Category: bad writing

Said Bookisms and Dialogue; Yusaf Mack Says He’s Gay; Vote For Your Youtuber Favorite

Said Bookisms and Dialogue

I once read a book review where an amateur author claimed the book “didn’t have good writing.” I’d read the same book, which is why I was reading other reviews, and I have to admit I was stumped by this other author’s nasty negative review. The book I’d read…the very same book this other author reviewed negatively…was flawless. It was so well-written I learned a few things while I read it.

So out of curiosity, I went to the Amazon page of the author who left the bad review for the other author and I checked out HER books to see what HER writing was like. I figured she must be really great, with such a great big mouth. In the first few pages of several of her books I found nothing but “said bookisms,” from one line of dialogue to the other. When this author’s characters spoke to each other they “grumbled, mumbled, and stumbled” so many times I almost lost my lunch.

In this author’s quest to come off looking as if she knew it all she proved to people who actually do know better that she doesn’t know much. That’s the only way to put it kindly. And when I write posts like this I’m hoping readers will check them out so they can see the difference, too.

With that said, here’s what “said bookisms” are. As the aritcle states, you can use them once in a while and it’s fine. Sometimes you have to use them. (I do it sometimes and feel so dangerous, which shows you what a geek I can be) However, if you use them in every single line of dialogue people who know better are going to whisper.

In short, a “said bookism” is what happens when an inexperienced author constantly uses dialogue tags like “she exclaimed, he ejaculated, she grumbled” instead of just saying “he said,” or “she said.” You see it a lot in magazine articles. Magazines are famous for this kind of writing. It’s fine in the right context because those people aren’t supposed to know better and it would be rude to correct them. Sometimes it’s cute. However, when a book is being published I think the author should know better. As a reader I can overlook a few misspellings and little things. But bad dialogue is something different. 

And here’s yet another article I found this week about dialogue I thought was excellent. It’s short, it’s simple, and it will show you the difference…and there is a difference. I don’t make this stuff up, which is why I link to posts and bloggers who know far more than I do. 

Problem #1: “Said” alternatives are usually counter-productive in that they end up drawing way more attention to themselves than plain-Jane “said” ever would.

Yusaf Mack Says He’s Gay

When I posted about the Yusaf Mack story earlier this week I had a feeling there would be a follow up soon. He’s the cute (hot) boxer who was claiming that he didn’t realize he did a gay porn film because he was allegedly drugged at the time. The original story was that he was bisexual.

Now this…

In a new interview taped earlier this week with Fox 29 in Philadelphia, Mack told reporter Quincy Harris: “I’m tired of holding it in. It is what it is. I live my life. I’m gay,” adding that he’s been aware of his sexuality for “about eight years.” 

I don’t have a negative comment about this. It’s the perfect example of just how confused some gay men get and how hard it is for them to come out. I’m just glad he did come out and I hope things get easier for him. It sounds as if he’s still going through a lot.

You can read the rest here.

Vote For Your Youtuber Favorite

I have to admit that I love this. I love everything about it. The sheer fact that someone can reach this point of exposure from Youtube just makes me smile. When I first discovered Youtube years ago I never would have imagined anything like this. It also breaks (shatters) the old Hollywood mold where a few select people decided to would become famous, who was talented, and who would get the most exposure.

Kicking off this year’s program is the category YouTube Standouts. Social media is saturated with personalities vying for attention, but these ten queer YouTubers are the cream of the crop. From comedy to politics, each brings to the table positive visibility for the LGBTQ community.

You can check them out here. I follow a lot of these people on Twitter and they are some of the brightest, most creative on the Internet. And they’re doing it all by themselves.

One of the personal goals that I’ve been talking about for quite some time is that I’m going to start doing book readings on Youtube eventually. I will do this. I just want to make sure it’s not totally awful so I don’t wind up looking like the “said bookism” of Youtube…and there’s a very good chance that could happen. 

