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KikiteNeko
04-15-2009, 07:19 PM
So I belong to another forum that has a sizable writing section (but it's not predominately a writing forum). Most of the users seem to be preteens and teens, and I generally steer clear of the writing forum because it doesn't focus on publication so much as just writing for fun. But sometimes I venture over there, and today I found this:

The OP was upset because a beta reader had a suggestion to change some of his sentences.



"The glass vase looked empty as it stood on the window sil" = beta suggestion.

"The glass vase seemed entirely spurious as it stood alone on the mantle to the world outside..." = OP writing.

What is wrong, exactly, with shying away from the mundane and trying to be more... descriptive? Is it a reader killer? Or can it be very emotive?



And then most of the comments were "people who prefer the first sentence are just stupid and illiterate"

*Rips. Hair. Out* Oh, AW, I'll never venture beyond your URL for writing advice again.

Tasmin21
04-15-2009, 07:23 PM
*blink blink blink* Ok, first of all... Do they even KNOW what spurious means????? To quote Inigo, "I do not think it means what you think it means."

Bubastes
04-15-2009, 07:23 PM
Is it just me or does the OP not know what "spurious" means?

Devil Ledbetter
04-15-2009, 07:24 PM
The second sentence is trying entirely too hard to be impressive, which rarely will serve the story.

I'm wondering what glass vases lying about on window sills has to do with the plot. If the story is boring (which from that sentence alone, one might suspect), neither the addition or subtraction of $50 words can save it.

Also, "mantle to the world outside" is a hilariously bad construction.

Millicent M'Lady
04-15-2009, 07:24 PM
Just be glad you found AW and don't have to rely on idiot opinion like that! Or one should be grateful one surreptitiously happened upon the forum of Absolute Write and may refrain from indulging thine ear in the opined drivel described!

I think the second one sounds better. Anyone who doesn't believe so is clearly stupid and can't read good!:rolleyes:

CaoPaux
04-15-2009, 07:28 PM
*ahem*

Although the OP's sentence has problems, the beta's suggestion is toneless and misses the OP's intention. So, there. :tongue

KikiteNeko
04-15-2009, 07:29 PM
I should say one person did comment and politely put the OP in his place, putting it more eloquently than I in my hysteria could.


For one, "spurious" is not a big word. Two, that second example is only really good for flowery poetry. I don't want to read about a "mantle to the outside world", I want to get to the action and see what the book is about. I read at a higher level than almost everybody my age (I'm not exaggerating- I've been reading at a college level since seventh grade), but that doesn't mean I read to find purple prose, as that second sentence up there is full of. Also, reading something like "spurious" in that sentence makes me put the book down immediately.

Spurious:
1: of illegitimate birth : bastard2: outwardly similar or corresponding to something without having its genuine qualities : false <the spurious eminence of the pop celebrity>3 a: of falsified or erroneously attributed origin : forged b: of a deceitful nature or quality <spurious excuses>

It does not seem alone, nor (as the context of the sentence makes it sound) pointless or without a use. Is the vase or the window even important? If not, chuck it. I read for amusement and to get away from the world; I don't want to be reading "big words" that don't mean what the context of their sentence would have them mean. Please, if you're gonna make us look up a word, at least make sure the word is correct in the sentence.

Krisela
04-15-2009, 07:40 PM
I think this is probably a case of too much right-clicking in Microsoft Word and using the thesaurus. ;)

Devil Ledbetter
04-15-2009, 07:58 PM
*ahem*

Although the OP's sentence has problems, the beta's suggestion is toneless and misses the OP's intention. So, there. :tongueI suppose, if the OP's intention was to bore everyone to tears.

Soccer Mom
04-15-2009, 09:15 PM
Spurious vase? No.

Looked empty? So, was it empty or not? How does it look empty?

Soccer Mom, Not crazy about either sentence and wondering why the vase is important anyway.

Cyia
04-15-2009, 09:43 PM
Must resist... must resis...must re... must.... Can't resist...

The only color was the accidental prism of a glass vase on the window sill.

waylander
04-15-2009, 09:50 PM
Is English the first language of the OP?

KikiteNeko
04-15-2009, 10:11 PM
Spurious vase? No.

Looked empty? So, was it empty or not? How does it look empty?

Soccer Mom, Not crazy about either sentence and wondering why the vase is important anyway.

If a vase falls in a badly-written story and there's no one to read it....

KikiteNeko
04-15-2009, 10:11 PM
Is English the first language of the OP?

I assume so. He didn't say otherwise.

Wayne K
04-15-2009, 10:41 PM
What is wrong, exactly, with shying away from the mundane and trying to be more... descriptive? Is it a reader killer? Or can it be very emotive

I think the worst part of his or her style is that it's boring.

blacbird
04-16-2009, 02:27 AM
*Rips. Hair. Out* Oh, AW, I'll never venture beyond your URL for writing advice again.

