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Wallbanger Nonfiction

I was reading a book called How to Write Fast Under Pressure and it lost me at page 3. It's not geared toward a fiction writer, it's geared toward an office worker who has to put together emails and reports and procedures while their boss sits on all the relevant information til the last minute and some customers are giving them the stink eye. I get that. It sounds like my job at the library, in fact.

However, I thought I might still find some techniques.

But I won't, because the thing is so offputting (aside from the page three insult) that I think I can only use it as a "How not to write non-fiction" reference for a nonfiction book I was thinking about putting out next year.

Let's get the insult out of the way. The setup is geared toward telling the average worker, You may not be a poet or playwright or novelist, but given the amount of written communication you need to do, you're basically a writer. Sure, fine, I agree. Then it says, "In fact, you might have far greater demands on your time than the so-called professionals."

WTF? In what world is being called a "so-called professional" not an insult?

So yes, he lost me there, but I was willing to think of it as just an ill-considered phrase, until he introduced two fictitious characters into the work. His example of a poor on-the-job writer named Mopey Moe and his good on-the-job writer named Speedy Didi.

I am not making this up.

Then he goes into some anagram technique you're supposed to use where the letters begin with D-A-S-H. Direction, acceleration, strength and health.

Let's see. Here's the checklist I have so far for writing non-fiction:
-Don't insult my audience
-Don't come up with some ridiculous characters to illustrate my point
-Do not under any circumstances advocate an anagram approach to anything. Ever.

Now I'll throw it at the wall.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 19th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Huh. I think he would have lost me pretty fast, too. "So-called"? That's very insulting, and since I don't write, it's not even something that would apply to me personally. Making up characters like that seems rather insulting to the readers' intelligence, too.

Is this the book you won? I'm hoping you didn't have to pay for it.

Jul. 19th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
Thankfully, no, it's not the one I won. That one is by a screenwriter/novelist who never uses dumb gimmicks in his work, and who is wonderful at writing coaching. (Jurgen Wolff--mega-awesome).

How to Write Fast Under Pressure is a library book so I couldn't really throw it. But I did in my mind.
Jul. 20th, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm still glad you didn't pay for it. From things you've said, it sounds like you get a lot of the books you read from the library. I'd do that if I would get them back on time.

It was cool that you won a book, and one by someone you like so much. You'll have to let us know what ideas or tips you picked up from that.
Jul. 20th, 2011 07:27 am (UTC)
I wanna be Tidalwave Tam, can write waves and waves of bullshit which will bowl you over. I do work for government after all. :-)
Jul. 20th, 2011 08:08 am (UTC)
Jul. 20th, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
That is super awesome, Tam! :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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