Fangsters: Book 2

Gang Bang Fangsters



Male Full Frontals on Reddit; Channing Tatum and Penis Enlargement Pills; The Pope, Again: Quotations Within Quotations

Male Full Frontals on Reddit

According to this article, men are now posting their full frontal nude photos on Reddit in sort of a retaliation to the government for snooping around on social media. This information comes from Edward Snowden in an interview with John Oliver.

“The good news is that there’s no program named the ‘dick pic’ program,” Snowden said. “The bad news… they are still collecting everybody’s information, including your dick pics.”

(Nosy bitches!)

“If you have your email somewhere like Gmail hosted on a server overseas or transferred overseas or anytime it crosses outside the borders of the United States, your junk ends up in the database,” he continued.

It’s kind of scary when you think about it, and makes you long for the good old days of ten years ago when all we had to worry about was using up our weekend minutes.

You can read the rest here. There’s a link to Reddit where over 100 guys have posted their erect penises. But there’s no mention of Snowden showing his erection.

Channing Tatum and Penis Enlargement Pills

I’m sure this is sarcasm.

Channing Tatum spoke about the sequel to Magic Mike and he mentioned the cast was taking penis enlargement pills, in an offhanded way…no pun intended.

No plot. Just a bunch of naked dudes sitting around doing dude stuff. We read all the message boards, and people were like, ‘Less story. Less plot. Just dudes’ things.’ And we listened to that. Basically, we all were taking penis-enlargement pills since the last one, so we weren’t worried about what temperature the room was when we came out to do our dances. That’s what XXL means.

Unfortunately, I think some people in the comments missed the sarcasm. 

You can read it all here.  

The Pope, Again

It’s getting harder and harder to take this Pope seriously when it comes to anything LGBT related. Now they’re saying he’s gone silent on the matter of an openly gay man, Laurent Stefanini, becoming the French Ambassador to the Vatican. 

Stefanini was nominated in early January, and credentials are typically accepted within six weeks. Now some thirteen weeks later, Francis has yet to accept him. The Vatican does not expressly deny credentials, so the silence is being interpreted as a rejection.

The rest is here.

More mixed messages from the Pope.  I might not agree with Mike Huckabee, but at least I know where he stands.

Quotations Within Quotations

I’m usually the first to agree that common usage in fiction is fine as long as you don’t push things too far. The grammar police gets on my nerves all the time. However, there are a few set rules that aren’t there for the grammar police alone. These basic rules of writing a novel (and reading a novel) are there so people don’t get confused.

The other night while scrolling through Facebook I saw a self-published author promoting her new romance novel. It was basically what you would expect, however, as I read a sample from the book I didn’t “get” it at first. And that’s because this author screwed up the quotations within the quotations. In other words, in dialogue when a character is speaking it’s in quotes. That’s a given. But when the character who is speaking quotes something, or someone, you have to show this to the reader. 

Here’s a link that makes it about as simple as it gets. 

Almost all of us have found ourselves confused with double and single quotation marks. When do we use single quotation marks? Where does the punctuation go with single quotation marks? With just a few rules and examples, you will feel surer about your decisions.

Rule: Use single quotation marks inside double quotation marks when you have a quotation within a quotation.

Example: Bobbi told me, “Delia said, ‘This will never work.’ ”

It’s a mistake that can be avoided.

Dan Brown’s Alleged Bad Writing and Other Links…

I’d like to start this post off by stating that I love Dan Brown’s writing. I think he knows how to create a story, from a masculine POV, in ways that make me want to keep reading. And when I’m reading for pleasure, this is what I care about most.

But I read an interesting post over here, at “Michael’s” blog, on the Dystel & Goderich Literary Management Blog about Dan Brown’s alleged “bad writing.” I use the word alleged because I don’t agree Dan Brown’s writing is bad.

I know the post was written with a tongue-in-cheek tone, and I get where “Michael” was going. But I can’t help wondering how Dan Brown feels when he reads posts like this. Seriously, people must think that authors are made of cast iron. Even in fun, authors take these things to heart.