I'm not so sure. Might be the kind of place where someone with an ounce of intelligence and a mean-spirited deposition, like, oh . . . me, maybe . . . could have some fun puncturing balloons.

caw

Brindle Chase
04-16-2009, 02:29 AM
Not to snub the writer exampled... but this made me feel pretty damn good about my own writing... not spurious or emotive in the least bit!

smcc360
04-16-2009, 02:41 AM
"Every writer knows he is spurious; every fiction writer would rather be credible than authentic."
-John Le Carre

Fade
04-16-2009, 02:52 AM
I think this is probably a case of too much right-clicking in Microsoft Word and using the thesaurus. ;)

That's why I actually look up the words I find in the thesaurus. In the dictionary.


beta:
"The glass vase looked empty as it stood on the window sil"

What is wrong with "the empty vase"? How can it just look empty? Especially if it's clear?

Delhomeboy
04-16-2009, 02:57 AM
That's why I actually look up the words I find in the thesaurus. In the dictionary.



What is wrong with "the empty vase"? How can it just look empty? Especially if it's clear?

Maybe it would be explained in the next sentence.

Por ejemplo, The vase looked empty as it sat on the window sill. But then, as I stepped across, and invisible hand latched out and grabbed me around the neck!!!!!!

Nivarion
04-16-2009, 03:31 AM
maybe the bottom of the vase is a switch to open a trap door. O.o

Delhomeboy
04-16-2009, 04:02 AM
maybe the bottom of the vase is a switch to open a trap door. O.o

OR!!!! It's painted EXACTLY LIKE THE OUTSIDE WORLD, so it only SEEMS invisible, because it blends into the background....

Matera the Mad
04-16-2009, 04:09 AM
Yeah...this reminds me of the origins of Nick Wortschatz, Private Critic. (http://www.firefromthesky.org/fic/other/ds.htm)

dawinsor
04-16-2009, 04:36 AM
This is why a good beta reader is more precious than rubies.

ChaosTitan
04-16-2009, 06:13 PM
This is why a good beta reader is more precious than rubies.

Amen. You'd have to pry my betas from my cold, dead fingers.

KikiteNeko
04-16-2009, 06:39 PM
Amen. You'd have to pry my betas from my cold, dead fingers.

I'd be curious to know how you died gripping your betas.

Darzian
04-16-2009, 06:58 PM
The poor beta. :flag:

ChaosTitan
04-16-2009, 07:18 PM
I'd be curious to know how you died gripping your betas.

:ROFL:


I suppose if my betas were two hot, young men, I could tell you to use your imagination.... Alas, they aren't. But they're still awesome.

:D

HelloKiddo
04-16-2009, 09:11 PM
That beta made a gracious effort to save an unsavable sentence. Here's how it should have loked:


"The glass vase seemed entirely spurious as it stood alone on the mantle to the world outside..."

There we are.

KikiteNeko
04-16-2009, 09:37 PM
There we are.

I just had a thought! Imagine if Chef Gordon Ramsey (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB8dGQ77Zg0) became a literary agent!

That man makes me happy to not be a chef.

HelloKiddo
04-16-2009, 09:52 PM
I just had a thought! Imagine if Chef Gordon Ramsey (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB8dGQ77Zg0) became a literary agent!

That man makes me happy to not be a chef.

My post made you think of the man in that clip? Why? Does he say "There we are" a lot?

KikiteNeko
04-16-2009, 09:58 PM
My post made you think of the man in that clip? Why? Does he say "There we are" a lot?

Yes, your post did. I have no idea why.

StephanieWeippert
04-16-2009, 11:40 PM
I think this is probably a case of too much right-clicking in Microsoft Word and using the thesaurus. ;)

I agree. I've played with Word's thesaurus and some of the words it suggests make me laugh.

Nivarion
04-17-2009, 02:55 AM
I just had a thought! Imagine if Chef Gordon Ramsey (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB8dGQ77Zg0) became a literary agent!

That man makes me happy to not be a chef.

I'm in training to make my day job a chef. Honestly if he were a literary agent I think a lot more work would be a lot more better, just to avoid the abuse.

Stuff coming out of his office would be explode your head awesome.

KikiteNeko
04-17-2009, 04:48 AM
I'm in training to make my day job a chef. Honestly if he were a literary agent I think a lot more work would be a lot more better, just to avoid the abuse.

Stuff coming out of his office would be explode your head awesome.

At least the lightweights would quit sooner, and have more time to hone their other skills.

badducky
04-17-2009, 05:12 AM
I think what the OP story needs is more demographically targetted words. For instance, teenagers like things that are "sparkly" and things that are "...like, so not...".

But, middle-aged men prefer the words "topless", "zeppelin", and "Russian".

Thesauruses are not as useful as psychologically targetted marketing.

(On a serious note, so there's bad writing somewhere on the internet. So what? What else is new?)