Video Lists Top Ten Rules of Writing

Video Lists Top Ten Rules of Writing
This week’s WriteMyMemoirs blog post started out as a post to discuss the writing rules noted in a YouTube video called Top Ten Writing Rules From Famous Writers, which was posted last year by Lyra Communications. Instead, I’m on a rant! These are the ten rules listed:
10. Stephen King: Write a draft; then let it rest.
9. Stephen King: Read a lot.
8. George Orwell: Never use a long word when a short one will do.
7. George Orwell: Never use the passive voice when you can use the active voice.
6. Pierre Berton: Know your audience.
5. Pierre Berton: Recycle and read the good stuff before you write.
4. Andrew Morton: Honor the miraculousness of the ordinary.
3. Stephen King: Good copy = Draft minus 10%.
2. Bob Cooper: Look at every word in a sentence, decide if all are really needed and, if not, kill them; be ruthless.
1. Al Kennedy: Writing doesn’t love you; it doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on.
I suppose those ideas are worthy of discussion—although I’m not sure they’d be my top ten—but I’m finding that I’d rather critique the video itself than the rules. I have a lot of problems with this video. First, there seems to be a “famous writer” shortage. Wouldn’t you be more interested in ten rules from ten different writers? Here, only six writers supply all ten rules. I also question how well these writers meet the title’s definition of “famous.” King and Orwell are the only famous writers, and that Cooper guy was the narrator’s professor; I don’t think that credential qualifies him. Also, speaking of Cooper, I had to reword his writing tip to make it grammatically correct! For the #1 writing tip, which is really not a tip but a plea, the narrator refers to the author as a “he” when really the person actually is a woman. The communications lesson from this video is not what the company intended but, rather, to make sure your information is accurate and compelling before you post on YouTube.

This week’s WriteMyMemoirs blog post started out as a discussion of the writing rules noted in a YouTube video called Top Ten Writing Rules From Famous Writers, which was posted last year by Lyra Communications. Instead, I’m on a rant! These are the ten rules listed:

10. Stephen King: Write a draft; then let it rest.

9. Stephen King: Read a lot.

8. George Orwell: Never use a long word when a short one will do.

7. George Orwell: Never use the passive voice when you can use the active voice.

6. Pierre Berton: Know your audience.

5. Pierre Berton: Recycle and read the good stuff before you write.

4. Andrew Morton: Honor the miraculousness of the ordinary.

3. Stephen King: Good copy = Draft minus 10%.

2. Bob Cooper: Look at every word in a sentence, decide if all are really needed and, if not, kill them;  be ruthless.

1. Al Kennedy: Writing doesn’t love you; it doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on.

I suppose those ideas are worthy of discussion—although I’m not sure they’d be my top ten—but I’m finding that I’d rather critique the video itself than the rules. I have a lot of problems with this video. First, there seems to be a “famous writer” shortage. Wouldn’t you be more interested in ten rules from ten different authors? Here, only six writers supply all ten rules. I also question how well these writers meet the title’s definition of “famous.” King and Orwell are the only famous writers, and that Cooper guy was the narrator’s professor; I don’t think that credential qualifies him. Also, speaking of Cooper, I had to reword his writing tip to make it grammatically correct! For the #1 writing tip, which is really not a tip but a plea, the narrator refers to the author as a “he” when the person actually is a woman. The communications lesson from this video is not what the company intended but, rather, to make sure your information is accurate and compelling before you post on YouTube.