Simple Writing Tips: A Thread
1) Writing while naked is absolutely morally impermissible. Don't even joke about doing it

Nobody consented to having to imagine your exposed genitals when thinking about your writing process. Cover up - at a bare minimum a long-sleeved shirt and full-length skirt/pants
2) Writing at night with the lights on wastes electricity and increases your carbon footprint, hastening climate change. Please write only during daylight hours, with your monitor turned to its lowest possible brightness
3) When using German words, do not remove the umlaut over vowels, as this changes the pronunciation and meaning of the word. Leave it in place or add the letter e after the vowel if your character set does not allow it

Also learn the difference between an "umlaut" and "diaresis"
4) When writing for a broadcast television series, remember that a "half-hour" sitcom is a misnomer, and traditionally leaves time for commercial breaks and station identification

If you write a script that actually takes a half-hour to perform, it will have to be cut for time
5) If you spell the word "maneuver" as "manoeuvre", you are a regressive transphobe unworthy of the community's trust
6) Brightly colored streaks look best as a contrast against darker shades of hair

Pink streaks in blonde hair look like a washed-out or incomplete dye job, especially in bright sunlight, and this is unattractive
7) When your protagonist reacts to someone dropping a silent-but-deadly fart wave in a tense public situation, it is unnecessary to have them verbally react

Having them simply make an involuntary facial expression while remaining politely silent is much funnier
8) When writing a character being "sucked into" a video game, having them literally be pulled through the screen is a visual metaphor that became outdated as soon as Captain N: the Game Master did it

Do not insult your audience by pretending this is how it would happen
9) If the only Jewish character in your work of fiction is Jewish by patrilineal descent, works in the hospitality industry and prominently uses an Android phone, you are a pedophile
10) If the only acknowledgement of real-world electoral politics in your work of fiction is a joking reference to the Obama/Biden campaign slogan "Yes We Can!", and your story takes place in the United States without specifying which state or city, you are a pedophile
11) If the only use of a real-life brand name in your work of fiction is the name of a brand of sneakers, and this name brand is used to characterize a teenage character as vain and obsessed with impractical consumer trends, you are a pedophile
12) If the only character in your work of fiction who speaks French is a thinly-veiled parody of explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau, who exists to enable your side plot about searching for a cryptid in your setting's local body of water, you are a pedophile
13) If the only character in your work of fiction who owns a pet owns a dog, and the dog is only mentioned once in passing and is never described in further detail nor does their dog ownership play any role in the story, you are a pedophile
14) Disk defragmentation utilities, while they were once a key tool in improving performance in aging systems, became increasingly less important as file systems improved over time and for a modern SSD are irrelevant
15) When writing an episode of Seinfeld that takes place entirely inside a parking garage, any punchline you have written for the end of the episode when they finally find their car and drive out of the parking spot will be less funny than the car simply failing to start
16) Don't you dare screenshot me on Twitter

If you have something to say about me say it to my face, you cowardly motherfucker
17) Kenny Bania is just not a great character

They don't know what the joke with him really is, and the core bit where he's too enthusiastic and in-your-face is done better by other characters

Also I just don't really care for the actor
18) When a character miraculously revives from death or near-death, their sudden inhalation of breath as they painfully jerk back into consciousness is spelled "Ahuuuoooahhh", not just "Huuuoooahhh"

The leading A is necessary
19) Don't fucking lock your account on Twitter then head over to your other account on Instagram or Facebook or whatever with screenshots to complain about the thread

You think people can't tell you're doing that? You think we're not all on the same Internet? Listen you little f
20) The letters q, x and z are well known for being uncommon in the English language

If you go out of your way to use words that begin with these letters, your language will seem stilted and unnatural to the typical reader

Try to keep use of these letters to a realistic level
21) A carburetor and a fuel injection system are two completely different mechanisms for the same goal of creating a combustible fuel/air mixture

