Hey, bro, you been doing a little writing? I was looking for a lighter and saw your essay on your desk.
Don't be embarrassed. Me and Tanner read it after we smoked a couple bowls. We laughed like bastards.
Dude, come here. We laughed because we were high, not because of your essay. I have some thoughts about it, if you want to hear them.
Let’s start with some positives. This piece—I know, “piece”—should be in The New Yorker, like tomorrow, bro. Super original idea—a first-person account of a fishing trip with your dad. I’m not sure it’s ever been done before, at least not as sick as this. Fuck, man, you’re gonna disrupt the genre.
Let’s talk about technique for a second. Writing dorks have a rule they like to beat into the ground: show, don’t tell. It means that writers should describe things through sensory detail instead of just “telling” the reader about them. It’s more captivating to the reader and shit. They’d say you need to do more showing and less telling. I say, someone needs to show them how to get laid. I mean, “Dad’s truck was red. It was a Ford.” Keep tellin’ it like it is, bro!
Okay, we started with some positives. Let’s move on to some more positives. The way you structured this piece is genius. Let me read the first paragraph out loud: “Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish. Fish are often caught in the wild but may also be caught from stocked bodies of water. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping.” Three words, bro: epic ass intro! Just be sure to throw some quotes around it because the wording came straight from Wikipedia.
And then the next paragraph—even more badassery: “Dads and fishing go hand in hand! I’m going to tell you about when my Dad took me fishing for the first time when I was six years old.” That’s what you call setting the table, my friend. Powerful words. They really prime the reader for your strictly chronological account of your fishing trip.
What next? There’s just a shitload of awesomeness in here. I love the part where your dad wouldn’t teach you to bait a hook because he wanted you to learn on your own. I know there’s some kind of metaphor here because you write, “There’s some kind of metaphor here.” Most writers don’t have the chops to annotate their metaphors like that. You do it four times. Wicked innovative, bro!
One more thing about your dad refusing to teach you to bait a hook. After you say that, you say right here, on page 3, that your dad taught you “everything there is to know about fishing… EVERYTHING!” Logic geeks would say this is contradictory, bro, but I say my boy’s just challenging the reader to ponder the true nature of fishing. Does it include baiting a hook? When exactly do you begin fishing? Tanner and I argued about this for two hours. Philosophical as shit, dude.
Oh, that was a mistake? Yeah, take that part out then.
Alright, bro, I’ve been stroking your ego so far—yeah, I know, “stroking”—but it’s time to put you in the hot seat. You know how in standard grammar, commas are used after introductory clauses and to separate the independent clauses in compound sentences? Sick twist on that rule, bro! The semicolon just pops more. “After we got in Dad’s truck; Dad turned on the radio; and my favorite song was playing.” This reads just like poetry. And so do the twenty-seven other places where you told the comma to fuck off.
Anyway, back to the hot seat, hot shot! You know how you call your dad “Dad,” but his name is Ted? Well, some readers could be confused because you use “Dad” and “Ted” interchangeably without explaining that they’re the same person. But I say, fuck them, bro. Who else would Ted be? They already know you went fishing with your dad, so when you say, “Dad handed me my rod, and then Ted said, ‘Let’s catch a whopper today,’” who the hell would they think Ted is? If you need to clarify anything, bro, it’s who “Old Man Red Truck” is.
Oh, that’s your dad too? You did already say his truck was red, and he’s old, so I guess fuck me then.
Well, those are all of my thoughts, bro. You’re a master of your craft. No, not the hazy IPA you’re drinking, but you’re a master of that too. I mean you’re a master of the writing craft. There’s no need to put cover sheets on your essays labeled “porn” any more.
Now sack up and submit this shit.