Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bad Writing, and What In G d's Name Can We Do About It

I gotta stay away from Smashwords.  That's the lesson of the morning.

I wish I could copy and paste the first sentence of a story that's just been published there.  It's 63 words long.  I can safely assure you I have never written a sentence 63 words long.  I don't even want to deal with how bad the length alone is.  I'll attempt to explain the story's situation--thankfully only 1 page of this 3 page masterpiece is available for preview.  A 15 year old is asleep in her bed dreaming of her boyfriend who inflames curious sensations deep within her body (how deep, one wonders) and wakes to find she's sorta being raped.  Her breath is frozen in her lungs, she's unable to cry out but then fortuitously remembers there's a huge 160 lb. dog in the room which she then commands to attack her rapist (the dog has inexplicably slept through the rape).  Then apparently her gay father and his boytoy bust into the room and swoop up the now 12 year old girl into their protective arms while the rapist bleeds out from his torn carotid artery.  Poor dog, what a trauma for her.  Gabrielle (Guilietta?  Raphaela?)   Just try to get all those syllables out when you're being crushed by the odorific body, reeking breathed rapist who's got your mouth covered with his.

I taught writing for a while.  Some people want to learn and others are just so pleased with themselves, there's too much ego-static to penetrate in order to convince them what they're doing stinks on ice.  I also edited scripts when I worked in television so I've seen my share of really dreky writing. 

I'm not a therapist and a lot of bad writing results from psychology problems.  Narcissism will do that to you.  Lack of knowledge of the basics of the English language can be another cause.

So what do we do about it? 

1) Don't bother trying to edit it.  Einstein couldn't figure it out.
2) Don't bother trying to help the writer see the error of his ways.
3) Don't bother trying to read it, it's a waste of time and will only annoy you.

Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year) to everyone who winds up here this week.

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