Monday, August 31, 2009

Alternatives to Global Watch

I suppose at some point, people interested in global politics and espionage will stumble upon Global Watch. That is the real tragedy here. Unwitting curious souls will attempt to learn something about these topics from Global Watch, and be as misinformed as they would be by, in the words of Grampa Simpson, "piecing it together from the back of sugar packets."

So, even though summer is drawing to a close, I have a summer reading assignment for such budding scholars.
It's Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene.
At only $8.21 more than Global Watch, Our Man In Havana will make a welcome addition to your library. And it won't rot your brain.

Another book that will satisfy your international intrigue itch is The Secret Agent, by Joseph Conrad.
Interesting fact about Conrad: English was his second language. And yet his novels read so much better than Global Watch.

Now go read. There's no book report due, and this assignment will not be graded. You'll find that reading something other than Global Watch is its own reward.

The old bait-and-switch.

Darn it, Kyp! She set you up.

She lured you in to this debate with the offer for you to defend democracy. Who wouldn't jump at this chance?
Then you show up to the debate, and she tells you you have to defend capitalism. So, all that "quite" preparation was for naught. I'd be so angry if I were you, Kyp.

And so, Global Watch fails on another point: basic political knowledge. The author seems to think that Democracy=Capitalism, and that the two are interchangeable. A little searching would have turned up Democratic Socialism being practiced in different countries, and Communist parties holding seats in different countries' legislatures.
But I digress. What this shows, in the best possible light, is that even the author isn't paying attention to what he is writing.

One more grammar point before I go: It is not "bring home the prize." It's "take home the prize." Things like this continue to irk me.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Champ?

More like "chump."

Oh, come on, Kyp. You know you want to debate her. Someone who talks like this would be putty in your hands.
Kyp, check it out:
1. She uses words like "poly sci." "Poly," Kyp! She probably thinks it stands for "polyester."
2. She can't even bother to say the whole word "versus." Nobody will know what she's talking about. When you say the phrase "et cetera" in conversation (and I doubt you do, Kyp), do you say "etkuh" (for "etc.") or do you say "et cetera?" Don't answer that, Kyp. I don't want to know.
3. As she'd debate you, her lack of understanding about commas would cause her to speak in long run-on sentences, which would utterly confuse the judges and make them question how she got into Harvard.

Think about it, Kyp. ALL the glory.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is everyone in this book stupid?

Here is another great example of someone in this book speaking as though heavily sedated and clinically depressed.

It's such contrived language that I expected her to add, "And if you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter!"
It's been a while since I was in high school, but I'm pretty sure no principal of a high school would use phrases like "our little town," and "from out East." Principals in little towns like Council Bluffs are too busy making sure meth epidemics don't get too out of hand to have palpitations over visits from Harvard reps. Furthermore, why did the principal wait until the day before the fair to make this announcement? And Harvard needs to bump up its ad budget if people still need to specify where it is: "Harvard. You know, from out east." Harvard's on the East Coast? Well, crap, Principal, here I've been thinking I wuz gonna get in and spend my college days in sunny Californ-I-A. Truly, Principal. I'm no blue blood, but if a student needs to be told in which direction Harvard lies, you probably don't want that student representing your school to a Harvard rep.

Here's a much better country mouse-city mouse Harvard-related exchange.

On his first day as a Harvard freshman, a young man from the Midwest is trying to find his way around the Harvard campus. He stops an upperclassman and asks "Say, can you tell me where the library is at?" The upperclassman replies, "At Harvard, we don't end a sentence in a preposition." The Midwesterner replies, "Sorry. Can you tell me where the library is at, asshole?"

I love that joke.

In the news

Back when I was growing up, Saturday morning cartoons used to have some educational content thrown in. Two of the most notable attempts to put more than cheap plastic toys and diabetes-inducing cereal in front of youngsters were "Schoolhouse Rock" and "In the News." Think of this Saturday edition of GlobalWatchWatch as an homage to "In The News." And what's in the news today?
Global Watch! The author was recently interviewed by his hometown newspaper, and he had this to say:
BYPASSING the traditional paper book publishing process to create and self-publish an electronic book, or ebook, Zeibert said he was able to make his work immediately available to consumers via the internet. Ebooks can be downloaded and read on computers, smart phones, or special devices called readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle product. Zeibert said that "Kindle has been a huge success and legitimized the industry of self publishing."


And with Global Watch, all of Kindle's success is washed right down the drain. Generally, with some notable exceptions, if an author had to self-publish a book, it meant that literary agents wouldn't waste their time on it, that editors didn't think it was good enough, and that publishers didn't want to have their names associated with it. What this meant for you, as a consumer, was that by the time a book found its way into your hands, it had been looked at by many people: agents, production assistants, assistant editors, proofreaders, the author. So you could read a book without being distracted by atrocious grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

A book like Global Watch is at cross purposes with Kindle, because (admittedly, I own a Kindle) I am less likely to visit the Kindle Store for self-published books if I think the product offerings are amateurish and poorly edited. The signal-to-noise ratio for books available on Kindle may actually dissuade readers from buying the device.

There was a news story a few weeks back about Amazon's deleting bootlegged copies of 1984 from customers' Kindles. Amazon should have done this with Global Watch. It would have had fewer complaints.

Friday, August 28, 2009

In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive...

"You ain't seen nothin' yet."
I assure you that these are not the only examples of this error to be found in Global Watch. There are many, many more that I am finding as I force myself to the soul-crushing conclusion.

Obviously, these "thens" should be spelled "than." It's an amateur error that even the best of us make in our writing from time to time. The difference is, we all don't keep making it in the same piece of writing and try to promote it on Amazon and our own personal blogs.

