Tag Archives: write-fiction

Why You Shouldn’t Write Like a Harvard Prick

There are “Immature Writers” and there are “Incomprehensible Writers.”

I just got back from reading a chapter or so from The Dark Tower by Stephen King at McDonalds. I’ve decided to read a McDonalds today because the seats are comfy, the lighting is tolerant, and the windows hold up the ceiling. That, and the fact that it’s 20 or so steps away from my house and everywhere else is freezing.

This morning I had the choice between reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov or The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Out of the slim selection of books I found around my house, which included, Twilight, FightClub/read, The Perfect Mile, Paradise Lost, some poetry by T.S. Eliot, and Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks, I figured The Dark Tower and Lolita were the only books worth reading at the time. I weighed out the pros and cons with each, I didn’t want to read something close to horror simply because I’m writing something in that genre and I don’t want to unconsciously steal the creativity in that work and end up writing just like it. However, as good as Lolita and the luscious details of caressing children would’ve been, I still decided to go with The Dark Tower, simply because it’s written in third person. From the numerous writing forums I’m currently participating in, a lot of people are telling me I need to work on a structure of writing in third person.

Within the First Few Pages

Within the first few pages I found myself reading the same sentences over and over and trying to focus. That’s bad. Most people would say that type of behavior is signs that I might have some attention disorder, or an inability to stay focused. Bullshit! It’s the freaking book’s problem. The book is broken! Maybe not to everyone, but if I open it and it doesn’t make sense to me, it probably doesn’t make sense to a lot of other people either. Books are supposed to draw in the reader, no excuses. It’s not the reader’s fault that they’re bored. It’s also not the fault of the reader, or most people altogether, that they’re not at a reading level of someone with a graduate school degree. What’s really the point of writing if no one can understand what you’re writing. If a tree falls in the middle of the forest and nobody’s around, do you really call yourself a writer?

People read Twilight. The only people who don’t read it, are writers. The language is too 5th grade. However, the reason for Twilight’s success was because people we’re into the idea, not because they like reading. Most people don’t even like reading, yet Twilight got practically every girl in America to not only pick up a book, but to read four of them. Most people don’t read for the poetic weaving of words or the underlying politics that hides subliminally behind every idea, they read because they want the story. They don’t want the Harvard vocab.

“Sorry Stephen! I don’t know what a god damn ‘hovel’ is!”

It is not your readers fault that he or she has no idea what you’re talking about. It is not your readers fault that they put down your book because it seemed like homework. It is no one else’s fault but yours that you were trying to speak a language that only a small minority of the world can comprehend.

But, if that’s what you’re going for, it’s your move.