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Nika's Culinaria - Eat With Your Eyes: Meltingly god-awful

Nika's Culinaria - Eat With Your Eyes

Culinary Photography

Meltingly god-awful

OSV 10

I am a big reader for sure. I am well schooled in sci-fi, going way back. I read wide into fantasy and spy. None of this is terribly literate, I completely agree. For my own literary development, I read better things like Dorothy Dunnett.

I even read some books JUST to get in touch with just how BAD published writing can get. Specifically, I read a lot of the Left Behind series for that reason. This stuff is such ATROCIOUS writing that it makes your eyes water. Stuff in the same vein and almost as bad is anything by Dan Brown of DaVinci Code fame. He doesn't write literary fiction, he writes poorly worded screenplays.

For work, I do scientific and technical editing. With some of this one is reduced to a grammar-mistress, whipping the bones of the manuscript into shape so that the reader is not distracted from the data or technical specifications by the almost unreadable grammar that springs from some scientists' and engineers' minds. As a scientist, I can attest to how little training one gets in grad school on writing.

One could say that I have a good ear for BAD writing. Let me tell you (and here I am getting to my point that is relevant to this blog), there is much bad FOOD writing.

My biggest pet peeve with food writing is the use of "-ly". Examples include meltingly, unconscionably, rapturously, spicily, uncannily, swoonily, unhealthily, and other crazy atrocities.

I think meltingly is especially bogus. When I come across this word it is like being snagged by sand burrs during a nice run on the beach. It brings the flow of the writing to a grinding halt. The reading experience is no longer about some delicate sliver of otoro. Now it is about that horrid "-ly" and then ponderings on what brings an author to the place where s/he needs to use this word and others with painfully applied "-ly"s.

As we food bloggists have mostly only two communication tools, writing and photography, we are all budding food writers to some degree.

Do yourself a favor (ok, me too) and read with a critical eye and ear. Do not just assume that the writing you see in the New York Times and other major publications is GOOD writing. Think about how it doesn't serve your needs, think about how some of the word usage is unfortunate and how you might find better descriptive words and devices. Do not copy a style without a sense for whether it is a clear and productive one.

Above all else, do what ever you have to do to avoid the use of painful "-ly" words like meltingly!

Civilization may just depend on it.

caligraphy in colonial america

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