Bad Writing: Amazon bestsellers edition

The original goal of this post was to write a mini-essay on something that annoys me about contemporary writing. As far as I know, it has no name, and I struggled to find one, so I had to settle for something as cumbersome as “mid-action or mid-description beginnings.” Essentially, the story starts in media res, but not in the middle of the plot, but in the middle of a scene, with people (sometimes a lot of people) doing, sometimes exciting or action-related, stuff… for no reason we can discern. No goals, context, purpose, or meaning are given. It’s just a picture, like a movie scene (and in many cases, it shows the writer imagined it as such.)

The protagonist can be fighting another person (and we know nothing about them so we have no reason to care,) sweating profusely from some equally strenuous activity, engaging in a heavy dialogue with a character we know nothing about, or sometimes it’s a cliché-ridden description as the character prepares to do one of those things (the standard in fantasy until a few years ago was to describe, for some unfathomable reason, the sky – usually a sunset or dawn- and how that light reflected on the local vegetation.)

The opposite, of course, is to start like all stories have always been written, with a small, perhaps only a single sentence, explanation about the why, where, and when so we can contextualize what is happening and will happen.

Continue reading “Bad Writing: Amazon bestsellers edition”

Reading the Hugos: Redshirts, by John Scalzi.

In my previous post, I said I wanted to know more about the Puppies’ origins and claims (sad, rabid, lunatic, or in any other mental state.) Although sometimes it seems more like a controversy about what silly people say on Twitter, it’s essentially a literary one, and the main issue is the belief that the quality of science fiction and fantasy has degraded and the genre has become dominated by a clique of ideologues. Now, that there are a lot of ideologues out there on social media is true, and obvious, but I wanted to read their books. Are they really that bad, or are some people projecting their hopes and Internet drama?

Continue reading “Reading the Hugos: Redshirts, by John Scalzi.”