Tag Archives: writing

The glennmacaulay.com Style Guide

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
Toronto, ON
O0O 0O1

Numbers

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
4 -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.

Other

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.

 

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A Writer Attempts To Craft A Humourous Piece On Metric Conversions

Being an accomplished writer seems easy on paper–the same paper we stain with strokes of ink that is weaved into magic and truth–but in reality it’s as difficult as performing dolphin surgery on the deck of rowboat during a winter’s gale. That last sentence took as much out of me as a marathon runner with skunks taped to her legs, just to let you know. While it would be a worthwhile exercise to allow you to observe me, live, during “surgery”, as a writer I’d rather tell–and more importantly show– you how difficult it is. Here’s a rare peek beneath the black satin curtain, shimmering like an anaconda at dusk in the dark blue mud of the Amazon.

BACKGROUND

I wanted to craft a humour piece suited for Big Apple quarterlies where I list metric conversions, only silly. Like Samuel de Champlain, I was having trouble deciding where to go next. My first instinct was to frame these conversions as under-appreciated, oft-ignored tenets of the metric system. By going that route my intro would read something like this:

OPTION 1

Mitres and litres, the two-headed beast of the metric system, have been well-compensated for their dominance in the worldwide height and volume game. Their various offspring as well as their capable pal, the gram, are certainly less heralded but are still in heavy rotation on the lips and forms of our top scientists and estimators. Go even further outside of the mainstream and you’ll find a legion of virtually unknown units that have real world uses. In order to help you understand them, here they are put into context via Imperial conversion:

0 imperial fucks given = 3.2 metric guffs

1 36DD imperial bra = .3 metric grocery bags


My other option was to differentiate these made up units from their internationally recognized counterparts by giving them a sort of streetwise persona. In the following intro I create a first-person narrator accustomed to strange metric conversions in a fictional urban centre.

OPTION 2

You sit there in your suburban fuckin’ four-walled, one roof homes, worryin’ about titty flicks on Billy’s Netflix list and  whether doggy has a fresh patch of grass to shit on. You’re ignorant to what’s really goin’ on out there on the streets where life is a chess match between two bags of humidity being watched over by a moth-eaten raccoon wearing armour made of crud. Your metric conversions are written in Billy’s textbook or scrawled in your butler’s notepad, where the worst thing a mis-conversion leads to is dry ass banana bread. Out here we converting shit you never even imagined, and if we don’t get the numbers right? People end up dead. Know these next time you step into my world:

Imperial size large jean jacket = Size Maybe Metric jean jacket with an extra metric half sleeve

An imperial pinch of cinnamon = .04 metric fists of cinnamon


And finally, I could use the “news bureau” motif that I commonly turn to where I reach out to “staff members” (well-crafted characters of various aptitudes) to aid in the creation of content.

OPTION 3

We reached out to our team of foreign correspondents and network of nosy paperboys to find out how the metric system is used in the real world and not in the stuffy laboratories of the elite. Feter Poncle of our Belgian Bureau starts things off with interesting conversions he found useful when researching a story on the enigmatic trollers of the Dover Strait:

An imperial double click = a metric triple click with a half scroll

1 film rated imperial ages 18 and up = 2 films rated metric 20 and a bit

1 all you can eat imperial buffet = 3 metric ham slams


The lesson here is that being writer is often like being a locksmith. You can have a sack full of keys, but which doors do they open? It’s also like being a being a blacksmith because computers that you type on get pretty hot.

Check back next week when I show you how to write beautiful poetry using nothing more than the subject line of your last spam email.

Proper essay structure

I recently completed a rigorous semester of study at the University of School, and although I maintained a ‘P’ average I wish I had’ve known how to write a proper essay before getting there.

To help out future students I’ve created a simple diagram that should help to guide you through your first essay. Thank you so much.
proper_essay_format