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Percival Everett

Saturday 7/18/20

Today's words of writing advice: Never write as poorly as Percival Everett. Look at this hilariously pretentious bit of "story"-as-author-desperation/cover-up in n+1. It's a guy saying, "Behold how pretentious I am!" He just wants to write "aureate" and "nescience" to let you know he's better than you, even though not once in this guy's life has he ever had an actual story to tell. It's a writer who knows he has absolutely nothing, so this is what he has to do, and then editors going, "Wow, this is so pretentious, it must be good! Plus he's a system person! This is what we pretend is amazing and important, though there is no one on earth who could actually get a single thing from this! We are so important, aren't we? We're so important that no one is great enough to partake of what we do. Damn are we great." You also get that stock MFA program rhythm, too. These stories all have the same rhythm, and that rhythm is obvious from the first clause. You are going to be hyper-conscious of someone writing. There will be no ensconcing of anyone in what feels like and becomes an experience, rather than what comes off as--in the most typical, boring way--a reading assignment you don't want to do.

What kind of husk of a human, what kind of sad, entitled, insecure poser, a mere drip of life, is this for? Because that's the demo. And even that demo doesn't read this and enjoy it, or think about it, is made to feel anything by it. Get anything from it. There's nothing to get. You just point at words he used. You are not enmeshed in, situated in, anything. Nothing penetrates you and moves you forward. Everything is on the outside, and you point at it, you don't read and absorb it and become absorbed by it. So there's my writing tip for the day. Use words because they are the right words, not words you want people to see for the sake of seeing the words so they think you're smart. You want people to think you're smart, then move them. Because no one can fake the brains it takes to do that. You can have a character say the word "ensorcelled," but it has to be for the right reasons of the story, not for reasons having only to do with you and your ego, what in this person's case is their arrogance, which, of course, stems from insecurity, the aforementioned knowledge that they are working with nothing. Because people always know, trust me. That's why they'll hate you if you are actually working with something. They might talk a big game to people who think they need to kiss that person's ass, they'll tell you about their awards, none of which they deserved, but they know. They always know. Part of the reason why they hate themselves. Part of the reason why they act how they do, big part of the reason why they are all about classism, big part of the reason publishing is almost entirely about classism. Big part of the reason no one reads seriously anymore, too.


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