As a respected literary website, we’re always getting submissions from would-be comedians, aspiring scribes, and even railway tramps who’ve abandoned writing tall tales on the walls of boxcars with their own poo, with hopes of entering the digital age. Besides the obvious problem of forcing my scant staff of 57 interns who survive on a stipend of bread ends and unlimited candy canes to comb through thousands of submissions, the biggest issue we face is that very few are formatted properly.
In the past I’ve hesitated to make this style guide public but I recently had to turn down a promising Mark Twain spoof called “The Adventures of Tom Lawyer and Fuckleberry Hinn” because its formatting rendered it unreadable to my audience. To stop this from happening again, and from you wasting time that could be dedicated to planting bushes in funny places, I’ve copy and pasted an abridged version of the complete guide that covers the basics. If you’d like the complete version or if you’re currently working on a novel that you’d like to pitch to our Buck Fumble Books ‘n Calendars imprint, please sent a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
345 Tree Street
For numbers greater than ten, use figures, not words. If you need to know whether to use feminine or masculine terminology when describing a number, here is a cheat sheet:
1 – girl
2 – girl
3 – boy
5 – girl
6 – boy
7 – girl
8 – boy
9 – ??
To figure out the gender of numbers greater than nine containing one masculine and one feminine number, ask your parents.
If you’re planning on writing a number over 1,000,000,000 you must add an asterisk and corresponding footnote describing why you think there’s a number funnier or better.
Heights, weights, etc.
We use imperial units when talking about people, hens, gravy and anything purple (e.g. “The 12 foot woman snacked on the 40 pound hen while dabbing an ounce of iced gravy on her four inch, dark purple bruise (that she got when one of her students threw and apple at her (she’s a teacher)”).
For everything else we use the Canadian metric system, which is the same as the universal metric system except we have a unit of nothingness called a “nist”.
There is an exception for industry standards, e.g. we would never measure slop in kilograms but rather sacks.
Only use exclamation points if your sentence has an explosion in it, or if you’re me. I’m the voice of the site and can yell whenever I want.
Never use the letter “b” unless you ask me for permission first! I don’t want to get into “hows? whats? whys? and whoas!” of it so let’s just say that it has something to do with what I thought was an empty promise to a woman I loved, stealthily overseen and notarized by a magistrate who held a grudge against my family because our frog farm put their toad shed out of business.
Whenever you use a word that features double letters, you must say out loud “double trouble!” You may be wondering how I’m able to enforce this rule but let’s just say the magistrate and I patched up our relationship. His legal knowledge, combined with strategically placed shrubbery in funny places, grants me the ability to move about this world unnoticed and ready to enforce the rules.
If you’re a freelance writer, please include a small tilde (˜) at the bottom right of every page, in honour of whoever this guy Lance was who apparently went to the slammer in order for writers to pitch stories to whoever they want. I’m not 100% sure that’s what “freelance” means, but the teenager who told me also taught me the code in Street Fighter that gives Dhalsim a Polo shirt and that was true.
And finally, be clear with your abbreviations! Don’t assume I know what you’re talking about. I was once about to publish what I thought was a hilarious diatribe against the hated Nut Bagel Alliance only to realize the author was actually talking about something called the National Basketball Association. I assumed the part about more “three pointers” was simply stating that nut bagel fans should abandon their favourite snack in favour of Doritos. And when they argued for more “slam dunks”, I found myself nodding at the thought of dunking a sesame bagel into a glass of almond milk, which makes way more sense than getting a bagel with almonds on it.