The Red Pen of Doom

Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.

About this blog

Conventional wisdom about writing is typically half-baked nonsense that: (a) takes 394-pages of text to explain, in insane detail, some writer’s system involving 3 x5 index cards, yellow highlighters and Lazy Susans, (b) tells writers to find their happy place and write at the same time every day, or (c) obsesses about microscopic details like split infinitives and dangling modifiers.*

This blog is meant to cut through all that garbage.

It’s a place for writers of all types — novelists and journalists, speechwriters and screenwriters — to strip away the window dressing and theories, to get down to the essential guts of all good writing. Which really is editing and structure.

Also, it’s an excuse to talk about (a) the real reasons why Snooki is famous, (b) how creative folks should use free ink and airtime to bust through and (c) why Norwegian zombie movies can teach us Very Important Things about storytelling.

I hope you find the blog useful, and entertaining. My promise to you: I shall never be Boring.**

*The Dangling Modifiers would be a great name for a punk rock band.

**Though it won’t be boring, the blog is safe for work and any random pookies you have, which means please do your part  by keeping it clean in the comment section. No photos of Men in Kilts who’ve lost their kilts or comments that use all of the FCC’s Seven Dirty Words  as adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs and prepositions.  I don’t want to be the Comment Police, though I do enjoy deleting comments that are TSTL. 

Also: It’s true this blog started out randomly, when I posted a craigslist ad to sell my beater Hyundai and learned that craigslist kills your ad after two weeks. The ad needed a home and my wicked smart sister said, “WordPress, you fool.” That silly ad went viral. Here it is: Epic Black Car deserves good owner; are you worthy?

Also-also: I hate semi-colons, so that may be the first and last time they ever get used here.

Also-cubed: Now, I do this for fun, and for free, so another possible title for this silly blog would be The Land of Crazy First Drafts, Full of Typos and Whatever, because this blog is not copy edited or anything. I HAVE NO TIME. If you see horrible offenses against the English language, please shout. By shouting, I mean “post a comment” so I can fix it. Thank you.


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.

26 comments on “About this blog

  1. ronmitchelladventure
    March 11, 2015

    I like it, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Belladonna Took
    January 20, 2015

    Oh my word, I am so glad I found you! Yes, yes, YES! Finally so much of what I hate about my writing makes sense.

    Shit. Just realized you expected wit. Oh well … sucks to be you, I guess. But I’ll be around; better luck next time… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. seaofgold2012
    January 8, 2015

    Here’s the thing, having little wit myself I truly appreciate wit in others. I have had flings and affairs with those low life limericks. People should write, writing rules are important for those who don’t write well, far less relevant for those who write well. However, rules or no rules, there are those who create amazing worlds and pull readers into those worlds. They do it because, consciously or unconsciously they have a mastery of words, and usage of words. Patrick O’Brian, Susannah Clarke, yes an ever Terry Pratchett handle language in a way that creates worlds more intensely than many other writers, regardless of the books they sell.


  4. Thom Hickey
    October 19, 2014

    Thanks Guy. Pleased to have discovered you here and looking forward to reading more. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel)


  5. Roo's Muse
    September 20, 2014

    I had to stop and check out a blog with such a title as this as a loved one frequently uses the terms, The [whatever taskmaster calls it] of doom… An hour later, I’m captivated. Good stuff here.


  6. Louis from VA
    June 15, 2014

    I’m sorry, I have to disagree WHY WOULD YOU SAY SUCH A THING SEMICOLONS ARE AWESOME!! ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
    I’m sure you have a good reason for disliking them; I just think they’re cool.
    P.S. Awesome blog.


  7. Katie
    March 25, 2013

    You just put a up curve to my lips. Thank you


  8. Gilly fraser
    January 27, 2013

    You had me at ‘I hate semi-colons’.


  9. change it up editing
    December 30, 2012

    Thanks for the Twitter follow, and I’m glad to have found you! Looking forward to reading more!


  10. Thomas
    December 5, 2012

    Seen your page after tryna pimp books (your phrase not mine) along with both my heart and soul on twitter. This as well as all the other worn out crap was taking its toll, to tell you the truth it was tiring yanno? Anyhoos thought hey I like this guy so I read on. The car advert by the way is a master class lol.
    . So am gonna stop pimping and start writing more. Am all on it like a scotch bonnet mister, ya got a new pal from Liverpool England by the way my book is called …………… hee hee!!


  11. *Contributing writer for The New York Times, doing 200-some posts as their expert on public relations*
    A comma between Times and about would just about fix the problem here. Or you could make it a real sentence. I dunno.


    • Guy
      October 30, 2012

      I’ll make it an unreal sentence or a surreal sentence. Possibly an undead sentence — haven’t decided.


  12. Rainsake
    September 16, 2012

    Came across your page looking up the Blue Dragon, you’re pretty funny man, and your penchant for random yet well placed jokes is spot on. Kudos and keep it up.


  13. jaxpress
    August 9, 2012

    Thank you for your insight, experience, wit and advice put all together in one place. It’s for all these things and more that I’ve nominated you for the Reader Appreciation Award. Not quite a witty comment, but many of your posts have enough of them to make up it :).


  14. Nomad Urbanista
    July 16, 2012

    I have had my share of subs and editors who were obsessed with ze split infinitive and would start foaming if I spoke about how the English language is evolving as we speak.. I normally advice people to write, step away, cook or watch TV, then come back and edit before sending it….or give it to someone else.. even if you are an editor…


  15. goodpulp
    June 12, 2012

    Love the blog and especially your style. Quick witted and sharp tongued – and I know that sounds cliched but it’s also exactly how I feel either way I’m a fan and will continue to read your stuff. Thanks.

    Also, I was curious as to where you heard about my blog, or the site – I noticed you subscribed to my blog and was curious as to where you stumbled upon it. Thanks again.


  16. Alexandria
    May 19, 2012

    My, you are quite good looking. How come not the picture of your bad handsome self on the Twitter? Afraid all the girls will fall in love with you? Be still, my heart. Love, A


  17. samanthacangelosi
    May 18, 2012

    Thank you so much for following my blog! Just clicked the “follow” button on yours.


  18. Bill Davis
    May 6, 2012

    Thanks for the follow. Enjoying your blog and following it now… reading bits of posts to my wife. Interesting and helpful advice. I have to agree with you re: Livia. Amazing material there.


  19. kford2007
    May 5, 2012

    Love your blog! Thanks for following mine so I could find yours. 🙂 It’s what it’s all about, right?


  20. Munir Khan (@munir104)
    March 30, 2012

    One of the best blogs around, and is it says in the ad “never boring”!


  21. LaT
    February 8, 2012

    Couldn’t understand why this guy Guy kept appearing on my Twitter pages. Finally decided to explore further and came across this brilliant blog. Inspiring stuff, thank you. Maybe my half-written book will get finished after all….


  22. zerogeewhiz
    January 10, 2012

    This man rocks. And like pirate movies. Four stars.


  23. Angela
    December 4, 2011

    I completely concur with your (a) (b) (c) comment. Thanks for putting out such an insightful blog.


    • Guy
      December 4, 2011

      Thanks for visiting, and commenting.


  24. Latricia
    November 26, 2011

    Normally I’m against killing but this article slahutgered my ignorance.


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