The Red Pen of Doom

Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.

CHARACTER ISSUES – A new column in Criminal Element

Character Issues - Dear Professor Moriarty

I love advice columns, especially when the questions are incredibly minor, quirky or insane.

Across the pond, they call these advice columnists Agony Aunts, which is perfect.

Dear Abby has gotten a lot more exciting with her daughter now writing it, and we have an amazing columnist in my backyard with Savage Love by Dan Savage, who’s unafraid to tackle anything and famous enough to be on the glowing tube all the time.

HOWEVER: What if you wrote Dear Abby-style questions of etiquette and manners, but had them answered by literary tough guys and diabolical villains?

What if you cranked up the answers to 11?

This. This would happen.

Three more columns are written and lined up to go. They’re being published in Criminal Element, a daily blog about mysteries and thrillers—books, TV, movies, the whole shebang.

I had a lot of fun writing it and would love to hear (a) your questions about etiquette and manners and (b) suggested characters to answer them.

Bring it on in the comment section here, on Twitter @speechwriterguy or via secret emails @


This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

About Guy Bergstrom

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot.

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