Dear readers, have you noticed that the standard of writing is going down? Seriously. I have read people who claim to be twenty and thirty-year-olds writing, and yet their pieces are jammed so full of typographies and general grammar mistakes that one has to wonder – Do they do this on purpose? Is it some sort of avant-garde way of expressing oneself? Or have grammar rules changed overnight, and is this the correct way of writing? Oh my God, please let this all be a nightmare… please…
Of course, this is not to say that all modern writing is bad. I have read many exceptional pieces, most of them authored by my friends, and I am even willing to overlook minor errors if the subject matter is intriguing enough.
Unfortunately, about 99% of the time, this isn’t the case. Most stories I find are plagued by not only rampant grammar errors, but a complete lack of a structure. Worse, they are often – in the case of first-person narratives – nothing more than the author’s thinly veiled fantasies transcribed onto paper. Now, there’s nothing especially wrong with writing down your fantasies – but in order to make those stories readable, you have to inject a healthy dose of believability into them as well. Add character development. Humour. Don’t make absolutely everything go your way. Conflict is essential to any type of story.
Why, dear reader, am I bringing up this issue? What impact does it have on you? The answer lies in the dark and mysterious world of publishing companies. Of late, I have noticed that more and more sub-par work is being churned out of their presses >cough Twilight cough<, and – what is even scarier – most people actually enjoy this sort of fluffy, undeveloped work. I have read truly awful pieces of writing, then looked through their comment pages, expecting constructive criticism and advice. Instead, I found hundreds of messages praising the high quality of the work and the author’s wonderful sense of humour.
Now, I may not be much of an authority on this – I’m no Classic Literature Ph.D. – but all the same, when I read a modern poem or story, then turn back to good ol’ Shakespeare, something in my mind tells me that the Bard would be very unhappy to see modern standards of work.
Of course, there’s always the chance that he’d enthusiastically adapt Breaking Dawn into a tragicomedy. (“Forsooth, Bella! There doth be the Vampire Mafia! Quick, we must use our skin, which doth glow like a thousand suns, to blind them!” “Oh Edward! Thou must keep thine senses about you, for Aro be a dankish fat kidneyed minnow! He hath… sunglasses!“)