Uncyclopedia:Pee Review/HowTo: Be a Great Writer
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W.T. Door 16:28, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
- I'll reveiw this, for now enjoy noel with this free coupon — Sir Sycamore (talk) 18:36, 6 September 2008 (UTC)
|Humour:||6||I am not sure why I didn't laugh more. I will try to figure it out in Endnotes.|
|Concept:||8||Good idea. Great, even.|
|Prose and formatting:||8||Good writing. Could use a bit of fiddling.|
|Miscellaneous:||7||I like the idea and hope it succeeds.|
|Reviewer:||----OEJ 15:18, 12 September 2008 (UTC)|
Easy stuff first: the prose.
Minor fiddles: The first two sentences in the Write Something section both begin with "Now", and that should be changed. The phrase "ill-begotten" seems odd, like something the prophet Amos would apply to a son begotten through sexual congress with a goat. "Ill-gotten gains" is a cliche phrase for shady money, and maybe that's what you meant. But the fact that I am picking on such niggling details means that your writing is already quite good.
I might suggest breaking up some of the longer paragraphs. But that's a call on judgment and style, and others may not agree.
Harder stuff: the humor.
Why wasn't I cackling with glee as I read this? I am not sure, so I will try to work it out by writing about it.
First, the piece seems to be written all on one level. If it was a movie, the cameraman would have been using a medium-focus lens throughout, with no closeups and no panorama shots. If it was a novel it would consist of medium-paced summary. If it was a horse it would canter but not gallop or walk. If it was a dish of clam chowder...wait, I'm getting silly.
Take the section on childhood: it is quite long, quite elaborate in its advice, and you've put a lot of work into it. But, as a reader, I found myself wishing to be done with it. I got your point early on and didn't want to read more of the same. I'm sorry to say, but it became boring. And I think this was partly because all the ideas were presented in the same way, in similar prose and with similar depth.
So what can one do? Well, for starters, look at the last section: it seemed to me to be much livelier and more enjoyable. It varied the approach more, using colloquial direct asides to the reader: "Oh, come on! Don’t be such a little bitch about it!" So that's one thing that could be done.
But also, recognize that you don't have to present each idea one way. You can make a list.
"The child-writer should:
- Smoke his father's cigarettes
- Have an early sexual experience with a non-human mammal
- Spy on his sister as she bathes, and sniff her underwear
- Have a pet which tragically dies, preferably in his arms
- Be beaten by sadistic teachers, playmates, shopkeepers, librarians, and ballet instructors
- See a close relative killed by spontaneous human combustion"
These items are bullshit, but the idea is to vary the delivery. The list is compact and efficient, and while it should not replace straight prose it can augment it.
You can provide examples. "When Flannery O'Conner was young her favorite pony was accidentally disemboweled by her drunken cousin Flegm. Her father forced her to clean up the mess, and the experience of trudging around the yard gathering her beloved pony's slimy intestines into a bushel basket inspired her great short story, Everything That Falls Out Must Get Dirty."
Or give examples of prose:
- "Writing of his childhood in Ireland, novelist Roddy Doyle remembered:
- 'The rats would parade out of the wainscoting and carry off one of the younger children. They dragged the little tyke behind the walls and his shrieks subsided to moans as the rats chewed his arms and legs away. My Dad would say, "There's another Doyle kiddo gone to make a fat rat in Dublin," and knock back six pints of bitter or so. But there was a tear in his eye. He hated being poor, hated being too crippled by the weekly IRA knee-cappings to fight off the rats. That was life, that was being Irish.'
- Without such childhood experiences a writer's life is sterile."
You can get quite a lot of variation on your message that way. "James Two-Crows always claimed that if he had not had to eat putrid elk brains to survive on the Navajo reservation he could not have written his Guggenheim-prize story The Winter of David Little-River. The budding writer is encouraged to get himself some brains and let them putrefy for awhile. It is good experience."
Anyway. I am always worried that giving specific examples like the above will somehow turn off the writer's own inspiration; I hope that's not the case. I encourage you to work this piece with an eye toward variety and liveliness. If the writing begins to delight and surprise you, then it will probably -- with proper polishing -- delight and surprise at least some readers.
Good luck --
----OEJ 15:18, 12 September 2008 (UTC)