June 15, 2017 Clyde Group

Writing Tips for “Just Touching This Up a Bit”

By Ryan Myers, Content Manager and Senior Associate

Take out all parentheticals.

Switch out words like “very” or “really” with more colorful language like “orange” or “summer tangerine.”

Add some pizazz.

Flip the front half of a sentence with the back half of a sentence. This can be done with any sentence, whichever one you choose is immaterial.

Consider using landscape instead of portrait orientation.

Add structure with guiding words like “Next” “Thenly” and “Most firstermore.”

Replace all instances of the passive voice with aggressive language. Consider profanity.

Alternate between banging your head into your keyboard and your keyboard into your head.

Use quantifying statements in place of qualifying statements to add confidence. Instead of “some readers might appreciate the change” try “17 readers 40.3% appreciate the change.”

Use photoshop to slim the piece down and fix any flaws.

Start without track changes. Make the piece empirically worse. Turn on track changes and undo everything. Return to sender.

Hand the latest draft off to the nearest writer in your vicinity. Ask them to “just touch this up a bit.”

With controlled alteration hit “ctrl-alt” and then “alt-ctrl” successively.

Replace any capital O’s with 0’s to save space.

Hyphenate-words-and-phrases-to-reduce-the-word-count-without-cutting.

Read the piece out loud in a heavy southern accent. Cut any lines that suddenly sound vaguely (or explicitly) racist.

Get three monkeys, a typewriter and a large box. Put the monkey in the box with the typewriter. Proceed to wait for all of eternity. You should end up with, not only a “touched up version” of the document, but also an exact transcript of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Take a break, meditate to align your charkas left, then shift the margins 1 inch toward enlightenment.

Face your screen (or paper) and, while maintaining direct eye contact, produce a low guttural scream. Continue this until the screen (or paper) stops screaming back.

Store the piece in a wooden barrel, ideally fashioned out of hickory. Store it in a dry environment and let it age for no less than 5 years.

Unplug it and plug it back in.

Print the piece out, cut the words out, lay them on the table in front of you and assemble them into new sentences. Try to emulate the tone and feel of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. People generally like The Great Gatsby.

Sautee the opening paragraph in a copper-bottomed kettle with diced shallots, garlic and a nice cooking wine. Keep the kettle on a low burning flame and rotate to ensure even heat distribution. It should be thoroughly cooked after 8-12 minutes and appear a light golden-brown. Plate it, pepper it with exclamations, add a sprig of parsley for garnish and voilà! Prepared correctly this dish should pair very nicely with those au gratin potatoes.

As you touch the piece up, preface important points with leading hypothetical questions, like “Why am I doing this?”

A version of this piece originally appeared on The Higgs Weldon

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