Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From My Administrator

I thought that this was a bit harsh. But the bad writing bit cuts very deep. Sends me back to the drawing board. Makes me deeply ashamed of myself. And I know I deserve the exhortation to write well. Bad writing should offend us all. My administrator sent this to me after reading, or trying to read a bit of the novel, and then asking me to fix something in the first chapter. My lack of editorial skill is shameful. But, it is my belief that a writer needs an editor--someone not so close to the story. Yes, this is a poor justification for sloppy writing. Yes, I'm often childish--I'd say I'm about twelve. A pissed off twelve year old.

From my Administrator to me in response to a couple of childish emails I sent to him.

"Peggy, darling, you know this is a piss poor message. It insults me, makes me think that you think I'm interested in, motivated by, childishness. I'm not. Maybe other people in your life are, or have been. Maybe it works on them. Do you respect them? Swearing doesn't make you tough. You can't continue to pretend that only prudishness would find this offensive. It's bad writing, simple as that. Bad writing offends me.

It's not a special case. It's a clear one. Anger, frustration ... oooh golly, the swear words make it so. Are you kidding me?

It's childish dumb and weak. It's not an "over use of the expletive."

And you can quote me on that.

I went to the Giants game tonight."

On Jul 26, 2008, at 7:50 PM, U.Savage wrote:

I could probably do some damage trying to fix this fucking problem. I want only Jabber available as an Ichat option. What is the Aim bullshit I can't get rid of.


Randal Graves said...

His response followed up your email at the bottom? Looks simply like frustration turned into words. A lot of us swear when we're frustrated. A whole fucking lot.

Now, the bad writing thing, that is offensive. I think that's why I always swear when reading what I've just written.

Utah Savage said...

I laugh at your response like a twelve year old. Then I light up and blow smoke in your face. God, I am childish.

Anonymous said...

Posted something especially for you.

Unconventional Conventionist said...

He's a QUEEN! HAHAHAHAHAH! You may instantly ignore him. Just get the goods, sister.

DivaJood said...

The art of writing is in re-writing. First, you put down on the page without censoring - just write.

The next step is the re-write and that needs to be done BEFORE you have an editor. You have to take what you've written - and if it is a novel, it should be the FULL novel - and take it apart, rewrite, self-edit and move the story forward.

And as Faulkener once said, there is writing, and there is bad writing. Those are the options.

Utah Savage said...

I've been writing and editing this story for thirty years Diva. Maybe I am just a bad writer.

Randal Graves said...

I think Madame Future President may be onto something. That's what I did.
So don't worry Utah, we can start the Bad Writers Club. Now where's my doobie so I can return the smoke blowin' favor?

DivaJood said...

Utah, do this: finish the draft. Put that draft in a drawer for a month, and read it through. Then read it through a second time, this time with a red pencil to make changes. If you've worked on it for 30 years, you are going in fits and starts - which interrupts your train of thought.

So, without letting anyone else see it, finish draft one. After you've done that, and made the two read throughs, give the entire thing to one person you trust with a good eye to do a read through and make suggestions.

This is the part that is like going to the gym.

Utah Savage said...

I started exactly as you suggested thirty years ago, on paper, then a word processor, then a computer always printed on paper to work on, then a trusted and intelligent reader. Got the few suggestions for edits and kept working on it.

Diva, just out of curiosity, have you read any of it? Is it your opinion that it's bad writing? if it is, I'll shit can the whole thing and consider it finished for good and out of my system.

Life As I Know It Now said...

It is NOT bad writing! Maybe I am biased but goddamnit reading this post is making me angry. He needs people skills and you need a new editor.

Randal Graves said...

I just finished the first two chapters - yeah, I know, I completely suck vast amounts of toxic fumes for being so late, I admit it, this is why I won't send you any of my stuff for the next twenty years - and I don't know what the fuck that dude is talking about.

It's not bad writing at all, shit, hell no - yeah, some editors might lessen the use of commas, but I love a surplus of commas - plus it's got a narrative while going off into little vignettes of detail.

I work in a library, and we get a lot of the newest novels out and nearly all are page after page of dialogue straining to be clever. That's it. And boring. I want a fucking story.

DivaJood said...

not bad writing - yes, I've read the first three chapters, not bad writing. I have the attention span of a gnat, so I prefer short stories and poetry (personal preference and not to be construed as disliking the novel.)

Your strengths are in your descriptive narrative, colorful turns of phrase which are engaging as can be. For me, the first three chapters read more as memoir than as novel, and as I read your blog, I feel strongly that moving from fiction to autobiography might be interesting.

There is something so compelling about your writing when you are telling a life experience - you capture humor, pain, nuances - and then bring your reader right into the fray with you - so your writing is terrific.

I hope this makes sense, because right at this moment I am wracked with grief, I feel like a part of me has been yanked out.