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2017 Literary Prize for Bad Sex

Crumbly Writer

The Literary Review has awarded its annual Bad Sex in Fiction prize to Christopher Bollen, for his novel The Destroyers:

"She covers her breasts with her swimsuit," writes Bollen. "The rest of her remains so delectably exposed. The skin along her arms and shoulders are different shades of tan like water stains in a bathtub. Her face and vagina are competing for my attention, so I glance down at the billiard rack of my penis and testicles."

Replies:   red61544
Vlad_Inhaler
Updated:

I'm sure there must be something worse than that on this site but have no idea what it could be. Life's too short to go looking anyway.

Crumbly Writer

I want to know, if his sexual organs appear as a billiard rack, how does he rest the business end of his dick against his balls. The issue isn't just that the passage isn't sexy, it's filled with unnecessary minutiae that has nothing to do with the intimate relation he's supposedly describing. It's as if he's so uncomfortable writing sex scenes, that he grasps any distracting detail available to avoid describing it.

What's worse than just bad writing: writing about something you'd rather do anything other than write.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

The issue isn't just that the passage isn't sexy, it's filled with unnecessary minutiae that has nothing to do with the intimate relation he's supposedly describing.


That and the medical terminology is very unsexy. Penis, testicles, vagina, in a sex scene? Is the male lead a doctor?

Then she's embarrassed to show her breasts, but is apparently fine with leaving her vagina on display? What the fuck is up with that?

Replies:   Zom
Zom

@Dominions Son

Then she's embarrassed to show her breasts, but is apparently fine with leaving her vagina on display? What the fuck is up with that?

Maybe her vagina doesn't sag badly :-)

Ross at Play
Updated:

What advice would a Grammar-Nazi editor give about that one?

* Try to keep the same subject in successive sentences when it's practical. Change 'The rest of her remains ...' to 'Otherwise, she remains ...'
* I suggest the preposition 'of' after 'the skin', instead of 'across', is slightly better. Note how that changes 'the skin' into the genitive case of a collective noun, thus 'are' must then be changed in the singular 'is' too.
* Even better, restructure the sentence so its verb immediately follows its suggest. Perhaps, 'Her skin has different shades of tan on the arms and shoulders, like water stains in a bathtub.' Note how much more personal that would feel to the readers.
* Also 'so' is the wrong conjunction to use in final sentence. 'So' is used when a dependent clause is a consequence of the main clause of the sentence. But here, your main character had two objects competing for his attention but he did not select either of them. You need to change that 'so' to 'but'.

Overall, the writing is of high quality, so why not give readers more, eh? Add more decoration to it. Personally, unless the female character shaves, I would go for another metaphor likening her pubic hair to fungus. Can you see how that subtly enhances the dosshouse-bathroom image you have already established?
Keep up the good work. Send your cheque to ...

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

Personally, unless the female character shaves, I go for another metaphor likening her vaginal hair to fungus.

Fungus as a metaphor for pubic hair? I dearly hope you are kidding.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

Fungus as a metaphor for pubic hair? I dearly hope you are kidding.

YES, I was kidding.

Had you ever seen a less erotic metaphor than "water stains on a bathtub"? Well now you have, but it's only marginally more sickening.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Ross at Play

YES, I was kidding.

Your own damn fault! The magic word is consistency! Usually, you use those silly smileys when you are joking. Now, if you don't use them, I assume you are serious.

That aside, as a joke it was a good one!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

Usually, you use those silly smileys when you are joking. Now, if you don't use them, I assume you are serious.

I only use the silly smileys under extreme sufferance - because of all the humourless Americans here who can't spot a joke unless you hit them over the head with a sledgehammer.
My preferred style of humour is very British. I like nothing more than making a joke which some people get, but others don't even notice the second humorous interpretation in addition to the dull, but accurate, literal meaning. Those who get it appreciate the joke more, and those who don't are none the wiser, if you'll excuse that redundancy.
I ended up in so many needless fights here, the bastards ground me down, and I eventually started using them.

So if something I write seems odd, the safer assumption is that it's just me again, at play, trying to be funny.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

ecause of all the humourless Americans here who can't spot a joke


I wasn't sure if it was meant as a joke until I got to the "Send your cheque to ...". I thought it was funny. :)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

I wasn't sure if it was meant as a joke until ...

I wasn't joking about humourless Americans making attempts to have a bit of fun around here so very fraught with danger. :(
And my "edit comments" by the imaginary Grammar-Nazi editor were legitimate grievances about the way that piece was written, as opposed to its content.
Those are pretty representative of the kinds of comments I make when I edit stories.
I mostly work with newcomers. That's hardly surprising: they tend to either learn fast and leave fast, grateful for the education but even more grateful it's all over, or they leave fast!

Replies:   Dominions Son
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

Fungus as a metaphor for pubic hair? I dearly hope you are kidding.


Vernacular English English uses 'fungus' for facial hair ;)

AJ

richardshagrin

fungus


There's a fungus amongus.

robberhands

@awnlee jawking

Vernacular English English uses 'fungus' for facial hair ;)

Yeah, and concerning sexual organs fungus is called mycosis.

Ernest Bywater

@awnlee jawking

Vernacular English English uses 'fungus' for facial hair ;)


Down here we call it Face Fungus

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Down here we call it Face Fungus

Are you speaking out of your crotch again?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Are you speaking out of your crotch again?


No, I leave place of speaking to the US politicians and their rabid supporters.

Australia is commonly referred to as Down Under by people from the USA, so we're all down here.

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

Down here we call it Face Fungus


Here too!

AJ

red61544

@Crumbly Writer

In literature, just like in real life, sex without intimacy lacks something. I have no desire to know what's behind the eight ball.

Dominions Son

@Ross at Play

I wasn't joking about humourless Americans making attempts to have a bit of fun around here so very fraught with danger.


I didn't think that bit was a joke. Personally, this American doesn't always understand your sense of humor, but there's not much I would take offense at under normal conditions.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@Dominions Son

Personally, this American doesn't always understand your sense of humor

I know my style of humour will sometimes leave some people wondering WFT I was thinking. That's okay. Those who see what I'm on about would enjoy the humour more because of that.
You are generally okay, from my perspective. I don't recall particular problems because you didn't spot I intended something as a joke.

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