Here I was, wondering what to write in this week’s post. And then, I returned to the tried and true method I always rely on when I’m not sure what to write about. I find something that makes me grumpy.
To be honest, that doesn’t always help. After all, there are so many things I’m grumpy about. But this week, I’ve settled on an extra-special thing that makes me especially grumpy. Literary writing.
Gosh literary writing annoys me. I can’t tell you just how much it irks me. Whenever I start reading something and I can see right away that the author has put extra special attention into the writing, I get put off right away. I find it acts like a distancing device that makes me less able to connect with the story and empathise with the characters because my attention is always taken up by the writery-ness of the writing.
I especially notice it when I’m reading reviews. Often, a reviewer will highlight a particular passage or paragraph, to emphasise the wondrous qualities of the prose. I always find that my instant reaction, upon reading these excerpts, is to think, “Gosh, I really don’t think I want to read that book.”
What is wrong with these writery writers. What is the point of getting hung up on every single word? Why not focus on just telling a solid and engaging story, rather than trying to show off how clever you are by producing prose so shiny you have to squint your eyes in order to read it?
No, writery writing is definitely not my thing. I can only think of one circumstance when it’s vaguely acceptable. And that is when I do it.
Oh yes, I love producing writery writing. There’s nothing more satisfying than finally nailing a single sentence after spending several hours wrestling with it. You get this wonderful feeling, as if your soul is sighing with pleasure. Sometimes I go back to my stories and seek out the little bits of writing that I’m most pleased about. Gosh it makes me feel like a wonderful and clever writer. And I’m sure anybody else reading my stories would feel exactly the same.
So there is the core of my grumbling. I do not see the point in all this literary writing. I think being clever for the sake of being clever is not an especially worthwhile pursuit, and I have no interest in reading writery writing. But when it comes to me producing writery writing, that’s a completely different story.
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