One thing that caught my eye from that writing rules article I mentioned yesterday was a comment by P.D. James who stated that we should be discriminating about what we read because Bad writing is contagious. I can't say if I agree with that or not -- it invites snobbery, and badly-written books often cheer me up immensely -- but it did make me wonder what other writer cooties might be out there waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting storyteller.
Over the years I have noticed some faddish-type writing that seems to spread along with trends, and commenced compiling a ten list -- did you doubt I wouldn't? -- so here are:
Ten Things You Might Catch from Other Writers' Books
Dragonorrhea: the prevalence of countless, beautifully colored, magically-endowed, bejewel-eyed dragons in a story when said dragons are not logical to the world-building, have no lives, apparently have nothing better to do than suck up to puny mortals, and (no matter how enormous or powerful they are) usually behave like fanged, flying, fire-breathing bunnies.
Good Girlitis: A serious and often grotesque inflammation of the heroine's moral pulchritude, which results in her utter inability to acquire flaws, make bad decisions or otherwise mess up like the rest of the ordinary mortals on the planet.
InfoMumps: Swollen, boring and largely unattractive monologues offered by dull characters who seem to serve no other purpose except to be on hand to confirm what Bob already knows.
HEAlzheimers: no matter how emotionally screwed up one or more main characters were during the first nineteen chapters of the novel, in the twentieth they forget all their troubles, commit to a serious relationship for which they were always incapable of trying much less sustaining in the past, and otherwise present a permanently welded-on mask of unnatural, lobotomized bliss.
Projectile Dysfunction: the unreasonable, unrealistic but steadily persistent eruption of guns, knives, swords and other phallic symbols wielded by the hero to underscore or serve as visual substitute for his masculinity, heterosexuality, virility, or any other manly man attribute.
Pseudo-BadBoydom: a surface condition which presents the hero as a nasty dirty lowdown mean leather-wearing foul-mouthed ingrate who should be publicly flogged for his innumerable sins and yet mysteriously and instantly vanishes whenever the heroine confesses her love, self-doubts, troubles or any situation in which a real bad boy would actually come in rather handy.
Rumor Paralysis: an emotionally void state in which a character falls in after hearing the most ridiculous, unbelievable, circumstantial gossip about their loved one; at least until said loved one offers up tangible and undeniable evidence to the contrary at the last possible moment versus telling the moron to piss off like any sane person would.
Sexaholism: any mortal character who performs more than four sex acts in a 12-hour period; any semi-mortal character who must sleep with everyone in the novel because if they don't the world is doomed; any immortal character who has non-stop sex with a mortal character and yet does not cause them to spontaneously combust after the four hundredth go.
Tattoomania: characters who enjoy normal employment while sporting so much visible body ink that the only two jobs they could reasonably hold down in the real world would be that of a) a tattoo artist or b) a sideshow freak.
Writerinterruptus: Random and glaringly obvious break outs of ax-grinding, soapbox preaching and other outpourings of personal bitching by the author that derail the story, annoy the reader but sound really good when quoted by an ardent colleague who possesses the same inane belief system.