Friday, August 20, 2010

Don't You Write Like This

There are a ton o' blogs out in the blogsphere that not only talk the talk about good writing, but walk the walk as well. Blogs hosted by such talented writers as Charles Gramlich, David Cranmer, Travis Erwin, Sandra Seamans, D. Lynn Frazier, Rule of Three and even super-agent Nathan Bransford explain and expound on such diverse topics as: what it takes to be a good writer, technique, plotting, research and the old adage of sitting-your-fat-ass-in-the-chair-and-writing.

However, yours truly has not seen a whole lot of blogs dedicated to bad writing or at the very least a multitude of posts dedicated to them. And I'm not not talking about posts mocking people for their bad/mediocre writing, or querying skills, or presentation skills either (the all time classic mocking of bad writing is this very popular contest). Just like writing good is an acquired talent, so is writing bad. Yes, there is a certain talent to be had when it comes to writing bad.

Scoff if you must and laugh if you dare, but it takes hard work and extreme dedication to the craft of writing bad. Don't believe me? Well, keep your eyes glued (no, don't use super glue, use good old-fashioned Elmer's) to this blog, because this post is the opening salvo on a new series called "Don't Write Like This".

"Don't Write Like This" will explore the world of bad writing and the inflated ego that comes with it, using yours truly as the primary source for information.

Yes, you heard right. I said, "Yours truly." Why yours truly?

Because yours truly was during his early years (2005-08) a wickedly horrendous writer who possessed a confidence in his ability that bordered on arrogance. It took me a very long time to get to the plateau of being a C+/B- writer. And that plateau was reached the hard way: namely getting smacked upside my head and kicked to the curb.

Among the many topics that I'll be covering in addition to bad writing will be:

1} Self publishing.
2} Writing contests.
3} Submissions.
4} Genre.
5} Good publicity versus bad publicity.
6} Examples of bad writing.
7} And many, many more that I haven't even thought of yet.

So hitch up that turbo charged V8 110 octane John Deere tractor to the pygmy pony and join me on the trip of a lifetime.

A trip where I spend a good chunk of the time cutting myself down to size and showing everyone how not to write.

Because after all, wouldn't you rather be known as a good writer, than as a writer like Snoopy?


  1. This made me think of a creative writing class I took my senior year in high school. The first day, our teacher read us this horrendous short story -- it was written in ridiculously flowery language, and filled with an overabundance of adjectives. By the end, many of us were laughing after every sentence.

    And then our teacher revealed that SHE had been the author of that story, and it was something she'd written when she first started to write. (Which, honestly, made us laugh even harder... :)) It was just an illustration to show us that the more you write, the more your writing improves! :)

  2. Lisa: So very true. This is what I'm intending with this new series of posts.

    I want to show people what bad writing is and the consequences of when you're too over-confident about writing to realize how bad it can be and what you can do to improve and avoid the same mistakes I've made over the years.

    I honestly do enjoy poking fun at myself and using myself as an example, because I find that if you can use barbed humor to hammer a point home, then all the better in the long run.

    Besides, Snoopy is my idol.

  3. I have entered the Bulwer Lytton contest a couple of times to no avail. Sigh!

  4. I tried to convince people to chip in example of their writing from when they first started out all starry-eyed and convinced of their own infallability. Nobody wanted to play, surprisingly enough.

    But, should you need samples, I do have some of that ancient drek still lingering in the files.

  5. Charles: Tell me, is it hard to write bad on purpose when you've pretty much established yourelf to be good writer?

    Because I'm finding that the longer I practice and polish my writing, the harder it is to write bad.

    WW: I might take you up on that offer. I still have loads of bad writing sitting on my laptop, and of course, my first self-pubbed book with be featured heavily in these upcoming posts on bad writing.

  6. Poor Bulwer Lytton. He went to his grave thinking he was a great writer... and maybe he was for those times.

    Thanks for the mention, G.

  7. I love that contest! I always thought it took hard work to write that badly, but then Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyer got published.

  8. David: To tell you the honest truth, the only time I've heard of that guy was whenever they made an announcement of a winner.

    I'm pretty sure that he was mentioned in Peanuts alot, besides that opening line.

    And you're more than welcome for the mention. I've found your blog over the past two years to be a nifty learning tool of sorts, so I wanted to pass it on to others.

    R: Now, now, now, be kind to Dan Brown and Stephanie Meyers, for they are supposedly the next saviors of publishing world.

    I don't think it takes that much talent to write bad (and I should know, eh). After all, I sing that bad, and I know how to keep a beat, especially after spending my childhood and high school years playing a clarinet.

    Talon: Elmers is the best! Tastes great too!

  9. You might like this one;
    How to write badly well

  10. Now I want to see a video of you playing the clarinet ;

  11. Lane: that is just plan freaky. The guy has over 3,000 subscribers??? Unbelievable.

    Thanks for the tip, I'm gonna add him to my blog roll.

    Kelly: There is no video, only pics and there is no way I'm posting those. :D

  12. I like the train of thought and look forward to reading it.

    and RK ftw for the snark, almost spit-take funny

  13. I've always thought that I make bad writing sound fairly good. :D

  14. Darth: Thanks. I have a lot of bad horrendous writing coupled with a giant ego to go with that same time frame up my sleeve to unless on the masses.

    Joe: I've always found your writing to uniquely funny and original.

    However, about your choice in music....:D

  15. My favorites are mis-placed modifiers. I anxiously await bad examples! Tho I do remember a few I've read somewhere-

    Awhile back I remember a kid writing on an accident report about his car sliding on ice off a road- reading his required description out loud to me- n I nearly died laughing when he said." When my rear-end swung to the front n hit a tree"!
    - instead of stating the car's rear-end...

  16. Snaggle: I have fun with mis-placed modifiers, misplaced verbs, misplaced adjectives, etc. etc. etc.

    I don't think it will be too hard to remember seeing a few bad examples here. If you check out the tag "Long Short Story", you will see atrocious writing.

  17. Georgie, I think you've got something here. I'm going to look forward to this.
    Thanks for the link.

  18. Christine: You're more than welcome. Yours was one of the first blogs I found on writing when I first start blogging in May 2008, and even now, everyone there always gives great tips on writing and things associated with writing.

    Yeah, this series should be a dozy: part self flagellation and part self examination/exploration.


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G. B. Miller

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