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Old 07-29-2009, 01:26 AM   #1
Curious2010
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 01:29 AM   #2
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:36 AM   #3
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I concur with the Cat:

One man's meat is another man's poison...
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:41 AM   #4
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 01:46 AM   #5
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 01:47 AM   #6
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 01:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Curious2010 View Post
Absolutely.

I think the different views might be educative.
Or even educational.
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:53 AM   #8
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 01:55 AM   #9
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Lisa's here!

*cracks open a tinny and reaches for *
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:59 AM   #10
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 02:26 AM   #11
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 02:31 AM   #12
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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.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 02:33 AM   #14
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 02:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 02:39 AM   #16
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 02:43 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:48 AM   #18
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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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Old 07-29-2009, 02:51 AM   #19
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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.
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:52 AM   #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:
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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.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:37 AM   #21
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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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