Here's another vapid pop culture reference to keep you interested:
I recently finished one of the Harry Potter books. Now I think that maybe Global Watch is a horcrux, and it holds a piece of Lord Voldemort's soul. It sure seems evil enough.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's the little things that matter

Things like hyphenation, semicolons. Basic punctuation, the sort of thing we learn about in ninth grade.

Put a semicolon after "inventive." Fix that split infinitive "he had to also be." "He also had to be" is preferred. Hyphenate "top notch."

I don't think I'm splitting hairs here. If there weren't two or three such issues in every paragraph, this blog would not exist. These are fundamental errors. If there were one or two every chapter, I'd forgive them as a difference of opinion about hyphenation and semicolons. But it's clear the author has no grasp of the building blocks of writing.

Do you doubt me? Think I'm being mean? Then direct your eyes to the last word in the paragraph. "..look up too." Inexcusable. It's almost insulting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A lot you've got to holler.

Over at his blog, the author makes this plug:
Check out the new issue of Boston University Builders and Leaders Magazine for an article about me and Global Watch. Aside from spelling my name wrong it is a pretty good endorsement. This issue is not yet available online, but when it is I will post the link for everyone.


I don't think anyone who writes about a "juvenile rouse" should be critiquing a magazine's proofreading.

Try again

There are probably a dozen ways this next paragraph could have been better written. Six of which could be done by an eighth grader.



First of all, the phrase "best of the best." It's simply lazy writing, one of those phrases that gets thrown into the literary stewpot from which ladles of bad writing are drawn, to sicken unwitting readers with the E. coli of boredom.

Second, that last sentence makes no sense. "They never appeared..." The author probably meant to say, "it never occurred to them to speak with the older troops, or they would have learned that Rachel had spent the last six years blahblahblahblah." Or, "It seemed they never spoke to the older troops and learned blahblahblah."

Henry James once wrote, "In every novel, the work is divided between the writer and the reader."
I don't think he had Global Watch in mind at the time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do people really talk like that?

The word of the day? Verisimilitude.
I don't expect Global Watch to read like a David Mamet script, but this next bit of the story could use some punching up (pardon the pun).
Have you ever heard people talk like this?


I'll take a break from my copy editing chores to comment on the dialogue. Aren't these people supposed to be the nation's finest? They sound as dumb as a bag of hammers. On the attempt to portray any semblance of reality, Global Watch fails. If these people were truly our nation's defense against evildoers, you would now be reading this blog while eating your Communist-issued ration pack. So, in a way, I'm glad Global Watch is fiction.

Monday, August 24, 2009

GlobalWatchWatch is going mobile!

Just like Global Watch itself, this blog is also available on the small screen.

Now you can get the latest edits of Global Watch on your mobile device! No more waiting for your little brother to get off the computer to read the latest criticism. Point your mobile browser here and bookmark the site for future enjoyment.

Proof that Word's spellchecker isn't foolproof

I've only gotten through half of Global Watch
(because my Catholic upbringing has instilled in me a wee bit of a masochistic streak)
but I must confess that this is my favorite paragraph thus far.


It's my favorite because the author uses the wrong words. By wrong, I don't mean "imprecise," or "vague," I mean flat-out wrong.
"Feigned" should be "feinted."
"Rouse" should be "ruse."
"Formally" should be "formerly." Unless, of course, Rachel is fighting while wearing an evening gown, like Princess Fiona in Shrek. Then, yes, she would have been "formally" occupying that space.


Add to this cluster the incorrect tense of "slide," and you see why I cherish this paragraph, and have little hope of finding its equal in the yet-to-be-read second half of Global Watch.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Commas

Alright, let's talk about commas.

Once we get through the atrocious prologue history lesson about Harry Truman, we arrive at Chapter 1. Right off the bat, the reader is abused by a grave lack of punctuation.



I haven't noted the need for proper capitalization to begin speech in quotes, because I'm trying to keep things brief. In addition, use of the apostrophe in "attackers'" is wrong. There is one attacker, not two. "Attacker's" is correct. I don't think that's too hard.

They're little things, commas are. But when they're not used properly, it shows, and it bugs the hell out of me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

That didn't take long.

There are two errors in the prologue.
On the first page.
In the first paragraph.


And this says nothing of the need for commas.

This kind of writing can get you kicked out of college.

But first, an introduction.

Global Watch, according to its page on Amazon,
marks the first entry of a new action packed series wrought with political intrigue and international conspiracy. The fast paced twists and turns will keep the cleverest minds guessing until the very end, and holding their breath as the ultimate endgame unfolds.

This novel sets the stage for a series of global espionage thrillers, filled with scandal and romance that will leave you waiting in anticipation for the next edition.


It is also marked by such poor writing that even the most inattentive reader understands why the author had to self-publish this book and sell it on Amazon for $1.99.

This slipshod wordcraft has provoked the ire of at least one Amazon reviewer, who writes:
This book is like reading a comic book. The dialogue is child-like and artificial. The plot-line is simplistic. The book is loaded with grammatical and spelling errors. It is painful to force your way to the end. Don't waste your time and don't wait for a sequel.


With such readers, this blog stands in solidarity.

Welcome to GlobalWatchWatch.

So it begins

This blog will attempt to point out every error in Joseph Zeibert's Global Watch.
It will also attempt to stem the tide of people who should not write anything more substantive than a grocery list calling themselves "writers" and the dreck they produce "books."

Light in August is a book. Lord Jim is a book.

Global Watch is not a book. GlobalWatchWatch will prove this.

Stay tuned and get your red pens out.