The Formula

Chaos in Print

OK, so here’s the deal. I’ve been slacking off for the past few days and I’ve got nothing. So, instead of doing something very half-assed and writing a half-assed column, I’ve decided to do something much more productive. I’m going to teach you how to write your own column! See, the thing is, all my columns follow a formula. It’s a formula that I first uncovered way back in grade 8, and it led me to ace Language Arts, high school English, and every English class I took in university. Yes, it is just that easy. Just follow this simple formula, and you can entertain your friends and family with your dazzling wit and superb writing skills. It goes a little something like this:

1) In your introductory paragraph, talk about one of your favourite TV shows or movies or comic books. A very, very common one for me since junior high was the most recent episode of Star Trek.

2) For here, you segue into a brief summation of a personal anecdote from your life.

3) Now, most of my personal anecdotes lead to some form of angst in my life. Spend a paragraph whining about what’s bugging you now.

4) Writing helps you work through it. Once you’ve got that paragraph on paper, spend another paragraph sharing the life lesson you’ve learned from your angst.

5) Take that life lesson, and apply it to that TV show you saw last night, making one last comparison between your life and your hero’s.

Now, I said that this was the formula that helped me kick ass in so many English classes. If you want to use this for class, just make these simple substitutions:

“Brief summation of a personal anecdote from your life” becomes “brief summary of the plot of the novel/short story/play/poem you had to read.”

“Angst in your life” becomes “the angst of the main character.”

“the life lesson” becomes “the theme of the work.”

It’s just that easy. Feel free to expand upon this formula all you want. Just never forget the central concept. Teachers love comparisons. As long as you can draw a comparison between an abstract concept and the everyday life, you seem smarter than you really are.

So, go write your own column! I hope to read it on your website.

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