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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When a would-be writer is in denial

One of the most important elements in being a pro writer (or artist of any stripe) is the ability to accept criticism. Not only will you receive it from editors and, if you get published, fans and reviewers, but if you wish to improve your craft you need to accept that others will read your writing and find fault. Maybe a lot of fault. If you're a beginner, it will be a painful amount of fault. Not everyone is thick-skinned and mature enough to accept this. Some are so in love with what they think is on the page that they cannot conceive of something wrong with their golden words, the mean person disrespecting their story is either jealous, or reading it wrong. . .

I bring this up because I have a significant follow-up to my last spam deconstruction. When last we talked about this "compelling and absolutely authentic SF novel" I was reflecting that spamming a bunch of professional SF writers and hawking your self-published manuscript was not the best way to sell your book. However, curiosity did get the best of me and I did eventually visit the spammer's website. Here's a sample.

Journey with our main characters SeiWan Li and Lazarus as they go from young adults to maturity while they begin their mind altering excursions into the familiar settings of our solar system and beyond. Quest with the feating duo in their magnificent vessel The Star Voyager.
Immerse yourself in the informative epilogue providing detailed diagrams and alpha numeric data of ship profiles, speed scales, alien life, and locations throughout Star City.
We want to maintain a comprehensive narrative. Informal facts are available for the appetent scientific crowd to devour. This is not a work of strictly science yet herein surfaces fantasy.

I was so aghast at all this I had to tell someone, but instead of blogging about it (I'd already done the spam, and that seemed enough) I posted my discovery on my favorite bad movie site, the Agony Booth. I started a thread on the forums there letting the patrons know that this curiosity existed. (If you're curious about the site, the link to it is in the first post there.)

I created a monster. Nearly two months later, and the thread is six pages long. And, believe it or not, the author showed up, posting in the same broken spamtastic grammar. With the Mary Sueish touch of using his protagonist's name as a handle. Here're a few choice quotes:

You'll get 87.000 words of structure and adventure of exeedingly accurate and classic scince fiction action, thrill, and even a little romance for all you lovers out there.
I would like to assure you though I am in aggreeacne that we are not an official dissenminator of science fiction
I am reasonbly certain you will find it thoroughly efficient. Our team consists of writers, philosophers, and physicist to bring you the most accuract perspective on true space exploration.
The armature work "Star City" is available and ready to be acquired. Though you may find random spelling anomalies even in the face of our diligent editing of the conglomerate host of narrative and astronomical data, we believe that the random grammatical anomalies could be overlooked for the sake of ease.

This stuff parodies itself. If you've been on the internet any longer than the last 24 hours you can only imagine the level of snark that erupted in the thread in response to these pronouncements. It would be awe-inspiring if this was all there was.

But it isn't.

One of the fellow forum members, Premier Blah, actually had the balls (or the masochistic streak) to order a copy of the book. The author actually had the balls (or the masochistic streak) to send him a copy. Now, since the Agony Booth is dedicated to sarcastic, snarky, scene-by-scene deconstruction of crappy movies, you can guess what happens next.

Premier Blah starts his own forum thread where he does his own recap of the novel in question. And it is as awful as you think it is. And the author himself weighs in, which I'd feel kind of sad about if it wasn't for the fact that this train could be seen coming for two months and the guy still stood on the tracks pimping his self-published masterwork. It is a sight to behold. . .


Anonymous said...

Wow, just ... wow. Some people just ask for it. Love your blog, btw!

Ravebomb said...

I recall a study where they discovered that the more incompetent a person is the less aware of their own incompetence they are.

Scary to see it first hand.