Friday, June 05, 2009

Do You Cringe?

How often do you cringe when you hear bad dialogue in a film or tv show? Do you cringe over 'bad writing' in a novel, short story of newspaper?

The bigger question is how much more do you cringe now that you've become a writer than before?

As a young man (yes I was young once), I would be the one watching war films and complaining that the aircraft was the wrong model for that part of the war, or that a particular machine gun wasn't issued to paratroopers.

Now that I have become a better writer, I find myself using that pedantic attitude and wincing at bad grammar and inappropriate phrasing and cliches.

As much as I enjoy Star Trek and Star Wars, I visibly wince at some dialogue or scenes and have been known to articulate an 'ooooh that's bad' on occasion.

I take it as a positive sign that I'm improving as a writer rather than me just being a pedantic pain in the rear.


Cindy said...

I definitely wince at bad writing. I do this a lot more now that I've learned more about writing. Last night I was reading a book I got from the library and my husband asked me how it was. I said, "It's pretty good, but this lady uses way too many adverbs." I love adverbs, too, but I can see how they might become distracting when used to much.

Eric said...

I wince at bad writing, I complain about poor use of technology in films, you name it. I think I always have, though maybe I'm more critical of writing now. I figure if you're going to put forth the effort to create something, at least make it authentic and realistic. Even sci-fi has some roots in realism, and the reader/watcher has to feel a connection. If everything is so far out there (including cliche'd speech that nobody really uses), your audience just isn't going to feel it. Great post.

Martin Willoughby said...

Cindy, Stephen King railed against overuse of adverbs in 'On Writing' and tries not to use them at all, so you're in good company.

Eric, there is a book on bad science by Ben Goldacre. He also has a website that you may be interested in (

Warren Baldwin said...

I linked here from Cindy's site. I am wanting to develop a website, so I paid close attention to what you wrote. Thanks. wb