Youtube teaches me something about writing.

Posted by @ 1:56 pm on October 29th, 2009

Let’s talk about flat affect in a writer’s tone. But first, let’s watch Beyonce:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mVEGfH4s5g

All right. Well, that was awesome. Know what’s not awesome? This:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIr8-f2OWhs

Seriously? I mean, I get a “neutral facial expression,” sometimes—I even wear one now and again—but what the fuck was that?

(And what the fuck is she looking at? What the hell is going on off camera that she keeps checking out? Can I watch that instead?)

A flat affect in a writer’s tone can be appropriate. Can be skillfully used. Can be funny. Can be enjoyable. And some of you out there are doing a fine job with it. Keep up the good work.

BUT some of you should probably try to avoid that shit. And I think comparing the videos illustrates it pretty well. Heck, watch them with the sound off. They both are enjoyable enough to listen to—though, you know, one bangs and the other is a little twee. The twee one has its charms.

I’m just saying, sometimes when you understate something, you are instead saying absolutely nothing. And I say nothing to myself all day long. I don’t need to read your book to add your nothing to my nothing. I’m old and I’m going to die some day. If you have nothing to say, stop putting it on paper.