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Bad Writers

PoeJoe
Posts: 3,822
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9/29/2009 9:50:34 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Do you know these type of people? Self-declared writers who don't know they can't write?

There is a writers' club at my school, of which I am the editor. In this club, we share our writing, and critique each other's pieces.

As you would expect, some of these pieces are better than others. But check out this excerpt from an essay submitted just a few hours ago. It is a formal essay, supposedly checked and rechecked for errors:

Shortly after finding out about the corruption faced by most of my peers, I began befriending more people who coincidentally did smoke, drink, or do drugs. In fact, some of them happen to now be in my closest circle of friends. It amazes me at how light-heartedly they are about it. They make it seem as if what they do were no big deal.

Or this excerpt from a short story, same person, filled to the brim with clichés:

As he neared closer, his movement caught the girl's attention and she shifted her empty gaze towards him. As both their eyes met, the male could almost see into the deep recesses of her soul. Those eyes drew him in and for a moment, everything around him seemed to fade away from existence. His heart began to beat faster, pounding inside his chest like a drum. His mouth became dry and he found himself becoming warmer. When the girl blinked, reality hit the boy as if with a sharp prod. He remembered where he was and what was occurring around him.

The writer in question is a friend of mind, and he has a genuine passion for writing. I think his dedication is great. It brings a smile to my face. But at the same time, I don't want to lead him by the nose. He is a bad writer, not only stylistically, but also technically and grammatically. The club usually congratulates everyone who shares, and I don't want to be rude by bashing his work.

What would you do in my situation?
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Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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9/29/2009 9:58:14 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Well, it is all well and fine to congratulate the guy on submitting the story and making an effort, but you can't encourage him to continue and not improve.

You should tell him upfront that his writing needs some improvement, but that you're glad he his still doing the work and making the effort. Maybe he'll ask for some help, and he can learn; it seems as if he already has the commitment he just needs the style.

But, don't do it in front of everyone else. No need to humiliate the guy. Take him aside, be honest but supportive, and see where it goes.
Maikuru
Posts: 9,112
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9/29/2009 10:27:28 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Darn, I was hoping we'd be bashing famous writers in here =\

Anywho, I've experienced this with a friend as well. Luckily, we were in the same literature course and we got to review each other's essays on identical topics. That way, we both got the opportunity to openly critique without seeming harsh. Perhaps if you work alongside this friend in such a way, some of his weaknesses could come to the surface in a constructive setting =)
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leet4A1
Posts: 1,986
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9/30/2009 12:16:45 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Give the guy a break man. First of all, who cares if he's no good? It should certainly be no concern of yours. Secondly, perhaps your writing is not everybody's cup of Joe (pun intended). You seem to think you're pretty good, and that's fine, but there's no need to get all snobby about it.
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Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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9/30/2009 8:51:16 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 9/30/2009 12:16:45 AM, leet4A1 wrote:
Give the guy a break man. First of all, who cares if he's no good? It should certainly be no concern of yours. Secondly, perhaps your writing is not everybody's cup of Joe (pun intended). You seem to think you're pretty good, and that's fine, but there's no need to get all snobby about it.

Cheers :)

Although, PoeJoe, I know that bad writing (especially to grammar nazi's) can be annoying. I often wonder how the hell some people get through HS... and don't be surprised when you still see people writing like that in college! I don't know how professors deal with it, but it's not my problem. And it's not yours either. Just tell him that it has some errors in it still and maybe give him some pointers instead of being judgmental, mayhaps? Besides, some people are better at writing in certain ways than others. For instance, Vi is an EXCELLENT writer and I am not... But I am a better formal writer (for papers and whatnot) because I'm more clear, and she's more creative. I dunno. Bottom line: Let the kid enjoy his hobby.
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PervRat
Posts: 963
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9/30/2009 9:01:10 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 9/29/2009 9:50:34 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
There is a writers' club at my school, of which I am the editor.

If your job is that of an editor, is it not your job to render the final edits for such grammar malfunctions?
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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9/30/2009 9:25:53 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 9/30/2009 9:23:46 AM, PervRat wrote:
Oh, I like PoeJoe, no worries. :) I think he can survive my occasional needling about things.

Me too :)
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tmhustler
Posts: 68
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10/1/2009 10:00:04 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
The reason why people get into these bad writing habits is because no wants to hurt there feelings. I think you should kindly inform them of ways they could improve there writing skills, or lack of.
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Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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10/2/2009 6:23:51 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Yeah, but shouldn't that be the teacher's job? I agree that as editor you should definitely correct your friend's grammar; however, to criticize their writing in general is kind of mean. Face it though - he's not going get published so what do you care if it winds up in your SCHOOL newspaper or whatever? In HS I've seen the worst. writing. ever. go into this "literary art magazine..." I'm talking there was so-called poetry that literally read: Basketball is my favorite sport. I love to dribble up and down the court. etc. As an intellectual, this frustrated me, but then I realized that it didn't matter. Now in college what REALLY pisses me off is that a lot of the people (from, uh, urban areas) are LITERALLY illiterate. Like, they can't read certain "big" words such as the word philosophy or graduation (hehe now that's ironic) or something. That's sad and disgusting, but an issue for another time :)
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Grumpy
Posts: 9
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11/15/2009 9:38:26 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Ever read "The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus" ?
Cogito Ergo sum Quid sum - Cogito
I think, therefore I am what I am - I think