Thursday, 18 February 2010
HOW NOT TO WRITE A NOVEL
I'm reading a screamingly funny book at the moment called How Not To Write A Novel by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman. I buy the odd writing manual for pithy quotes and examples to use in teaching CW. This one is definitely the funniest. It's as funny as Katherine Lynch's Single Ladies on a bad day - and that's funny! The examples of bad prose are over-the-top but, sadly, such ill-thought-out rubbish has come to me as judge/editor of this and that.
The book might scare off wanna-be writers and much of it may be too obvious for experienced writers but it's so hilariosly well-written, I recommend it - at least to editors and CW teachers for a good laugh. And some tips to pass on to the non-faint-hearted student.
Here's a couple of examples of the style of this book:
The Crepuscular Handbag - wherein the author trips over his own cleverness
A Test: Do I Know This Word?
Ask yourself: 'Do I know this word?'
If the answer is no, then you do not know it.
Men Are from Cliché; Women Are from Stereotype - wherein the characters are built solely of broad gender stereotypes:
"Melinda picked up Joe's beer-stained sports section with a wry smile, replacing it with another saccharin-berry scented candle. As she sat on the pouffe to enjoy her copy of Brides' Shoe Monthly, she wondered if he would remember to call for their third-date anniversary." etc etc