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Cadence

10/06/2010

I hate bad writing. I made it 6 pages into the 17 page mess that The Nightstalker turned in last week. What a waste of time, why isn’t there a word limit in this class? All i read are breakups and bad fantasy. Breakups are not that interesting, why does every amateur writer turn them into stories? I hate stories about regular people doing regular things; my life is interesting, why do i want to read about someone else getting dumped on their fat ass in the middle of a restaurant? And there’s never a reason in these stories, the breakup is always so vague. I get it, you’re not weird. You’ve been in relationships before, or at least one relationship before.

Then there’s the fantasy. Why do i want to read chapter 2 of The Embedded Hawk or some other lame derivative excerpt from your wordy sci-fi epic? I can think of cool names for other races too. The Gorthuns. They have axes and laser-guns and somewhere in the background there’s Ben Franklin riding a dragon. LOL ANACHRONISMS. FANTASY PWNS.

I wouldn’t be complaining if these were good stories but they’re not. Diff’s stories are okay (he’s a fantasy one) so maybe he’s the exception to the rule but there’s only so much i can take. This is a class to learn to write better, not a place to check and see if your novel will work. I don’t even have a novel, i have to crawl before i can run away and hide in the mountains to write.

And writers are so pretentious, all of us. I try to keep mine in check but sometimes it’s there, rolling my eyes at someone arguing over comic books like i’m too good for it. And i am. I hate how cool it’s become to argue over geeky stuff when i was doing this 15 years ago. I’ve already argued about Superman vs Batman or who should play Green Lantern in a movie (Ryan Reynolds is fine by me) WHEN I WAS 15.

Last class we discussed Pyle’s B.S. story about “The Infiltrator” and how he slices his way through a bunch of guards to get inside the castle and investigate a theft. Really?!? He kills the guards of a castle and it turns out he’s there to help them investigate a robbery? Does that make sense at all? NO. But i don’t say that during the discussion. I wanted to keep my mouth shut but the professor calls me out again.

On the way to class i saw Pyle lumbering around the school and i felt bad for the dude. He weighs like 300lbs and he has a sloping forehead and glasses and a weird voice (why does everyone in my writing class have a lisp?) and i’m pretty sure he’ll never have a girlfriend. So i’m n0t gonna rip apart his story like i’d planned to do. I just tell him it’s a little too dense, like he uses too many words.

Remember in Ocean’s 11 when Brad Pitt is training Matt Damon on how to talk to Andy Garcia and not get caught lying? He tells him “Don’t use 7 words when 5 will do”. That’s always stuck with me, specifically in my writing. So i told it to Pyle. Shave off some words, clarify your writing.

During the break i see The Nightstalker in the bathroom and i politely decide to tell him that i have his story from last week. As soon as i start talking he blows his nose loudly. Funny. I start again and he says “What?!?” all perplexed. So i repeat myself and he nods and his permed serial killer hair bounces. Then when he walks out of the bathroom i see him in the mirror give me this confused look. What, is it bad etiquette to talk to someone in the bathroom at the sink? Did i overstep my boundaries? It’s not like i was chatting it up while you had your wang in your hand, i was being polite, you asshole. Writers are pretentious, remember?

The spastic black guy is back and he seems mad. I tell myself he didn’t somehow stumble across my blog and realize i was talking about him. He’s putting out bad vibes sitting in the corner and i get paranoid he’s going to pull out a gun and make the news. I plan my escape quickly, i’ll just upend the table to confuse him and then lunge into his gun before he has a chance to point it.

The class talks about sentences and some other stuff (Cormac McCarthy again) but really, everyone just wants to talk about peer stories as usual. I want to improve my writing, damnit, not critique crap. I looked at these old blogs i used to write and when i wrote them, i thought they were pretty good and i always received lots of compliments on  them. But now that i look back on them, i don’t like them. I want to revise them and fix the weird sentences. I’m always improving, i don’t want to settle and become stagnant. I heard Bob Dylan say that the artist should never be satisfied, he should always be in a state of movement, of progression.

Now i want to learn the cadence of writing. I can look at a sentence and the words don’t fit well together. It doesn’t flow well because there’s no real rhythm to the sentence. What words you put down and what order you put them in is important, you can’t just throw down words on a page as they come to you. You can do that at first but you have to go back later and craft them into better words, better sentences. That is the craft of writing. That’s what i’m trying to learn right now. I don’t want to read about one more breakup.

The big girl next to me, the one who wrote that beautiful story about getting stung by the stingray? She turns in a story for us to read and i’m excited to read it. But then i actually read it. Sure, some of her lines are interesting enough but again, it’s some BS story about getting dumped. What the hell? Where’s all that great description like in the stingray story? People just want to get heartbreaks off their chest or something. BO-RING. And why hasn’t Greg turned in a story? He’s the best writer in the class i bet.

Anyway, i’m working on 2 stories now. One is an assignment about characters crossing boundaries (of any sort) and the other is a new story about this guy watching this other guy who’s stalking this girl or something. I’m still putting the pieces together. I’m not ready to turn in another story yet, this class is making me burn out on writing a little bit. Besides, i think i’m busy waging a war on bad art.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/06/2010 9:54 am

    it sounds like a mislabelled therapy group – maybe the stories will get better once all the catharsis is over. tuning instruments, you know. clearing their throats. maybe you haven’t heard any of the actual VOICES yet… i’m hoping.

  2. 10/06/2010 11:57 am

    I’m just gonna end up complaining about the class the whole time, aren’t i?

    • 10/07/2010 9:54 am

      well, it’s interesting, even if that’s what ends up happening… i like the hope/despair of the whole endeavor. and hey, you’re writing, and it’s good writing.

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