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How to write!
JOHN GIBBS is a resident of Gays Mills, Wisconsin. He is an award-winning weekly columnist for the Crawford County Independent newspaper in Gays Mills, Wisconsin.

GAYS MILLS - I read about it in the Crawford County Independent:  the results of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s annual newspaper contest. I thought they had  cancelled the competition for pandemic reasons but apparently it was just postponed  for a while.  Anyhoo, the old Crawford County Independent and Kickapoo Scout did well and recently brought home some iron (and wood) in the form of trophies and plaques.  Huzzah!  No mention yet about increasing the price of subscriptions, but they certainly could with their award winning staff.

I’m on that staff, very part-time, and now I know what all the also-rans feel like on Oscar night. I have won awards in the past and know how great it feels.  Hats off to Emily (five firsts!) Jane, Len, Gillian, and Charley for the recognition of their consistent quality work on this important part of our community. It doesn’t bother me at all to be out of the running when I think of the high quality of newspaper people that are found throughout  Wisconsin. “If you can’t come in first, make the one(s) ahead of you set a new record”, so goes an old saying.  I’m proud to be on the home team.

That being said, I do like to improve my writing as I go along. Here are some of the ‘How to Write Good’ rules I refer to as I try to hone my craft as a wordsmith each week:

Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

One should never generalize.

Be more or less specific.

Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative will suffice.

No sentence fragments.

Eschew obfuscation.

Avoid Alliteration. Always.

Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

Exaggeration is a billion times  worse than understatement.

It behooves you to avoid archaic expressions.

Contractions aren’t necessary.

Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.

Who needs rhetorical questions?

Subject and verb always has to agree.

Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.

Don’t never use no double negatives.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Use your spell chekker to avoid mispeling.

Don’t overuse exclamation marks!!

Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

Use there, their, and they’re in there correct ways.

But seriously folks, I don’t write for awards.  I write because I enjoy doing it and my reward is the kind comments people have given me on the columns. Thank you.