And not in a good way.

We're doing a workshop for my creative writing class, so I have to read three stories by my classmates. I've made it through one, and I'm trying to make it through another; but they're just terrible. I'm not saying I'm the greatest writer; I'm not saying my ideas are awesome. But these? They're so poorly written I can't even tell if the idea is any good, because it's nearly incomprehensible. We're talking random shifts in verb tense, overuse of adverbs, fragmented sentences, use of words in completely incorrect ways, etc.

Two of these stories are from people who are always arguing with the instructor about basic tenets of writing--"yes, I can switch narrators in the middle of my short story from first person to third! It's unique!"--and talking about how special and unique and complex their ideas are. And they can hardly form a coherent, grammatically correct sentence.

I'm trying not to be too harsh; this is a beginning creative writing class. But how did people with such poor writing skills even pass high school English? Oh wait, because our educational system kind of sucks.

ETA: It's worse than I thought. I'm sure this ten page long story the author warned us was "very graphic" wasn't intended to spark uncontrollable laughter, but that's sort of what happens when a story is so over-the-top, melodramatic, self-important, and poorly written. How the hell do I give any constructive criticism of this? These stories are some of the most cringe-worthy, ridiculous crap I've ever read--and I say that having written a huge amount of cringe-worthy, ridiculous crap when I was younger.

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2 Responses
  1. Some guy Says:

    The written word is becoming a lost art. Comedian Greg Geraldo does a bit about Civil War letters - how beautiful the script and the narratives are - and contrasts them with modern communication. It's funny and horrifying at the same time.

  2. Aunty Pol Says:

    Oh PG..I really had to laugh out loud. In a a previous mode, I was an English teacher . You would not believe how it still makes me cringe to hear and read what passes for whit these days. I think in some ways it is also why I still love to actually write letters. The act complels the author to actually think about what and how they are trying to express themselves.

    I do get lazy in my blog , you know that but it's still good for a laugh or three.

    If all else fails ..I go to Mafia and start the killing...wheee.