Friday, May 16, 2008

Some stories shouldn't be told

Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in India who fancied himself a writer. He was a dark and tortured soul, but he wanted to reach out to the world from the vast alone inside him. He created a suitably dark framework for his words to inhabit, and he sent his words out to the world. Woe is us.

This blog has three major strikes against it.

1) Indian emo kid.
2) Writes nothing but fiction.
3) The fiction sucks.

I could stop there, but I won't. He's young, and he wants to write. It's hard for me to hate on the young. They're just so...young. And I remember when I was young, before life beat most of my pretensions of being a serious writer out of me, and so, I will be merciful.

Yes, the impossible is true. This week, Calamity is the mean one, and I'm claiming the honor of "the nice once."

Template-wise, i like this blog. The template is great. I love dark/gothy things, and this template is definitely that. I especially love the little navigation bar at the top with the little moons. I give you kudos just for that.

However, Setu, you've ruined your simple black design with a bunch of crap and gadgets in the sidebar. Purge them from your existence, post haste. They are a major distraction. Add a links box to your navigation bar and put the links elsewhere. Add a drop-down box for your archives. Simplify, simplify, simplify. NOthing is more classically elegant and gothic than black with no flourish. These gadgets are like a string of gaudy plastic beads around the neck of an elegant dark temptress dressed in velvet. Lose the tacky.

The's overly contrived, far too wordy, and you're trying too hard. Write less, with more feeling. Got it? Do more, with less.

Take this post.

You write:

As I entered the room I saw she had already flat-lined and the doctors were winding up. Now I felt terrible; not for my unanswered questions but for her. I thought I should see her one last time as I didn’t get to do so ever since I crashed in the cab. So, I slowly removed the white cloth from her face. The moment her face was revealed...

See how stilted and awkward the flow is in these sentences? Let me show you what a good editor/writer might do with this.

I walked in, and saw she was dead. The doctors were winding up. Suddenly, the horror [sorrow, tragedy] of her death was real. I wanted to see her one last time, so I slowly removed the white cloth, revealing her face.

When you write, Setu, go back over your work. Try to remove any extraneous words that clutter it up. Make it as clean and to-the-point as you can. Be sparse. You need to do what I've done to every single post.

That's ironic, coming from a wordy fuck like me, but more is NOT better. You don't want your readers tripping over sentences that are as awkward as a thirteen-year-old boy at his first school dance. Your writing should feel, to the reader, as graceful and effortless as ballet. They shouldn't see the work, the craft, behind it. If they do, it spoils the magic.

So, here's my advice to a young writer:

Write your ass off. Do it every day, even if it is just two sentences. Edit, edit, edit. Polish those sentences until they gleam. But mostly? WRITE. Write, and write, and write. Because really? Good writing is mostly about effort and practice.

That's all.

I give you .


  1. I couldn't read it simply because I can't read fiction online.

    That was a constructive review though, well done.

  2. I hate "fiction" blogs, too, but some of his writing is not bad, he has potential that should be encouraged. And, bad habits that should be excised and burned.

    p.s. See? I told you I was the nice one. ;)

  3. When I saw this guy on your McAnal's("I'm ripping it!") list and checked out his blog, I thought "Oh shit! This guy's going to get creamed!"

    This is a surprisingly gentle review. You're a nice person, Ms. Bites.

    Now let's hope this guy comes back and does a George or a McKendrick on you for giving him the poseur tag.

  4. Dark, like the blackest blackiness of my black, black heart.

    So very, very black.

    So very, very nice to this whippersnapper, too, Bites; I'm a little unnerved.

  5. You really were nice.

    Generally, when I see a generic template with no "Look! I made it my own" effort, I move on If the first post doesn't reach out and grab me hard enough to leave fingerprints. I recognized this template immediately (7th down).

    The profile page is enough to make a llama gag...unless you're a fellow emo, I guess.

    Sure, there's some potential in the fiction, but there are many better venues for trying out your writing than upon the unsuspecting and inexperienced. I say inexperienced because I read comments on a few posts. It seems that Setu's regular audience is made up mostly of those more willing to offer up the polite golf clap than any real criticism or constructive suggestion.

    Please, Google "writer's forum" and you will find a venue for any type of writing. That includes dark, emo fiction. The added benefit over the blog format, in most cases, is having people with actual experience around to offer real critiques of your budding work.

    Overall, this blog is, in my opinion, a hastily put together exercise in self-indulgence and cowardism.

    As for the "kid" part: he's 20. He no longer qualifies as a kid in any part of the world. If he couldn't take it, he, we assume, wouldn't have submitted here for a review.

  6. From advanced old age (42), 20 is still a kid. Trust me on this one.

  7. I was nice only because of these two sentences:

    She went in further and further as if trying to go for the horizon where the sun had turned red now. She drowned in the blue madness before she could go even a millionth of her journey.

    Beautifully written.

  8. Still needs polishing, though.

  9. You're right, LB. That is good imagery.

    In the right forum, someone could help him work on that and produce more of it, make it even more poignant.

    And yes, he is young, but still...not a kid. He's old enough to hear harsh truths without cushion and focus on what he wants. He's also old enough to take the consequences and redirect, if writing is what he really wants to do.

  10. From the comment section of one of his posts in April '08, in response to some of his readers' comments and responses:


    April 6, 2008 1:22 AM
    Setu said...

    there's a lot u can interpret if u read it properly..


    This blog is on par with a knock knock joke designed by a three year old: little structure of any meaning, nothing of substance within it, and a punch line reached by jarring force and unreasonable struggle.

    Where you currently ARE, Setu, and where you seem to want to BE... these are two different places indeed, and worlds apart from each other.

    ~ Driz

  11. wow...ok!! that's a surprisisng review in my opinion....quite low on the punching scales :P

  12. Edit. Pay more attention to punctuation, because that shit and misspelling will cause me to click away without reading beyond the first line. Also: there's a dead guy, who apparently lost his mind in college and this is what you give us? Come on! I will skip over the diary entries as boring self-indulgent fluff and skim the dialogue as stilted and first draft-ish. If this is what you want to do and you're serious about writing fiction, take a class. And for the love of all that exists, fucking edit!


Grow a pair.