Writing Wrongs

October 14, 2005

Marianne received some wacky contest feedback the other day, the sort you need to digest with a huge helping of salt. Frankly, I think she’s doing splendidly with a final the first time out of the gate (let’s count the adverbs in that sentence, shall we?). I know she’ll hit the right desk at the right time.

It reminded me of some of the stranger comments I’ve received on my writing. Here are three of my favorites:

(Summarized) Your hero is immoral, your story is immoral.

And by implication, so was I. If I recall, the judge actually wrote “How dare you” on some part of the judging sheet. Okay, so my hero was a thief. This was my first foray into contests and into RWA. I learned later the hero/thief is a HUGE hot button for some people. These days, I’m happy to be immoral.

You write like a foreigner.

Never mind the slightly offensive cast to this. (I hear Archie Bunker in the background muttering, Damn foreigners, they’re ruining everything.) I think this resulted from me not always phrasing things Subject + Verb + Object. How boring is that? Besides, Nabokov was a “foreigner”. Oh, if only I could write like a foreigner.

Since your character is in the Army, not the Navy, I wouldn’t expect him to use a word like “boatload”.

I brought this one on myself. It was in a workshop and I was trying to be a kinder, gentler Charity, and Mark (the character in question) was trying to be kinder and gentler as well. I think he actually wanted to say sh*tload, but refrained, not wanting to offend delicate sensibilities. From now on, I say screw it. We’re using the f-word.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 4:02 p.m.