1. nhope
    Offline

    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    NH Seacoast

    Down & dirty, tell it like it is writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by nhope, Feb 7, 2009.

    Have you ever thought of writing about life in a tell-it-like-you-think-it-is, biting, sarcastic, humorous, real-world way? Chapters such as:

    The Female-Male relationship - what is it really?
    Do you honestly like your kids?
    How's that day job?
    What do people really want to say when you ask, "How's it going?", and do you really care?
    Breaking up.
    Starting over...again.

    Would it arouse interest or controversy, or would it be too familiar, or boring?
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Like any writing, it's how compelling the writing is more than the topic itself. Some topics may be a harder sell than others, but even a subject with powerful audience appeal will not survive dull writing.
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    that kinda stuff is ALL i write... in both essays and what i call 'philosetry'... check it out on my webite... it's all 'down 'n dirty' and yes, it does stir up controversy among the 'my-head's-in-the-sand-and-i'm-happy-that-way' crowd, and it's anything but 'familiar' or 'boring'!
     
  4. Mercurial
    Offline

    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Messages:
    3,453
    Likes Received:
    117
    I agree with Mr C completely. While it's best not to use dull topic, even those dull topics can be international best-sellers if they're backed with superb writing.

    The topics you've posted seem pretty generic (so I couldnt say with any certainty that they'd stir up controversy or be so boring that I'd fall asleep and drool all over the book); everyone has experienced those events, and so everyone could write about them; there's a writer in everyone, I say, but only those who work hard become authors.
     
  5. Bartholomew
    Offline

    Bartholomew Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    Does writing about cat litter and the disturbing contents therein count?
     
  6. Atari
    Offline

    Atari Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Louisiana
    For a long while, that was the majority of what I would write. My intent was to be mostly funny, but to also not sugar-coat anything or be stifled by narrow-minded individuals who would be offended by discussions on skin color, gender and sexual orientation.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    No. The author's choice of subject is sacrosanct, not that anyone is obligated to publish or read it in that case.

    But this thread is more about cliche words and phrases, and other irksome habits within the writing.

    I have a number of peeves in that area. One that pops into my ead right now is straight jacket. It is not a straight jacket, it's a strait jacket, or straitjacket!
     
  8. nhope
    Offline

    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    60
    Location:
    NH Seacoast
     
  9. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    That wasn't the impression I got from this thread. :confused:

    OP:

    Have you ever thought of writing about life in a tell-it-like-you-think-it-is, biting, sarcastic, humorous, real-world way?

    Not really. I save that for my personal (online) journaling, and, in fact, usually not even there anymore since I just get lots of people telling me to stop complaining (even though, ironically, it's the ranty entries that get the most hits--nobody wants to read when I'm being optimistic!). As for my regular writing, nope. I get enough sarcastic, biting stuff in real life to want to put any of that in my writing. My writing is an escape from how sucky the real world can be. (Though suckiness occasionally enters my work, it's not the driving theme of it.)

    ETA:

    What do people really want to say when you ask, "How's it going?", and do you really care?

    ZOMG! I just journaled about this the other day, in fact! :D
     
  10. Dcoin
    Offline

    Dcoin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NYC
    Writer and TV personality Anthony Bourdain comes to mind.

    Like his work, I don't think a down and dirty narrative has to be controversial. It just has to be good.
     
  11. Evil Ferret of Randomness
    Offline

    Evil Ferret of Randomness Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Houston, Texas! (We don't ride horses, and no one
    Cat litter... Cat litter... You know what, I'm going to write something about cat litter! But, I write with constant sarcasm and jack-***ness, especially in Essays(As an aside, I'll mention that I wrote an Essay for my World History teacher, and she actually yelled at me for being "Too damned snarky!"), and I think a writer or author challenging him or herself with strange topics improves the writer. It makes him or her write with different tones and force themselves into different veiw points, which is good.

    As to the real question; I, personally, wouldn't read something like that. I'm pure Sci-fi, so the only thing close to extremely snarky that I've read was The Zombie Survival Guide. However, I KNOW that people would read stuff like that simply because people seem to like to be abused. If you insult one's lifestyle, they'll want to hear/read more. But, you don't want to go so extreme that you insult anyone, because that takes from your audience. Or, if you do insult one side, insult the other as well in order to gain forgiveness from both audiences. Sort of like a comedian.