A car's engine can only have one or the other

Pick one when describing your protagonist's car, and for God's sake keep it consistent
22) It is never necessary to write a character who is a natural redhead

You can do so if you want, but be aware we will be checking your author photo for your own hair color, and we will know whether this is self-insertion or nonconsensually involving the reader in your fetish
23) Characters who have graduated from college should not have living grandparents
24) If your work of fiction is divided into chapters that have individual titles, the one titled "The Beginning of the End" should come BEFORE the one titled "The End of the Beginning"

If you do it in the other order, you are a fascist Trump supporter
25) The idea that you can only flip meat once when grilling and doing so more than once is somehow harmful is a superstition not based in science

If you feel it's easier to judge the final temperature of a steak by flipping it multiple times, don't let anyone tell you not to
26) A time machine or teleporter should either be an enclosed structure or have a distinctly visible dome-shaped field showing is exactly what is and isn't transported, rather than leaving it to the reader to assume such a dangerous technology operates heuristically
27) If your character is a shapeshifter whose clothes conveniently change with them when they go from human to animal form, and they then have sexual intercourse in animal form, thus technically fully clothed, you should be arrested and thrown in prison for corruption of minors
28) If you are a television producer at NBC, and the writers of Mad About You write an episode that establishes that Kramer is canonically Paul's subletter, do not allow the Seinfeld writers to then establish that Mad About You is a fictional show in Seinfeld's universe
29) While the use of periods is considered optional to end sentences on social media and texting, you will have a somewhat difficult time getting your manuscript read if you do not use periods in a work of fiction intended for professional consumption
30) Having a sequel begin with the characters breaking the fourth wall and critiquing the original book they were introduced in is a time-honored storytelling technique

A work of fiction that refuses to do so well be inevitably inferior
31) You cannot go into writing sitcoms hoping to write Seinfeld. Seinfeld was already written once before, from 1989 to 1998, and if you try to do so again, you will be immediately sued for copyright infringement
32) A good story is symmetrical, like a sandwich, with bread on top and bottom

There is a reason sandwiches are the most popular food in every part of the world, and asymmetrical foods, such as pizza, are routinely folded over to make calzones
33) When a reader sends a DM request, saying they just want to talk, why won't you just reply

I mean, they said they just want to talk

Are you afraid or something? You could just say no

Come on, I know you're reading this

What, are you gonna block me on this handle too
34) If you want to write a character who dies of an aneurysm, a good time to do it is while they are flying a small plane, so they crash into the ocean and their body is never recovered

This makes their death into a tantalizing unsolvable mystery, when otherwise it would not
35) If a character is over six feet, six inches (200 cm) tall, they are too tall to ride the Top Thrill Dragster at Ohio's Cedar Point
36) If your character has voluntarily ordered and consumed a Quarter Pounder at McDonald's on three or more separate occasions within the past 72 hours, they simply are not a vegetarian, however they choose to identify
37) A character reflecting in solitude about their decisions that led them to this point as they slowly suffocate to death on Mars *is not* and *cannot be* a work of historical fiction, much less a 19th-century comedy of manners
38) Slowly zooming out to reveal the your setting is a miniature town in a snow globe being stared at by a child in whose imagination the entire previous story took place, if that story included sexual themes, is pedophilia
39) Your characters are your creation and you are wholly responsible for their actions. Any income they earn will have to be reported on your own tax returns and you cannot claim them as dependents, nor do they apply to the phase-out for the EITC
40) If you have a character that biting and stinging insects seem to hate, especially disease-carrying mosquitoes, but that attracts pollinators such as honeybees, butterflies and moths, that character is a keeper and may qualify you for a deduction on your property tax
41) If you have a writer on your staff who continually ignores good-faith fan feedback in favor of rooting around in trash cans and rinsing any food scraps they find under running water before eating them, this writer is probably a wild raccoon

Call animal control immediately
42) The easiest way to deal with upset readers, especially readers who contact you directly and refuse to leave you alone, is to send them $500

