Professionally bad sex
Remember our Le Bad Sex competition? It was inspired by Guardian Unlimited Books' Bad Sex in Fiction Award. Props to The Word Munger for feeding me this link to a Guardian Unlimited article providing full text of the firmest contenders. (Sarah beat me to it, but since one or two of you don't read the Smart Bitches, and since the above link is -- apologies, Sarah, but it must be said -- far more graphic, I decided to run with it.)
What is it about sex that drives such respected authors as John Updike, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Salman Rushdie to the absolute pits of literary whiffydom? Read the Guardian Unlimited article and savor the rank odor of truly bad writing. Sorry, Daisy, I know your piece won my contest, but it shouldn't have. It was far too well written.
Take one of the shorter entries:
The Olive Readers by Christine Aziz (Macmillan)
We made our way to the summerhouse and hid in its shadows. We lay on the cool floor and I twined my legs around Homer's body, gripping him like a hunter hanging on to its prey. He made love to me with his fingers and I came in the palm of his hand. He stroked my breasts and neck. "Don't wash it away" he said. "I want to be able to smell you tonight."
Like a hunter hanging on to its prey? And what's with the funky punctuation ("Don't wash it away" he said.)? My high school AP English teachers would have red-lined me to hell and back.
As for content -- eeew. You wouldn't repeat this to your best friend, would you? For most people, this would qualify as too much information. If you wouldn't tell it to your best friend, why would you share it with your readers?
Ah. I almost forgot the sole commandment of Serious Fiction: give us a glimpse of Truth. This also explains the following line from Marlon Brando and Donald Cammell's Fan Tan:
It is the one drawback of fellatio as conscientious as hers that it eliminates the chance for small talk and poetry alike.
Guys: next time you're gettin' some and your gal is reciting "The Red Wheelbarrow," tell her she's not being conscientious enough. See how far you get.
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