    But, that was just my comment as to this...

    {EDIT}
    TO clear up the bit about insulting. I mean that you don't want to make anyone feel negatively about themselves! Insulting their lifestyle is fine, but insulting them directly or their lifestyle repeatedly or harshly makes them stop reading and never return!
     
  12. Bartholomew
    Offline

    Bartholomew Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2006
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    0
    I get a bit uppity when people mix up Jibe and Jive.

    Moreso = More So, please and thank you.

    Please don't describe towns as being nestled in things. Please don't have castles that loom. And for god's sake, please, please, please don't have towering towers!
     
  13. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    That wasn't the impression I got from this thread. :confused:
    [/QUOTE]Oops. My head was still in another thread. Sorry. :redface:
     
  14. inkslinger
    Offline

    inkslinger Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    403
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Las Vegas / Phoenix
    I really don't think about it much to be honest. I guess you can say most of the books I read are "down and dirty, tell it like it is" and a lot of my writng is. But I don't plan it that way. I write and read whatever I feel like at the moment, LOL. I can just as easily happen to write something uplifting than something "gritty". It's not about me trying to write any of that, it's really about me writing what I feel I should be writing.

    ....But that's just me. And I'm pretty strange and random, so...
     
  15. Flozzie
    Offline

    Flozzie Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    My more or less weird mind
    I definitely think that it's okay to write about subjects like that. Like with all other writing, it's about how well the writer does it. The dullest subject can be made interesting if the writer does it well.
     
  16. dthomas
    Offline

    dthomas Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2009
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Madison, WI
    I think sometimes the best writing is about "the down and dirty stuff" because many times people use their novels/stories to try to understand the down and dirty stuff a bit better, to give it more perspective so that it is not just the boring and familiar stuff but its the stuff that everyone experiences and no one really pays deep attention to. Though, like many people stated in here, it depends largely on the style and content.
     
  17. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    and i get real uppity when they spell 'gibe' with a 'j' if not referring to a yachting maneuver! ;-)
     
  18. Atari
    Offline

    Atari Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Louisiana
    Actually, when I was at college, each time someone passed me in the hallway, he would say, "How's it going?" or "What's up?"

    I began absentmindedly answering, "You don't really care," with a shrug and smile.

    Or I would actually tell them my life's story, following it up with, "You did ask how I'm doing, or were you just saying 'hey'?"
     
  19. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    bravo, a!!!

    i get that stock/not-really-meant 'how are you?' from folks who email me, all the time and it bugs me the same way... thanks for inspiring me to ask back, 'do you really want to know?'

    extra hugs, m
     
  20. ManicParroT
    Offline

    ManicParroT Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    204
    Likes Received:
    2
    ...

    Do you guys really have a problem with social niceties like saying "how are you?"

    If you accept the fact that people in every culture engage in social rituals, giving people a hard time about saying "how you doing" doesn't look clever and edgy, it just looks silly.

    It's like pointing out that handshakes are completely unnecessary, or that you don't have to look at people when you speak to them in order for them to understand what you're saying. Try it. No eye contact, no handshakes, no gestures. You don't need any of that! It's inefficient!

    No one will think you've come up with some awesome truth about the world, they'll just think you're being rude, or if they're charitable, that you've got Asperger's syndrome.
     
  21. Sada
    Offline

    Sada New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I don't mind to listen to "down and dirty way it is talk" in the streets, or on TV but actually read it in a book, in a Novel?

    Unless it is a "How to ?" book or a documentary report about a society, where it has to be told as it is ...

    In a Fiction it can be fun when it has a kind of surprising effect, something which makes you chuckle reading it, or actually makes you blush ... otherwise I think we might just turn the pages ... anything we are familiar with, heard already a thousand times will make us turn the pages IMHO.
     
  22. captain kate
    Offline

    captain kate Active Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Cruising through space.
    Your writings are definitely interesting reading

    and thought-provoking which is their purpose. Sometimes it's a darn shame that there isn't more writing like it around...
    :D
     
  23. Atari
    Offline

    Atari Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Louisiana

    Is it a terrible inconvenience to say 'hi' rather than saying 'what's up'?

    The second phrase is asking, "What recent events in your life currently occupy your attention?"
    Not, "I am greeting you passively."

    A NOD works, for me. An acknowledgment that we are acquainted, but not a, "How's it going?"
     

Share This Page