Why we still need editors:
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Why I love movie critics, especially when they are panning bad movies:
“This ghastly comedy emits the subliminal whine of a sucking chest wound.” — The Village Voice
“Another dim adaptation of a bright comic novel.” — The Wall Street Journal
“The film stinks from start to finish, like a wet burlap sack of gloom.” — LA Weekly
“Stupid. Illogical. Simplistic. Pandering. And those are its good points.” — Baltimore Sun
“The scariest thing in the movie is a cameo by Scott Baio.” — The Village Voice
“The most surprising thing about the movie is that somebody bothered to make it in the first place.” — The Washington Post
“A movie about self-absorbed douchebags that wallows in their douchebaggery.” — The A.V. Club
“As numbing and depressing to watch as suits hammering out a film-packaging deal one venal clause at a time.” — LA Weekly
“About as arousing as an icy shower.” — Entertainment Weekly
“It feels like both a joke and a turkey.” — The New York Times
Posted in Curmudgeonry
Tagged Chinglish, douchebag, douchebaggery, editors, humor, humour, if items are satisfied, movie critics, movies, reviews, writing
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
With the approach of Halloween, I am resubmitting a much earlier post of my own warped view of a literary classic:
I was reading articles from a recent issue of The New Yorker and came across Eight Short Science-Fiction Stories (including the Penis from Venus) by Paul Simms and Omission, choosing what to leave out by John McPhee. In my tangled, warped mind, I combined them into a stream of conscientiousness (or, in my case, a swamp of conscientiousness) about writing and blogging. McPhee is a favorite author of mine: I have enjoyed Assembling California, Basin and Range and The Curve of Binding Energy, among others. McPhee has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1965, has published twenty-eight books and teaches a course in Creative Non-fiction.
McPhee emphasized that “creative non-fiction is not making something up but making the most of what you have.” On occasion, an article has to be shortened in order to fit the available space but most of the time any post, article, short story or novel can use judicial editing to improve the work. Editors, a sadly neglected and all but abandoned lot, would agree. McPhee stressed his point by using the analogy of Michelangelo as a sculptor “with six tons of Carrera marble, a mallet, a point chisel [and other tools]: ‘I’m just taking away what doesn’t belong there.’” So prose writing is as much about what is NOT written as what is.
It got me to thinking, what should I leave out of any of my posts when blogging?
- The penis from Venus – Yes, but then I would not have gotten your attention.
- The dream where I was dancing nude at my school reunion – Definitely.
- Any health issue that involves the description of one or more orifices – Most definitely.
- How to build a thermonuclear bomb from six common items found in most kitchens – Not a good idea.
- Using hot lead enemas as a means of corporal punishment – Um, yes.
- A discussion of the effect of 2,4,6 acetyl dichlorobenzene on the anechoic chamber of the rat – Yes.
- My Congressional Medal of Honor, my Nobel Peace Prize and my Pulitzer – Oh, wait, it’s creative NON-fiction.
- The moaning sounds and the God-awful smells that emanated from a dumpster near 43rd Street the last time I visited New York City – Maybe.
- Alien anal probing and sex with animals – See the penis from Venus, above.
- OOGA horns – No, there is always room for OOGA horns. http://www.ahooga.com/ahooga_wav.shtml
McPhee also quoted Hemingway saying “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them.” With that thought in mind, here are the other items to omit “as though I had stated them:”
Did you cover all of them for me?
Oh, and what does any of this have to do with Eight Short Science-Fiction Stories? That’s where the swamp of conscientiousness comes in.
Posted in Rants about Writing
Tagged creative non-fiction, humor, humour, John McPhee, language, omission, Paul Simms, The New Yorker, the penis from venus, what to leave out, writing
I am on a short (several week) break. In my absence, I direct your attention to Fallen Arches.
Fallen Arches is my silly effort at poking fun at romance novels. Both Carrie Rubin and Diane Henders have been kind and big-hearted enough (and foolish enough) to allow me to take their novels and turn them into mincemeat with my perverted version of heart-throbbing and head-aching romance. See The Minot Misery and Corned Beef on Spy, respectively. Madame Weebles‘ post on Search Terms: WTF Edition and Alex Trebek inspired me to write a parody entitled Double Jeopardy.
[As an aside, I do note that no one has asked me to do this a second time.]
Other vain and misdirected efforts include an envious vampire, a lonely housewife, and a would-be gangster. I have sought out every genre from dinner parties to detectives to outer space to mystical transformations. I have written them based upon search terms and multiple choice: No theme is beyond my ability to reduce it to crappy pulp. They are all listed under “Romance Novel?” in the Types of Gripes.
But, as you know, I’m not original and I am always looking for material. If any of you wish to have your novels, journals or articles reduced to mushy, illogical, sentimental rubbish, then please send me your ideas and I will ruin them post-haste (or whenever I feel like it).
When I return, I will give your comments the attention they deserve. In the meantime, you can waste your time and waste away your brain perusing through the chapters of .
Posted in Romance Novel?
Tagged bad writing, broken romance, Carrie Rubin, Corned Beef on Spy, Diane Henders, envious vampire, fallen arches, humor, humour, lonely housewife, Madame Weebles, Minot Misery, romance novels, satire, would-be gangster, writing
I really got excited about turning my idea for Fifty Shades of Grumpy into a novel. It could even become a major motion picture!
I already had the basic formula sketched out. I then turned that sketch into an outline. Finally I set to work on a preliminary draft. Before going any further I thought it best to send the draft to selected reviewers to get input. I got back some of their comments and I see that I need to do a little more work.
I have never read anything like it and hope I never do again. –New York Times
If you only read one book this year, don’t make it this one. –Washington Post
This is a book for which the words “out of print” will be a blessing. –Chicago Tribune
Spectacular! Sexy and erotic! Brilliant! A sensational read! These are the words I would use to describe some other book but not this one. –Los Angeles Times
The book should be made of toilet paper so that it would at least be useful for something. –Barron’s
Thinking of all the starving children in the world is preferable to reading this nonsense. –The Wall Street Journal
This book sucks! –Rolling Stone
Mixing the book with sewage would improve it. –The New York Review of Books
Yet another indication that America never mastered the English language. –Guardian (UK)
The critics have spoken, the bastards!
Fifty Shades of Grumpy, NOT coming to a book store near you anytime soon; NOT to be a major motion picture.