. That could be a typo or a very old joke. Either way, it’s a mistake.

And in the second sentence of the previous paragraph “misspelled” is misspelled as “mispelled.” Also, I see two more problems here in this very paragraph right now while I read it. First, the first sentence should refer to the first sentence, not the second sentence, by which I mean the first sentence of this paragraph actually refers to the first sentence of the previous paragraph and not to the second sentence of the previous paragraph, even though the first sentence of this paragraph says in referring to the first sentence of the previous paragraph, “the second sentence of the previous paragraph.”

The second problem with the previous paragraph is that the last sentence devolves into gibberish. I have no idea what it says, and I wrote it.

I’d rewrite the header thusly:

Example

My Copy Editor Crossed Out Every Single Line in This Post, Which Improved it Immeasurably.

Additionally, there are three other spelling, grammar, or word-usage errors in this post. I leave them for you, the reader, to find.*

Double Check Your Facts

And since so many of you have requested this in comments, I present Lessons From the Terrible Writing of This Post.

Lastly, this post contains numerous false statements. I’ve found all these, and I haven’t even finished reading what I wrote yet.

  • It claims there have been numerous requests in the comments to analyze it. However, a thorough reading of the comments on this site finds not one request to analyze this post before it was written.
  • It claims that a certain misspelling is in the second sentence of a certain paragraph when it is in the first sentence. At least, I think that’s what it says. No way am I going to read it again.
  • It claims that it doesn’t mention any speculative fiction or RPGs. Then it mentions several, including Harry Potter, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Discworld, and Mouse Guard, which is a rather passive-aggressive way of dealing with this issue.
  • It claims that mentioning Discworld and Mouse Guard would have made this post better. It did not.
  • It claims that Mythcreants mentions the Discworld novels and the Mouse Guard RPG in. Every. Single. Post. Yet I myself have found at least three posts on this site which mention neither the Discworld novels nor the Mouse Guard RPG.

That makes six false statements, including the one in this sentence.

The rewrite on this is easy.

Example

And even though so many of you have requested in the comments on this post that I not write this post, I inflict upon you Lessons From the Terrible Writing of This Post.

The writing in this post is well below Mythcreants’ usual standards. Looking at the Submit a Guest Blog Post page, I see that under “Are you willing to revise your piece?” one of the options is to answer, “No, take it or leave it.” I can only assume that I chose this option.

But why did Mythcreants publish this post? A little digging, and I discovered that I had some embarrassing video of Oren Ashkenazi, Chris Winkle, and the rest of the Mythcreants that I shot during last night’s nightly after-hours office party, and I’d promised I’d never mention it. But I just broke that promise by mentioning it in that last sentence, so they didn’t need to publish this post after all. I can only assume that they’re all still wrecked from last night’s nightly after-hours office party.

I have attempted to improve this post by suggesting rewrites in several places. But despite my best efforts, nothing helped this post.

It’s still terrible.

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Comments

  1. SunlessNick

    I can’t decide whether my favourite part is this:

    This is the sort of “logic” I would expect from someone who continues to read this article when there are so many better articles on this site and on the rest of the internet.

    this:

    It claims that mentioning Discworld and Mouse Guard would have made this post better. It did not.

    or this:

    That makes six false statements, including the one in this sentence.

  2. cerabobble

    *claps*

  3. Bunny

    . . . and elsewhere in the world, a snake eats its own tail . . .

  4. Jonny Wilson

    Quite right! And what’s more, this comment is nothing but a shallow demonstration of agreement no better than a meaningless facebook like, followed by a far-too wordy indigtment of social media, a missspellling of indictment and misspelling, and the whole thing is an enormous, ridiculous, humongous, stupendous run-on sentence with purple prose.
    The author didn’t even end it prop

  5. Oren Ashkenazi

    “Mythcreants mentions the Discworld novels and the Mouse Guard RPG in. Every. Single. Post.”

    I have never felt so personally attacked since that one time I was reading Small Gods while playing a rousing game of Mouse Guard.

  6. Chase Geary

    Could you possibly do a “Lessons of” type article on this post? I think it could use your help, it really needs some editing.

  7. Kody Cowell

    This is absolute mastery of a medium, and laden with the best kind of sarcasm. I am floored. Absolutely incredible. I mean terrible. Err —

  8. Richard

    A Question: What were you drinking at that office party, and where can I get some?

  9. Recursive Rabbit

    This post is my problem whenever I try to write something.

  10. Brigitta M.

    Between the timey-wimeys and the wibbly wobblies of this post I need to go lay down.

  11. Adam

    My mind is blown. LOL

  12. Jasin Moridin

    … This post was temporally displaced. It really should have gone up on April 1st. :p

    • SunlessNick

      Missing the window for being topical is just another of the many problems with this post.

  13. Bryony

    I screamed a little bit when I realised that Bryony meant me. I was on a rush hour train, it surprised people, but I have my acceptance speech ready.

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