Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Is it just me?

I have a confession. I'm finally determined to write a book. So, I've been going to writer's meetings, reading writer magazines and outlining book possibilities. I'm paying attention to what people say about how to find an agent, publisher, etc. I've also been paying attention to other people's writing.

I had the great privilege of hearing one of the best writing coaches out there, Paula LaRocque, last week. One of her tips included NOT writing run-on sentences. Keep them short and concise. Only occasionally do you want a long drawn out sentence and only one written very well that says something.

So, I'm reading a supposed humor column titled "This Writer's Life" about some dude who wants to write a novel. The intro to the sentence that makes me want to claw my eyes out explains that the writer has read about writing a novel and has set clear goals and expectations for his work. Then, he goes into this sentence:

All I want is a well-written, three-dimensional-character-filled, drama-thick, tension-heavy, hilarious, thought-provoking, insightful, bestselling commentary on the human condition and small liberal arts colleges that forces people to ask questions of themselves and of society and not shun delicate issues and people wearing zip-off cargo pants.

Ok, first point: I get the humor in the first 25 words. Clever and amusing. He loses me on the second half of the run-on sentence. I simply don't understand it. Do you? Am I missing some wonderfully insightful humor here?

Wouldn't it be more palatable in bites?
All I want is a well-written, three-dimensional-character-filled, drama-thick, tension-heavy, hilarious, thought-provoking, insightful, bestselling commentary on the human condition. I want small liberal arts colleges that force people to ask questions of themselves and of society and not shun delicate issues.

I have no clue what he is saying about zip-off cargo pants. Is he saying he wants colleges not to shun people who wear them? He wants people who wear them? I mean, it doesn't make sense. What troubles me most is that this column appears in a magazine for writers and people aspiring to be writers. Is it wrong to anyone else?


  • At 7:10 AM, September 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You almost wonder if it's a misprint, don't you? That's what it seems like to me. Something is missing from that sentence, because even by breaking it up it makes no sense.


    I'm writing books too. I subscribe to the Nano method ( You're way ahead of me, though, because you get to write for a living. I'm just a geeky-girl who's been "hobby writing" since I was about 9. LOL

  • At 11:02 AM, September 24, 2007, Blogger Kelly said…

    I've been wanted to write a book for years! My problem is drafting a letter to the agent/publisher. I've already penned one book, and I have an outline for my book about Jenelle. Maybe you can motivate me! =)

  • At 12:49 PM, September 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What ya gonna write about

  • At 9:19 PM, September 24, 2007, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    I'm not sure what I'm going to write about. I have several books floating around in my head. What comes to mind first is a story I've wanted to write for my children to teach them about paying attention to the task at hand and not rushing through it. It will have a cute little character and lots of laughs resulting from the mishaps of doing things too quickly. The big book I want to write is more of an advice type book for women on how to make a relationship work. It will take a humorous approach at how the choices we make impact our relationships with men significantly. It will include little things that many women overlook, but may help them save their relationships.

  • At 1:41 AM, September 26, 2007, Blogger cashin said…

    I'd least 3 copies, no joke. Unless it was particularly expensive, then probably only 1.

    Ney York Times Best seller or bust!

  • At 2:20 PM, September 26, 2007, Blogger Rachelle Jones said…

    Go for it...

    from what I understand from those who have been published...just DO IT.

    It is daunting...

    you may want to read some blogs by jennsylvania, was a blog turned book...see what she says about the experience. I think you can do it. Hell I have been reading you forever and a day NOW

  • At 6:31 PM, September 29, 2007, Blogger Kim du Toit said…

    From my dozen-odd years of writing, please accept the following tips:

    1.) Never, ever use semi-colons.

    2.) Write at 8th-grade level.

    3.) Pick a genre, and stick to the guidelines compulsively.

    4.) Join a writer's critique group, but write your first 100 pages first.

    5.) Do NOT write your life story as your first book, not even in fiction.

    6.) If the sentence you've just written can be written as two sentences, make that change.

    7.) ALWAYS write your plan/outline first, and know exactly how your book is going to end.

    8.) Stephen King was rejected over 80 times before finally getting accepted. Develop a thick skin.

    9.) Don't consider your words to be sacrosanct. If you're a good writer, you can describe a scene five different ways, and each will do the scene justice. "Don't like those words? I have others."

    10.) Write for at least two full hours a day. Write at least one page per day -- that's one complete, ready-to-be-published page.

    Hope that helps.

  • At 11:39 AM, July 17, 2008, Blogger Unknown said…

    he's saying he wants to the book to be a commentary on the human condition AND colleges. still doesn't make much sense unless you're suppose to be amused that the writer feels that small liberal arts colleges fall outside the realm of the human condition.

  • At 5:13 PM, March 10, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    He wants a book that is a whole bunch of things and a commentary on human condition and colleges.. and he also wants the book to force readers into bla bla bla.. the "..which forces readers to.." thing is pertaining to the novel i think.. i hope that helped..although i write like that too sometimes.. too late at night, too much procastination.


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