Thursday, April 13, 2006

In A Word: Indescribable

By order of one opinionated author, and in the interest of preventing dimwit writers from hurting themselves, the word indescribable is officially forbidden from this day forward. Said word should be struck from all working drafts forthwith.

Hark! Writing about something that's truly indescribable is like saying that your protagonist is the smartest person who has ever lived.—Terrific! Now what in God's name are you supposed to make him say? — Take my advice: If it's indescribable, then keep it to yourself.

At the same time, if it really is describable then it really isn't indescribable, right?! Here's one from a submission at a writer's conference:
The situation was indescribable. You should have seen it. There were people everywhere, some wearing orange coats and all painted up with white and orange stripes on their faces, others wearing black and red and waving flags...
If you're incompetent, that's fine, but why hoist yourself by your own petard? No one needs to know about it.

And then there's this gem, which comes pretty close to being indescribable on its own:
Frustrated, [Winter] took an apple and kissed it with snow and laid it in her path. She ran over it with a sit-down snowplow. The result was indescribable. At the sight of this, Winter’s chest felt uncomfortably tight. His heart was nearly covered with a thick crust of ice.

Time was running out.
You think I made this up? No, unfortunately I didn't. Credit for this real, live, published marvel goes to a writer who "has [allegedly] seen 20 short stories in print in the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA....She currently lives in Houston, where she runs a home for stray snowflakes." (!!!)

I swear if I can't get published in this business...