Saturday, July 24, 2010

Worthless descriptions

A good measure of a writer is how well he describes something. Without the ability to paint a picture for the reader, a writer is just doing stenography.
The person who typed in Global Watch is not a writer. That's why I've steadfastly refused to call him anything but "the person who typed in Global Watch." Still, his attempts at writing, especially description, continue to appall me with their laziness and ineptitude. Like this paragraph.

Let's work through this together.
How did she give him the number? Does she carry a notepad? A little description would be nice.
But the phrase "large military-grade transport vehicle" really cuts me. Deeply. When people ask you how you get to work, do you say, "I took my mid-sized consumer-grade road vehicle"? Or "I caught the scheduled multi-seat railcar transport"? It's a freakin' helicopter, Global Watch! You've already told us that, so if you want to describe it, use words like "Kazan" or "Eurocopter," or "gray." "Large military-grade transport vehicle" doesn't tell the audience anything at all.
In an article about Global Watch in an alumni magazine, I found this statement:
Using short, fast-paced chapters, Ziebert says “the characters, not a descriptive narrative, drive the story.”

That's a cop-out if ever there was. For one, the narrative IS the story. The characters fit into the narrative. A good writer makes it all work together. Then, to say, "F*** it, I'm not going to describe anything" is the height of indolence and incompetence. This statement about "descriptive narratives" driving the story leads me to believe the person who typed in Global Watch read those words in a review on the back of a Tom Clancy novel and thought they sounded good. But I don't think Tom Clancy would describe a helicopter as a "large military-grade transport vehicle."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Just dropping in

Summer's going great. I'll be back tomorrow or Friday.

With a vengeance.

I'm also beginning to suspect there is no Book 2 of the exciting series, Global Watch.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"I Write Like"

I found a great website today called I Write Like.

It allows you to submit a sample of your writing and receive an instant analysis of which writer your style most resembles. My friends have gotten back, "I write like David Foster Wallace," and "I write like Margaret Mitchell." I think there's some validity to this idea that you can identify which authors a writer is influenced by by his style. I'm not sure a computer program can do it, but I'm willing to admit I could be wrong.

So, I decided to put it to the test. With my own writing? Heck, no! I pulled some prime Global Watch prose! I took the first few paragraphs of Chapter 1, and pasted them into the submission box.

At that point, I fully expected the computer to tell me, "I write like someone who kept getting held back a grade." Or, "I write like crap." I was surprised when the computer told me:

Yes, I was also flabbergasted. J.K. Rowling's Could I be missing some hidden treasure in Global Watch's wordcraft? Then it dawned on me. Of course not. The computer program did a pretty good job recognizing that, like J.K. Rowling, Global Watch also invents stuff that could never happen and writes at a fifth grade level.

You win this round, computer.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm not going there.

Could someone explain this plan to me?

If I'm reading this correctly, Rachel's plan called for her to nearly die from lack of oxygen.

Rachel's got some issues.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How dumb can one sentence be?

The world, becoming more global? You don't say.

What possesses someone to type in a sentence this useless?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Russian Accents

Like the time I walked through Compton by myself, I knew there was trouble here, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Now I know. Here it is. The problem is with the person who typed in Global Watch and his understanding of what an accent is.

Imagine if I said to you, "The delivery person came to my door and said, in a perfect English accent, 'J'ai un paquet pour vous!'" You'd probably say, "You mean the delivery person spoke French to you in an English accent?" That's exactly what happens in this scene, mangled as it is by the person who typed in Global Watch.

As this scene is described, Kyp walks up to the Kremlin and says, in English with a Russian accent, "Mail call!" The person who typed in Global Watch could have looked up the Russian for "mail call,"* or typed in, "Kyp gave the words for 'mail call' in perfect Russian." He didn't, though. As a matter of fact, there are no Russian words to be found in Global Watch. A story in which about 25% of the action takes place in Russia has no Russian in it. Neither a "Nyet" nor a "Da." There is more Russian in "Back in the USSR" by The Beatles.

This lack of knowledge about Russia surprises me, because the person who typed in Global Watch personally met Mikhail Gorbachev. In fact, in one of his promotional materials, he says,
I had a chance to see Mikhail Gorbachev from a distance during the Cold War then later meet and take a picture with him after the fall of the Soviet Union. These childhood experiences helped me shape the political characters on both the US and Russian sides of Global Watch.

So, if meeting Gorby was so influential and the genesis of this story, why did he not even bother to include a little Russian in the story as well? I bet Gorby spoke some English to him at that fateful meeting, and the person who would grow up to type in Global Watch assumed that all Russians spoke English all the time.

I mean, has this guy ever watched a foreign film? Subtitles, Global Watch!

* I went to, and I found out that "Mail Call!" in Russian is, "почта вызова."

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

While you enjoy your freedom this weekend, don't forget about the heroes of Global Watch, the best of the best, who protect us all. Max, Kyp: You have your nation's eternal gratitude.

Now, would you stop talking like this?