Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cyber Pox and Other Writerhood Diseases

by W.L. Elliott

In working with other writers to critique various works, including my own, I have gained an extensive knowledge of diseases common among manuscripts.

In the interest of saving the world from an epidemic, I will now impart the latest list of plagues discovered by the Center for Manuscript Disease Control.

Cyber Pox

Symptoms: A rash of red marks all over your manuscript. Do not panic – this is to be expected when you send your manuscript out into public for the first time. It is not only common, but desirable in the early stages, as it will save you from extensive outbreaks later in life if properly cared for the first time around.

Close examination by author, and prompt action to improve wherever the rash of red marks is visible.

Pagination Disease:

Symptoms: Manuscript will look slightly skewed, and show large sections of blank page. This is easily treatable, though irritating. It is simply a small case of displacement of words on the page, common when someone sends a manuscript back. Pagination Disease usually accompanies Cyber Pox.

Treatment: The same as for Cyber Pox, with an added chiropractic adjustment of page breaks.

Creativitus Lackus
More commonly known as Writers Block or Brain Cloud.

Symptoms: Inability to think of anything worth putting down on paper, and usually includes leaving characters in a lurch. Can be dangerous, resulting in bad writing, lack of interest or, in extreme cases, abandonment of manuscript. Luckily, this disease is not contagious. Creativitus Lackus is known to have recurring episodes over the life of the writer.

Treatment: Many options are available, some more painless than others. The top three are generally accepted as:
--Pentopaper Immedius, or Freewritus Non Stopus
--Grupis Therapy
--Readius Moorish
Boosters against recurrence are encouraged in the form of frequent contact with other writers.


Symptoms: There are two distinct forms of Typosemia.

Strain A causes a loss of fine motor control in the fingers, resulting in a complete disorder of letters in any given word the writer is attempting to put on paper. This can be caused by many factors. The rarest form of this strain occurs when a scene or plot runs through the brain at a faster rate than the fingers can type. Those who suffer from this rarest of forms rarely complain about it.

Strain B causes a complete blindness to any incorrect words within the writers own manuscript, though they can still perfectly see any mistakes in any other writing.

Medicate with a grammar/spell-check program. Holistic cures, provided by a reputable writers group, can also prove effective, but may result in Cyber Pox and/or accompanying Pagination Disease.
Treatment remains the same for both strains.


The unreasonable fear of altering a manuscript in any way. This does not only infect those who write, it can also affect those who critique. Major onset of Revisophobia is almost always directly linked to witnessing Cyber Pox. Those affected tend to eat large quantities of chocolate, pout in corners, and may become argumentative.

Self medication is necessary, as advanced revisophobia makes the sufferer leery of any other writer. Strangely enough, the symptoms are also the cure; i.e. large doses of chocolate and a good pout, though argumentativeness will only make matters worse. Behavioral modification is also highly beneficial, and the writer should reach for a pen and paper as soon as possible after onset of the disease.

As shown by the above information, writerhood diseases are common and treatable. With attention and care, writers need not suffer unduly from these afflictions.

For those who may be currently suffering from any of the above maladies, take heart in knowing you are not alone. Studies show that 99.44% of writers will, at one time or another, suffer any or all of the above conditions. Any mark remaining from said infection will be looked upon as battle scars, and coveted by less experienced authors.

This has been a public service announcement from the National Center for Manuscript Health and your Local Writers Group.

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