The post I’m talking about links to this article, where examples of Dan Brown’s alleged bad writing are given, and the tone isn’t as lighthearted as “Michael’s.” I think each example could be debated. But I also know there’s no way anyone can ever win when they go up against a pedantic elitist, so it’s not worth the time or effort to give out examples.

In fact, I feel safe in saying that a lot of what I read and see about what’s considered “bad writing” is written by pedantic elitists who aren’t keeping up with the way people are communicating in a general sense. When I read this blog post over at Hyperbole and a Half, and the long rant that went with it, I felt guilty and a little sad at the same time. Guilty, because I’m one of those people who often abbreviate words like “you” to “u,” when I’m texting or posting online. And that’s because, like most people my age and younger, I’m either using a tablet or a phone to post. It’s easier. It’s accepted. And it’s the way communication is moving whether we like it or not. I also felt a little sad for the blogger for not taking the way communication is changing…and always has changed…into consideration. And it has nothing to do with age. My mom is in her seventies and she texts and abbreviates all the time.

One of the reasons why I rarely comment on the style of another author’s writing is because most of the time it can be debated. And I always think, “who am I to judge?” Evidently, that’s not the case in SOME places. And even though the post about Dan Brown was lighthearted and written with a positive tone, I hope when Dan Brown reads these things he knows he’s getting the last laugh. Because there are plenty of readers like me out there, who are not elitists, who love the way he writes. But more than that, we “get” and appreciate the way communication styles change and evolve with time.

Here’s the best example I can give:

Steven Jobs came up with the infamous line for an ad:

“Think Different”

The pedantic elitists thought it should read “Think Differently,” because it’s grammatically correct.

Steve Jobs argued that he wanted to keep it “Think Different.” Mainly because he wanted “different” to be considered a noun. And he won, the ad was a huge success, and it helped change the world.

I like to “Think Different,” too. And I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

"Said Bookisms" Don’t Do It!

I often read book excerpts on retail e-book sites and make lists of what I’m going to read next. I was doing this again today and I noticed something interesting on many sites. I can’t single one site out in particular. They all had books with the same problem, and some of these books have received spectacular reviews.

But I simply cannot understand how a book can receive a great review when it’s filled with “said bookisms” from page one. I saw this over and over again, and I had to wonder whether or not these authors just don’t know, they don’t care, or they think they are being clever by using “said bookisms.” Is this the newest wave in literature and art and someone forgot to mention it to me? Or is it just that there are so many people out there writing books, without a clue as to how it’s done, that it doesn’t matter anymore? The storyline matters, the facts matter, and the editing matters. But there are also clear concise rules about crafting a novel or story that should matter just as much. Authors should know this; book reviewers should know this (and at the very least mention it…even when the author is a great story teller).

For those who don’t know, “said bookisms” are a sure sign that a writer has a limited educational background in writing as well as limited experience in reading good books. “Said bookisms” are melodramatic dialogue tags that pull the reader out of the story and break the pace. Instead of keeping it simple and tight, and using “he said” and “she asked” as dialogue tags, they use tags like “he barked,” and “she chuckled.” This is the sign of a pure amateur, and I only have to glance at the first few pages of a book to know whether or not I’m going to bother reading it. For me, even if the story is great, I won’t read it.

I’m seeing this all the time, from authors who are promoting their books on social networks and yahoo groups. There are so many excerpts with “said bookisms” it would be impossible to list them.

I’m not a total prude about this. I think it’s okay to use them once in a while, and I even think they serve a purpose in certain situations. However, I’m not talking about once in a while here. I’m talking about authors using these “said bookisms” from page one to the end of the book just for the sake of using them. For a great example that goes into more detail, read below. And I’ve posted a link to the article below the example.

Yes, I know, lots of best-selling authors use said bookisms, sometimes to excess. That doesn’t mean it’s all right to use them. That simply means they are so good at telling a story that can get away with it.

And of course, avoid the dialogue tag “he ejaculated.” At the very least, don’t use that as a dialogue tag during a sex scene – unless you want a laugh.

Put your energy into making sure your characters’ words are strong enough, and you won’t need to lean on the said bookisms.