Writing So Bad It's Beautiful – Part 2

[Continued from .]

There’s this episode of American Dad where Francine complains to Roger about how close Stan is getting to his old bootcamp crush who has returned after some time away. Here’s Francine:

Those two are stuck on each other like gum on a hot summer sidewalk on a summer afternoon.

I’m sorry. I’m taking a creative writing class, and I can’t turn it off—like a fire hydrant, gushing onto a hot summer sidewalk. My words cascading, like water onto a hot summer sidewalk. A cat skitters by, each step a relief, cooling its paws from the hot summer sidewalk.

This is such great writing because it so accurately gets at what makes bad short-story writing bad short-story writing: the focus on elevated diction. The belief in words as words and not as things that connote or convey.

Sure, not all great writing is a windowpane you see right through, despite what some old-fashioned teachers and books might tell you. Some great writing calls attention to itself as writing. How, though, does that stuff differ from, say, Matheson? Is it just in terms of freshness?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *