I’m linking here to one of my favourite pages of hints and tips for writers. The Turkey City Lexicon is mainly targeted at writers of science fiction, but in actual fact many of the guidelines can be applied to any genre. For any writer, it makes hilarious – and sometimes painful – reading. We’ve all made a few of these gaffes at some point, and no doubt continue to do so.
Everyone will have their own favourites, but here are some of mine. And yes, you are right to think they are favourites because I’ve met them in person.
Signal from Fred
A comic form of the "Dischism" (q.v.) in which the author's subconscious, alarmed by the poor quality of the work, makes unwitting critical comments: "This doesn't make sense." "This is really boring." "This sounds like a bad movie." (Attr. Damon Knight)
Dennis Hopper Syndrome
A story based on some arcane bit of science or folklore, which noodles around producing random weirdness. Then a loony character-actor (usually best played by Dennis Hopper) barges into the story and baldly tells the protagonist what's going on by explaining the underlying mystery in a long bug-eyed rant. (Attr. Howard Waldrop)
The Jar of Tang
"For you see, we are all living in a jar of Tang!" or "For you see, I am a dog!" A story contrived so that the author can spring a silly surprise about its setting. Mainstay of the old Twilight Zone TV show. An entire pointless story contrived so the author can cry "Fooled you!" For instance, the story takes place in a desert of coarse orange sand surrounded by an impenetrable vitrine barrier; surprise! our heroes are microbes in a jar of Tang powdered orange drink.
But they are all my favourites… I have to stop there before I simply copy out the whole page. Enjoy it at your leisure.