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Thread: Examples of bad prose in novels

  1. #1
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    Examples of bad prose in novels

    There seems to be so much disagreement about what constitutes bad writing with, in particular, such a fine line between what is considered powerful emotive writing and purple prose

    I would, therefore, be very interested to see other forum members' examples of bad prose, particularly in successful or well known works.

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    Cool

    Not a good idea.

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    Gentleman. Scholar. Bastard. willietheshakes's Avatar
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    I concur with the Cat:

    One man's meat is another man's poison...

  4. #4
    Amanda McKittrick Ros is a contender.

    Her novel Delina Delaney begins:
    Have you ever visited that portion of Erin's plot that offers its sympathetic soil for the minute survey and scrutinous examination of those in political power, whose decision has wisely been the means before now of converting the stern and prejudiced, and reaching the hand of slight aid to share its strength in augmenting its agricultural richness?

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    Quote Originally Posted by willietheshakes View Post
    I concur with the Cat:

    One man's meat is another man's poison...
    Absolutely.

    I think the different views might be educative.

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    A Work in Progress aadams73's Avatar
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    Yeah, lets not do this. It never leads any place good. Besides, it's not very sporting or professional.

    If you can't tell what's good or not, you need to read more or find another profession.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious2010 View Post
    Absolutely.

    I think the different views might be educative.
    Or even educational.

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    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister SuperModerator Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NedC View Post
    Amanda McKittrick Ros is a contender.

    Her novel Delina Delaney begins:
    Have you ever visited that portion of Erin's plot that offers its sympathetic soil for the minute survey and scrutinous examination of those in political power, whose decision has wisely been the means before now of converting the stern and prejudiced, and reaching the hand of slight aid to share its strength in augmenting its agricultural richness?
    If you're going to do this, then you've got to explicate the passage and explain exactly why you think it's "bad prose."

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    Lisa's here!

    *cracks open a tinny and reaches for *

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    Because it's nonsensical, Medievalist, in its linguistic contortions.

    But I agree that we'd need to explain why a given excerpt is poorly-written in order for this exercise to be useful. That said, I'd rather not participate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aadams73 View Post
    If you can't tell what's good or not, you need to read more or find another profession.
    As you are such an expert on good writing perhaps you could provide the title of your best-selling novel. Was that the one that won the Booker or the Pullitzer prize?

    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    Or even educational.
    Or even educative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious2010 View Post
    As you are such an expert on good writing perhaps you could provide the title of your best-selling novel. Was that the one that won the Booker or the Pullitzer prize?
    Ah, you're one of those. I am, first and foremost, a reader. This qualifies me to sort the shit from the straw as far as my own personal taste goes. The more I've read, the more I've honed my ability to sort shit from straw. Ya dig?

    Winning the Booker or Pulitzer is something few achieve. If this were the qualifying factor in the ability to sort good prose from bad, the industry would--to put a fine point on it--be screwed.
    Last edited by aadams73; 07-29-2009 at 02:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aadams73 View Post
    Ya dig?
    Before Birol comes along and shuts the shit down on this thread, I just want to say:

    Girl. Talk white.

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    Who remembers the Curious2009 user who started the Dan Brown thread?

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=146643

    This is a troll poster. Don't be fooled. Ban him immediately and be done with it.

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    A Work in Progress aadams73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    Before Birol comes along and shuts the shit down on this thread, I just want to say:

    Girl. Talk white.
    It must be heatstroke. Or too much time wandering the plains of Baboonistan without a face.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPMiller View Post
    Who remembers the Curious2009 user who started the Dan Brown thread?

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...d.php?t=146643

    This is a troll poster. Don't be fooled. Ban him immediately and be done with it.
    How pathetic. My post was are in a similar tone to aadams73's. It is pathetic that you would differentiate because she is 'part of the gang'.

    By the way, I tried using Curious2009 but it was taken.

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    Sure, long-time members here might get a pass with other long-time members. There's banter. We know each other. Sometimes we come to each other's defence.

    Stop being so confrontational and people will come to your defence too, once you've shown you're serious about writing rather than trolling.

    Coming at aadams73 with an attitude will get you attitude in return. Don't like it? Think it's pathetic? Oh that's very sad. But she's been here longer than you have and she's proven herself. All we know of you is snark.

  18. #18
    A Work in Progress aadams73's Avatar
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    I just don't believe it's sporting to hold up a published writer's work and say "This is crap." Good writing/bad writing is often subjective(and a different animal to slush pile unpublishable writing.) Some will hold up a romance and shout that it's crap. Some will do the same for literary. The only way we learn to determine what is good, and what is not, is by reading. No one can spoon feed it to you.

    If you read, and read, and read and can't tell the difference, this is not for you. There's no shame in that. We're not all cut out to be published.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scarletpeaches View Post
    Sure, long-time members here might get a pass with other long-time members. There's banter. We know each other. Sometimes we come to each other's defence.

    Stop being so confrontational and people will come to your defence too, once you've shown you're serious about writing rather than trolling.

    Coming at aadams73 with an attitude will get you attitude in return. Don't like it? Think it's pathetic? Oh that's very sad. But she's been here longer than you have and she's proven herself. All we know of you is snark.
    I don't need anyone to 'come to my defence'. I will simply respond to any post in kind.

    But talking about banning on that basis is worthy of contempt.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPMiller View Post
    Because it's nonsensical, Medievalist, in its linguistic contortions.

    But I agree that we'd need to explain why a given excerpt is poorly-written in order for this exercise to be useful. That said, I'd rather not participate.
    Actually, it's not. It's very Henry Jamesian, and I found it ironic, slyly amusing, and quite controlled and deliberate language use.


    Quote Originally Posted by Curious2010 View Post
    As you are such an expert on good writing perhaps you could provide the title of your best-selling novel. Was that the one that won the Booker or the Pullitzer prize?
    Don't ever do that again, Curious2010. And learn to fucking spell, if you're going to attack someone else about credentials.

    Now. I have an IP address to look up, and a thread to close.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 07-29-2009 at 03:10 AM.
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    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Dang it, Mac. Spoiling all of my fun. *Retreats to the mod room to pout*

    (Sorry, SP. As far as I'm concerned, you called my intended actions correctly.)

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