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How to Write Badly

Ever wanted to write something so heinously bad that all who read it would never want to pick up a book as long as they lived? Well, here are a few ground rules that you could use to become the worst writer ever. An anti-bestseller if you will.

Step 1: Begin with the protagonist gazing at the rain and realising it mirrors his life.

“The man got out of bed to gaze out at the pouring rain on the other side of his window. It was beautiful. It was familiar. It was his life. The way the rain trickled down the glass of his window reminded him of how he failed to ever retain the people in his life and how they had just... dripped away.”

Rain, protagonist, depressed; it's as clichéd an opening you could hope for. Right from the get go, you have your reader annoyed. Good job.

Step 2: Don't use spell-check

“Wat cud he do, he pondared. He lookd arownd da prizon sell but it seemd he had no path of escap. He felt swet trikle down his fourhead. Wat cud he do?”

Spelling incorrectly is an easy way to give a reader a migraine. Nobody will have the patience to bother figuring out what anything means and will give up reading, swearing at why they even tried. Bad spelling is worse than terrible grammar. Follow this step, and even the easily won critics will hate you.

Step 3: Always use a thesaurus

“The child ran through the dark, empty street. He took a brief look behind him and confirmed that his pursuer was still hot on his trail.”

The above are two regular sentences. Now, watch what happens if we apply a thesaurus.

“The youngster sprinted from end to end of the shadowy, bare boulevard. He pilfered an epigrammatic glance after him and established that his tracker was in spite of everything warm on his path.”

Need I explain further?

Step 4: Describe every single thing

“I, a middle-aged man plagued by arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, those eight-legged creatures, stood frozen to the spot, at a complete standstill, that is to say nothing was moving, including the spider as it stared, gazed, back at me. I tried to move, induce locomotion, but my legs, lower limbs connected to my hip, would not budge. The clock, a device meant to tell time, the abstract concept describing the continuous passage of events, reached 12, midnight, the number after 11.”

Describing things is good. Describing the number 12 or explaining what time it is, is not. Maybe this just arises from the childish habit of having to surpass the word limit at any cost.

Step 5: End with an absurd twist

“The gun was pointed directly at Mr. Brown. Even though, Mr. Brown was unarmed, Agent Hagar was shaking. “Why? I thought you were my friend!”

Mr. Brown gave a little smile and said “I'm not. I'm not actually Solomon Brown. I'm his evil twin brother”.”

This is especially irksome if the rest of your story is normal and nothing about an evil twin had been mentioned. Evil twin-brother can be substituted by robot, time-traveller, time-travelling robot, vampire or chupacabra. Any of them work. All of them will make the readers regret ever reading it.

If all of these steps are used in your writing, I guarantee you will have an anti-bestseller on your hands. That is if a publisher or magazine touches it.

By Bareesh

The following topic was chosen out of a few topics that ran in RS at the turn of the last century. Compare and Contrast at will. And don't forget, now you can:

Get your e-mail for free

In the not so distant past, a man decided to use his savings to buy a computer. You may wonder why he had to dip into his savings, since a decent computer costs less than a TV nowadays. Well, back then, a personal computer was as expensive as a shabbily built Indian hatchback car today.

So, he goes to the only computer shop within a radius of thirty kilometers and breaks his piggy bank paying for a 150 MHz (60 MHz bus) Intel Processor, 8 MB of RAM, a 128 MB hard-disk, and a shiny new floppy drive. He's psyched about his new PC since it comes loaded with groundbreaking new software and tech like Microsoft Internet Explorer 3, Windows NT, and Direct X 2.0.

He needs to use Internet Explorer, to, well, explore the Internet with insane speeds of 8 kbps (he doesn't know how awesome that is yet), courtesy of his dial-up connection. At work, over the next few days, he hears a lot of banter about “free” e-mail. Apparently you don't have to be at the mercy of your ISP anymore for electronic mailing purposes, plus, you can access your mail account from anywhere where there is a PC with an internet connection. Super excited, our new computer user goes home and discovers HoTMail.

He signs up for his free email account. By now, his enthusiasm has died down a bit. Who will he send emails to? A workplace acquaintance comes to mind. Taking out his wallet, he rifles through about twenty cards before he finds the right one. He luckily finds the guy at home, asks him to open up a HoTMaiL account and tell him his email address.

After about half an hour, the newfound “friend” calls and leaves his email address. Our protagonist then sends his first email: “Hey man. Want to go grab a bite?”

In 1996, the first free web-based mail service was launched in the form of HoTMaiL. Yahoo joined the ranks soon after. 1996 was the year when total email correspondence surpassed the total snail mail in the US. Google, one of the most used sites ever, started its development work at Stanford University in mid-1996. Internet chat-rooms popped up everywhere. The domain myspace.com came online in 1996, even though the actual social networking site was launched in 2003.

15 years later, you have quad core 3.5GHz processors, 24 GB's of RAM, 1 TB hard-disks, Direct X 11.0, and still, free email. And a site with the address facebook.com ranks just below google.com as the most visited page on the Internet. Even just a few years back you had to be invited by someone who already had a Gmail account to join gmail.com. Just makes you wonder what we'll have in the next 10 years or so. Maybe we'll finally know how it feels to pay for a mail account as we're forced to pay for signing up for some absurd reason.

We in Bangladesh got to have the magic of internet a little after 1998. I'm sure most of you remember the first time you signed up for your free email, whether it was just for the heck of it or for some official purpose. Just thank your lucky stars no one needs to pay to sign up for email these days. Making fake Facebook profiles would be so much harder.

Instructions to opening your free email account:

1) Go to your browser. Internet Explorer will do. Even the ancient ones.

2) Go to any online email service, eg: yahoo.com; hotmail.com

3) Fill in your details. Be as dishonest as possible, eg: claim to be a 19 year old female when, in reality, you're a 34 year old single male living in your mom's basement.

4) Voila!

Sources: islandnet.com; computerhope.com/history; Wikipedia

Sites visited while procrastinating: facebook.com; gmail.com; facebook.com; speedhunters.com; facebook.com

By Shaer Reaz



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