Can I be honest about your writing? (Part 5 – Could you provide examples of suckness?)

Tell the same story better

Part 1 – Oh, the Vanity of it all! of this multi-post arc dealt with some folks I knew who vanity published their books back when we called vanity publishers “vanity publishers”.
Part 2 – Vanity/Self-Publishing provided an overview of Vanity and Self publishing.
Part 3 – What Camp Are You In? identified four reasons people consider self-publishing.
Part 4 – Pray thee, Joseph, 4 Y do these books suck? delved into editing that doesn’t help a book.

Can I provide specific examples from other authors, no. I may think a given author’s writing sucks or an individual piece of writing sucks and I still respect the fact that they’re putting something out, that they got off the couch.

General examples, sure:
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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 7 – Girlfriends

I know you from somewhere, don’t I?

A guard silently escorted Dr. Cortazar and Phyl through the prison outside to the parking lot. Phyl looked at the sky and drew a deep breath.

“I – ”

“Amazing, isn’t it? You’re in there for what, maybe an hour? Probably less, and you feel it lift from you the minute you’re outside again.”

“I – ”

“Imagine what it’s like for those people inside. Not just the timers. The guards, too. The staff. The staff that can’t be made up from inmates, anyway. They get to see the world after eight hours, no overtime on this job. But the timers. Those put in the Hole. Lifers. They get to see the sun maybe an hour a day. You were in there for a small part of your day. Imagine being in there for years at a time.”

“I – ”

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Can I be honest about your writing? (Part 4 – Pray thee, Joseph, 4 Y do these books suck?)

Blame the editor. Sometimes.

Part 1 – Oh, the Vanity of it all! of this multi-post arc dealt with some folks I knew who vanity published their books back when we called vanity publishers “vanity publishers”.
Part 2 – Vanity/Self-Publishing provided an overview of Vanity and Self publishing.
Part 3 – What Camp Are You In? identified four reasons people consider self-publishing.

What is my definition of “suck”?

Glad you asked because I’m not talking genre. I read poetry, genre, non-fiction, biography, … take a look at my Goodreads reviews. Do a title sort and you’ll see I read books all across the board. Titles beginning with “A” breakdown as follows:

  • Archeology – 1
  • Biography – 1
  • Classics – 1
  • Fantasy – 3
  • Humor – 3
  • Literary Analysis – 2
  • Literary Fiction – 2
  • Marketing – 1
  • Mystery – 3
  • Psychology – 2
  • Science Fiction – 5
  • Social Commentary – 3
Storytelling deals with “Do you have an interesting story to tell?”, storycrafting deals with “Can you tell your story in an interesting way?”

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Stanley Fish’s “How to Write a Sentence: and How to Read One”

Is that an adverbial clause in your pocket or are you happy to see me?

How to Write a Sentence: and How to Read One was an interesting read that spawned my Great Opening Lines blog posts. I enjoyed it, didn’t always agree with it. The one truly fatal flaw (to me) is the lack of exercises, something like “Here’s a rotten sentence, fix it. See possible solutions in Appendix A”.

 
Fish’s explanations of what makes a sentence worth reading become – to me – increasingly complex as the book progresses. I was bordering on being lost by the time I got to his “First Sentences” chapter and started skimming, looking for the meat – the very thing he warns authors against – too many readers, when unsure of what’s going on – skim until they get to something they can understand.
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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 6 – The Parole Hearing

Dead or Alive. Preferably Dead. Very Dead. Extremely Dead. Completely forget that “Alive” part, okay?

The wooden chair screeched across the hardwood floor as Phyl pulled it under her. She’d placed her small, black leather purse on the green topped officers’ table in front of her. It looked like a little black island in a puke green sea. The table reminded her of industrial breakroom tables; functional but not inviting. She shifted her purse as she sat, placing it before her but not so far in front as to claim space, not setting a boundary. Her stomach gurgled quietly and she glanced around to see if anyone noticed. No one had.

A guard, the one who met her in the parking lot, absently caught her eye and smiled. He had her move her car to a roped off area next to a construction trailer then escorted her to the parole hearing. He didn’t say much but did chat her up a bit, commenting on her deep blue skirt, cream colored blazer and sky blue blouse, offering that it highlighted her hair and eyes.

She wondered if her outfit was too tight. She didn’t think it was. It was all tailored but not form fitting. She wasn’t wearing her boobshirt. Low, functional heels, not CFMs. Schwab suggested this outfit.

It was okay. She could do this. She exhaled, picked up her purse, opened it, removed a protein bar, closed her purse, giving each act a separate, metered and precise effort.

Porcino was not getting out.

If he got out, she’d risk it all and kill him.

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