PayPal and Venmo usually work, but in some cases you may need to route a wire transfer or mail a paper check to a PO box
43) Moe was better than Shemp
44) How did the original one go all the way to ONE HUNDRED of these

Fuck it I'm out

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More from @arthur_affect

20 Nov
Okay so early scholars of infectious disease who realized disease could be spread by contaminated objects like clothes or utensils described this phenomenon as "fomes", the Latin word for "tinder" (the disease is like starting a fire)

(Epidemiologists know where this is going)
Scholars then adopted the Latin plural of "fomes", "fomites" (foe-mee-tays) to mean "different kinds of tinder" (i.e. different vectors of infection)

After a few hundred years, English-speaking epidemiologists started saying this as two syllables, "foe-mights"
And from this they got the completely incorrect singular back-formation "fomite", meaning "a surface that carries germs"

A word we all learned in 2020
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov
I met someone from Occidental who said it was a great point of pride among Oxy grads to be the campus that Obama's autobiography says he "wasted his time" at before transferring to Columbia in order to "get serious" and "turn things around"
The best thing about this sketch is the research, it's clearly the result of K&P being fans of Dreams From My Father

The "apartheid is a gnarly institution" quote references Obama's first public speaking engagement being an anti-apartheid rally at Oxy

The "intercepted!" thing is something Obama brags about doing as the leader of his high school "choom gang"

If you didn't keep the joint moving around the circle at a brisk enough pace young Obama would intercept it to teach you a lesson

"Don't ever sleep on Barry O"
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov
Whatever you think about IP law and capitalism in our modern world, Disney's abuse of said law is a monstrously evil distortion of any good-faith read on how it's supposed to work and absolutely needs to be stopped
Nothing about Disney's argument makes any sense, and it's really transparently just king-of-the-hill "I have the money and I have the lawyers, so how bout you try and fucking MAKE me pay my debts" Trump logic

Shameless
And the worst thing about it is that your first impulse in these situations is to call on people to boycott the company in question

But the whole reason Disney is doing this is they know that's damn near impossible
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
What's really striking about the COVID-19 crisis is that 9/11 gave tons of unearned, undeserved popularity to a bunch of dickheads they used as a free pass to do awful things

And COVID-19 *could* have done that for Trump & co. but they completely fucked the whole thing up
Trump didn't even implement a *bad* response to COVID, which he likely could have done, like W did with the PATRIOT Act and the Global War on Terror

He just did *nothing*, and made it *really obvious to everyone* he was doing nothing
Disasters tend to lower the bar tremendously for leaders and let them get away with all kinds of shit, traumatized people lose their judgment and become desperate for leadership and reassurance

You just have to actually pretend you fucking care
Read 5 tweets
5 Nov
Sitting here thinking about Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, and how the initial fantasy conceit of that book was a perfect example of taking an obvious joke and running with it until it's something dark and serious

That the abandoned Post Office is haunted by "dead letters"
Every letter sent but not delivered, you see, is like a tiny death

A little piece of "unfinished business"

An open loop in the emotional fabric of the universe

A broken promise, a missed opportunity, a lost glimpse of a world that might have been
In the grand scheme of things, one message undelivered is no big deal, something that can be cleared up a week later

But what about ten letters, a hundred, a thousand

What about when the central hub everyone was counting on to send their mail catastrophically shuts down
Read 18 tweets
4 Nov
The idea that the Republican candidate winning the White House in 2016 was some kind of struck-by-lightning impossibility is exactly the kind of infuriating hubris that got us here and that has me so pissed off today
It actually makes me very, very angry in hindsight that that's how people felt going into 2016

"How were we supposed to know the Republicans might win the election?"

Well there's two fucking parties so usually start with a 50/50 chance as your baseline
Maybe you could look at, you know, all of history and see that the White House flipping to the other party every eight years is how it normally works and the times it didn't do that are big notable exceptions
Read 4 tweets

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