*Instead of starting a technical writing thread, starts a thread to complain about the lack of them *
I don't have time right now, okay...it takes me a while to create teaching material-type stuff. Right now I just want to dash off a thing before I go to work. '3'
Anyway, thanks to this thread, I've been exposed to LOTS of amateur comic/novel content within a relatively short period of time. And I've made a lot of realizations, but one of the big ones was this:
People...generally don't write well. =/
And I don't mean like plot/character-wise; we're not even at that point yet. I mean simple language usage. Basic spelling and grammar mistakes aside, a lot of the writing I saw felt really awkward and unnatural. And I volunteered in a library for a summer, I know what it's like to open a random book and see writing that feels "normal". This was not that.
To give an analogy, it's like an oddly large number of writers are stuck in the 'uncanny valley' of writing. If you just give it a glance, it looks good enough. But when you have to stare at it for longer than a few seconds, you start to notice things that rub you the wrong way.
For instance: Excessive stacks of adjectives in an effort to make a description seem detailed, or characters clearly and robotically 'over-explaining' for setup purposes when they're supposedly having a casual conversation. Or characters who are supposedly highly-educated/prim and proper whose dialogue just sounds like someone threw a thesaurus at normal speech. "I ambulated over to the solarium yesterday"...
Or (this is pretty common) a 1st-person narrative voice that doesn't match the character's actual voice. They don't have to match perfectly (you can use that as a storytelling technique) but it's really weird when they sound like 'Batman writing gothic poetry' as the narrator and just...painfully average when they speak to other characters. There should be at least a little overlap, if they're truly the same person.
Anyway, I do realize that a lot of people have English as their second language and all that, but I'm not sure just how much of an excuse that is...a lot of the issues I pointed out aren't due to not knowing English, they're due to trying to use it in ways that don't actually make sense for any language. French is my second language, and I've written short stories in it before, and I wouldn't dare do any of those things. =/ That's just not good writing, no matter what language you're using.
Besides, this might be a bit controversial, but writing for entertainment purposes is as much of a skill as drawing for entertainment purposes is. And like all skills, it needs to be practiced, developed, and refined.
I feel like people have this idea that, because technical writing is something pretty much everyone does in the modern world, it's not as important. People will go on and on about visual art, because that's special. They'll go on and on about plot construction and narrative themes, because that's special. But how often do we ask ourselves, "Do you know how to make a character sound friendly?" "Do you know how to write a basic conversation between two strangers??"
Do you actually know? Or do you just assume that you do?