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Distinguished Wordsmith
Raven_Lunatic
Posts: 302
Registered: ‎10-13-2008
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How NOT to write #2894: difference between writing a book and winning the Bulwer-Lytton contest

I think this lady was going for the "Bulwer-Lytton contest" option.

 

Here is the honest-to-God opening sentence of the first chapter of J.A. Jance's Cruel Intent:

For the hundredth time that day, Ali Reynolds asked herself why she'd ever let her agent, Jacky Jackson, talk her into being a part of MCMR, short for Mid-Century-Modern Renovations, a program aimed at the Home & Garden TV viewer, documenting restoration projects designed to bring back venerable old twentieth-century American houses that otherwise would have fallen victim to the wrecking ball.

 

 

*headdesk*

_______________
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings
Distinguished Correspondent
marilynpsychic
Posts: 266
Registered: ‎09-20-2008

Re: How NOT to write #2894: difference between writing a book and winning the Bulwer-Lytton contest

[ Edited ]

I know it's the latest trend in various discussions, to post and laugh over "poor" examples of writing.  Or to target POD (print-on-demand) authors for ridicule.

 

Personally, I find this despicable.  More and more on-line bookstores are letting authors open their books-for-sale to Search or Sample features.  That should be plenty for readers who want to check out a book before purchasing.  But to start posting such excerpts just for ridicule is cruel and disgusting.

 

There are a lot of young (and some very young) writers in this forum.  And writing, like most things worth the work, has a Learning Curve.  I don't want these young people, some of whom already have self-worth issues, exposed to such blantant ridicule, and cruel instead of constructive comments.

 

Let people go to bulwer-lytton.com themselves to read award-winning, deliberately terrible "first lines".  And let authors sort out in their own minds if their own opening lines are that comical (which I doubt).

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope." Chaucer (character) in movie "A Knight's Tale"
Inspired Correspondent
Flowering
Posts: 207
Registered: ‎11-15-2009
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Re: How NOT to write #2894: difference between writing a book and winning the Bulwer-Lytton contest

YOU GO MARILYN!!!!!!!

Distinguished Wordsmith
Raven_Lunatic
Posts: 302
Registered: ‎10-13-2008
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Re: How NOT to write #2894: difference between writing a book and winning the Bulwer-Lytton contest

Au contraire, I believe it is our duty as readers to warn people off horrible books, thus saving their valuable money and time, and improving their taste in literature. Perhaps, if enough people stop buying, pulp authors will be forced to start writing decent sentences. If nothing else, setting up bad prose for ridicule will encourage would-be hacks to learn good writing before they publish.

 

I have no idea what's "popular" on the Boards- I haven't been here in months. And I'm not knocking amateur writing. Go ahead, fledgling story-tellers; write and learn and write some more. But someone actually publishing their work for money should know better. Their editor certainly should.

_______________
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings
Distinguished Correspondent
marilynpsychic
Posts: 266
Registered: ‎09-20-2008
0 Kudos

Re: How NOT to write #2894: difference between writing a book and winning the Bulwer-Lytton contest

[ Edited ]

I still maintain that posting badly written book excerpts is deplorable.  This is a totally negative approach.  While it may feed your elitist ego to look down on struggling writers, most of us in this forum try hard to provide only constructive criticism, and encouragement.

 

If you want to take on the kingly role of Reviewer To Protect The Public, then post a review of that (possibly) horrible book, and let readers decide for themselves.  Barnes and Noble has a quick-and-easy, check-off list for Reviewers who don't want to post a longer, essay-type review.

 

I learned a long time ago, that "everyone has a story to tell".  Sometimes it's your story, sometimes it's an aging relative's story, other times it's a topic in the back of your mind that won't go away until you write it down.  And everyone should feel free to write that story down, maybe post something here for "constructive" criticism, and decide when and if their story is to be published.  (And, I need to remind you, some of the mega-best sellers in recent memory, especially The Da Vinci Code and Twilight, were not that well written!)

 

And people write for different reasons.  For most of us it's a passion.  For others it's a way to explore their emotional-landscape (especially in poetry).  Yet for a minority of others, they write to heal or exorcise their own personal demons.   And none of these decent, struggling authors needs to be reduced to tears over a vindictive posting, holding up a "horrible book" excerpt to ridicule.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope." Chaucer (character) in movie "A Knight's Tale"
Distinguished Wordsmith
Raven_Lunatic
Posts: 302
Registered: ‎10-13-2008

Elitist ego?

I'm no elitist. I'll happily read junk food for the soul, including books that have been panned by the critics. But it really grates on me when the writer is incapable of putting together a decent sentence.

 

Again, I never said that people with no talent should stop writing. I said that people with no talent shouldn't publish, at least until they've made some effort to acquire talent. Go ahead, write down the story of your life with no punctuation, or pen poetry about how nobody really understands you. Share on the B&N forum, even. I'll support you and give you constructive criticism and praise. But if you're going to make money, you have an obligation to give the buyer their money's worth.

 

As for giving reviews, quoting The Sentence is all you really need to know about the book. As I said in my Amazon review, if you see nothing wrong with that sentence, go ahead and buy it. If you are now wincing over such mockery of the art of writing, then know that the rest doesn't get any better.

 

 

Okay Marilyn, since you seem so aggrieved, here's a public service announcement to all struggling writers, etc:

 

Go ahead. Keep writing. Show your work to friends, family, and English professors, and ask them what they think. Go to a creative writing workshop. Go to three. Take a college English course. And when you develope the ability to write The Great American Novel or whatever, then you can publish with pride. But for God's sake, wait until you're good enough to pass that English course! Be part of the solution, not the problem! If you're not sure of your proficiency, ask a disinterested individual. Please, I'm begging you, help stem the tide of dumbed-down mass "literature"- to mix metaphors, polish the rough diamond of your writing until it shines. Long live literacy!

 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hit Dean Koontz repeatedly over the head with a copy of Your Heart Belongs To Me while shouting "Show, not tell!" Be seeing ya.

_______________
"Fear not, for our army is strong and courageous."
"Just hope they don't sober up before we get there".
-Bored of the Rings