Celebrating East African Writing!

The Writing Code

I thought I’d share some humorous writing tips I came across while doing research for this blog. If you read carefully, you will see the point demonstrated. If you don’t, you have absolutely no business calling yourself a writer. Comment below.

Break the rules at your own peril.

Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.

Never use no double negatives.

Use the semicolon properly, always where it is appropriate; and never where it is not.

Reserve the apostrophe for it’s proper use and omit it where it is not needed.

Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

No sentence fragments.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Avoid commas, that are not necessary.

When you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

A writer must not shift your point of view.

Do not overuse exclamation marks!!! (In fact, avoid them whenever possible!!!)

And do not start a sentence with a conjunction.

Place pronouns as closely as possible, especially in long sentences, as of ten or more words, to their antecedents.

Hyphenate only between syllables and avoid un-necessary hyphens.

Write all adverbial forms correct.

Don’t use contractions.

Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

It is incumbent on us to avoid archaisms.

If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

Steer clear of incorrect verb forms that have snuck into the language.

Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixed metaphors.

Avoid modernisms that sound flaky.

Avoid barbarisms: they impact too forcefully.

Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

Everyone should be careful to use singular pronouns with singular nouns in their writing.

If we’ve told you once, we’ve told you a thousand times: avoid hyperbole.

Also, avoid awkward or affected alliteration.

Do not string a large number of prepositional phrases together unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Always pick on the the correct idiom.

“Avoid overuse of ‘quotation’ ‘marks.'”

Never use more words than are necessary to get your point across: be concise.

Awayz check you’re spelling. (Your spellchecker would only pick up one of the two errors here.)

Always be avoided by the passive voice.

Every sentence a verb.

Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague: seek viable alternatives.

So, let us now go into the Kenyan Conversations. The Stories below were entered into the Storymoja/Generation Kenya – Kenyan Conversations Contest last week. Please read them, and vote on them to choose the story that will be entered into the Kenyan Conversations Final Judging Round.

Chasing the Dream: It’s a chilly night. My friend and I have been in this road before. Actually, this is where we spend most of the nights. You see we came here through our friend Suresh…

One Single Day: Our worst fear is not to die but the falling of each dawn for that come with extra challenges but we move on.

The Actors: He feels sorry for Githinji, the Githinji. A man should not appear that desperate in front of a woman.

The Burning Bush: The flame and heat were everywhere. The fire had both socio-political and economic twist to it. A burning fire…

Remember, when you see the photos up, you can comment on the blog under the picture on the Storymoja Blog or Send in a story or dialogue that is not more than 500 words long to Clearly mark in the subject Contemporary/Kenyan Conversations (Insert Number indicated)

Have a look at the contest guidelines here before you send in your piece. All entries that do not adhere to contest guidelines will not be published.

The prize details are as follows:

1st Prize: 2000/-, 2 Storymoja books and 1 complimentary day pass to the Storymoja Hay Festival

2nd Prize: 1500/-, 1 Storymoja book, and 1 Complimentary day pass to the Storymoja Hay Festival

3rd Prize: 1000/-, and 1 complimentary Day Pass to the Storymoja Hay Festival

3 complimentary day passes for best comments on the pictures.

Be Part of the Kenyan Conversation! For more details, write to



This entry was posted on August 8, 2010 by in Writing.