Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Darkness by Tony Cusumano

via Smashwords
Whenever a writer offers his work at discounted price or free, it's for exposure. Usually, the piece is a short story. Something that will hook a reader. However, not all freebies are the writer's best work. For instance, "The Darkness" by Tony Cusumano will not draw this reader back for more. In fact, I want to stay as far away from his writing as possible that I'm plotting to cancel my account with Smashwords - I won't because there are still several good writers there.

Maybe Cusumano has something in his work. Something new and interesting. The problem is that he's too - well - wordy. Repetitive. Redundant. Calling-captain-obvious-y. There's no way to explain it, so I'll give you a couple of examples:

"Darkness, or blackness, is the state of being dark, or the absence of light."
Really? Because I was totally unaware of this fact.

 "My hand, heavy, rough, and callused, fell heavy on your shoulder."
Well, of course your heavy hand will fall heavy on someone's shoulder. You just said it was heavy. As for "rough" and "callused," well, you know. Duh. There's a few more - like when the subject is drinking round after round, shot after shot, of bourbon. Or how passing cars light up the night with their twin headlights. Oh how a person is broken, beaten, and scarred.

It's creative writing 101 (whatever that means) to show not tell. However, showing by telling is boring. I'm not sure if that at all made sense to the reader here. Let's see, if you're too descriptive, you steal away from the story. If you can't make up your mind about one description of something - say round after round and shot after shot - maybe you shouldn't use either. Let's not for get the cliches. Oh my goodness, the cliches! 

The story is riddle with so many problems, I couldn't even get through the whole thing. And I'm "reviewing" this to be a jerk. No. Not at all. But if you're going to put something out there and want people to come back for more - probably with cash in hand - then you're going to have to give them something that's worth it. And I gotta tell you, "The Darkness" isn't that. 

 Another mistake - and I'm just assuming here - is the Jack Kerouac syndrome. You know the one - first draft, best draft! No. No. And no. I get it, we've all been there. We all think our writing is superb, that there is no room for revision. It'll betray what you were feeling. But if you're writing for yourself, keep a journal. When you're writing for an audience, you gotta, well, write for the audience.

Oh well, until next time. Keep on huntin'.

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