Friday, July 11, 2008

Why Bad Fiction Works, In A Way

The unique appeal and strength of bad fiction:
I have this thesis, well completely underdeveloped intuition, that the ways "bad" or "mediocre" prose interacts with its readers' imaginations is misunderstood and understudied. By lacking clarity & precision, "bad style" leaves space for readers to engage and participate with the text on their own terms.
There is a sweet spot for bad fiction. Too muddy a style will just confuse the reader, bouncing her out of the story so she can figure out who is talking, or why the tone changes for no reason, or why someone's eyes are blue in one chapter and violet in another. Authors with limited prose skills sometimes err too far on the other side, overburdening the reader with useless, repetitive descriptions and a shotgun approach to adverbs (see Jordan, Robert; Rowling, J.K.).

Sometimes you wish the prose were muddier, just to obscure your view of the trainwreck (Touched By Venom, represent!).
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