Friday, December 2, 2011

A Rant on Bad Writing

I read books on the internet every once in a while. Usually they are fluffy romantic things that I use to fill up the time.

I found an interesting website and looked for one of the more popular books on the site which I hadn't read before. I'm not going to say what it's called, but suffice it to say that I was... horrified. The book had been chosen as a READER'S CHOICE... yet the sentence structure was... terrible, to say the least, and it was hard and choppy to read. The sentences are passive, and the writer TELLS everything instead of showing it.

I have never had experience with seeing something TOLD for such a long period of time (about 20k so far), and it is eye-opening. THIS is what they mean when they say, "Show, Don't Tell." Perhaps this book is an exaggerated version of that "don't," but it definitely explains what you're not supposed to do.

Let me explain what I mean:

She tried to be cheerful for his sake. They were both back home sitting on the sofa. They had just finished watching "Deal or No Deal." He must have been tired as he was yawning. It was getting late and she was trying to figure out if she was going to bed or not.

Could you read an entire novel like this and then vote for it so many times it gets reader's choice? There were other stories... stories where the above would be something like this:

She looked over at him over the back of the sofa and smiled bravely. He yawned, covering a hand with his mouth, and looked over at her with sleepy eyes. She glanced at the clock and frowned--  "Deal or No Deal" usually finished earlier than this. "Do you want to go to bed?" she asked him.

Okay, so it's not perfect and I'm not the best at this, but... really? How did something like Exhibit A get to be to be Reader's Choice? Has America's IQ gone down? Is it that there were no better stories when it was elected as Reader's Choice?

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