Warning: the following has content of a highly disturbing nature.
‘A girl is urged by her mother to let her brother take her virginity and become sexually active. She is ready to become sexually active but doesn’t want to give in to her mother. Her mother decides to demonstrate how good her brother is in bed and lets him take her in her daughter’s bed while her daughter watches every day for weeks causing the girl to have dreams of having sex with her brother.’ *
Well, what do you think of that as a synopsis for a novel? Me, I laughed until I stopped. And that isn’t as easy as it sounds. I think that whoever could conceive of such a ‘plot’ is quite simply unhinged or in layman’s terms seriously fucked-up. And I am no prude by any stretch of the imagination. Look at some of my blog posts if you doubt me and I just used the ‘f’ word didn’t I?
I was confronted with the above when I logged on to the Smashwords homepage for the twenty-fifth time today to check my download figures (still a healthy four. No new ones since Saturday. Maybe the Smashwords server is down.). The book to which this refers had obviously recently been uploaded because it was sitting there staring back at me (oh, so their server must be working then. Bugger.). I’m not going to name the book title that it refers to. I wouldn’t want to give the man any free publicity on my blog. I’d rather remove my own eyeballs with hot spoons, or vote Conservative.
The book has been listed under ‘erotica’ (no I wasn’t perving my way through the genre’s latest entries. Every new upload shows up on Smashwords home page) Perhaps it should have been listed under ‘sick and twisted’ or ‘in need of therapy’. (My nan used to say, ‘being a bit judgemental is better than being just mental’.)
I believe in free speech. I don’t like censorship. I know that some people want to read this stuff. I just think that perhaps Smashwords should start a partner site called Trashwords and that they should have a team of synopsis readers sifting through the influx of new material to single out the raw sewage from writing that is not written by and pandering to freaks of morality. I, for one, would be a regular subscriber to Trashwords because I haven’t laughed so much for ages. It’s not just prurient, puerile rubbish. Some of them are just plain rubbish.
It got me thinking about the brief outline – the synopsis – that one is obliged to submit with one’s offering. They are very important. They shouldn’t be underestimated as a means of encouraging readers to give writers a closer look. They should be worked on and refined (not necessarily in a moralistic way). I hope that mine works for browsers. I’ve copied and pasted a couple of others that I have selected for my own reasons and posterity. Would they ensure that you paid good money to download them to your reading device? None of these books were free to download.
‘A ballsy couple’s cozy lives are upended when the zombie apocalypse strikes Glasgow, and every day becomes a battle for survival as they team up with a band of misfits in hopes of starting civilization anew.’ That’s a no from me. Sorry.
‘The year is 2795 and after their ship was commissioned early and uncompleted to rescue a lost Confederate vessel 14,000 light years from home, the crew of the GCV Winchester have only just escaped with their lives with the dreaded Dimion. Their only hope now to return home is with help from a local race. However it is only a matter of time before the Dimion strike again. Will the crew survive.’ I’ll pass thanks.
‘Dark dreams, love, betrayal and a battle to save the world. ‘xxx’ tells the story of Cassie as she sets out, across the medieval and magical lands of Tarraneia, to prevent the terrible future she has foreseen. Is the future already set? Or can it be changed?’ A bit confusing.
‘Some are happy. Some aren’t. Yet everyday I go on with a face that is as plastic as the smile that doesn’t quite reach her eyes.’ Could you rephrase that, please?
‘Ronald didn’t expect his experiment to have quite the effect that it did. When it turned him into Ronnie, she didn’t expect to be changed quite that long, but mad-science timelines have a way of changing a person’s mind. “xxx” is erotica sci-fi that is unsuitable for those under the age of 18.’ Or those with a brain.
‘Born between the sexes, Jamie must leave behind a young girl’s dreams to become the man her family expects.’ Again, please?
‘The devil in us all set loose to do wickedness at the expense of all that is pure in our hearts. Four stories where the ending is bitter sweet painful, but the sex is erotic enough to turn wood to rock hard, sweaty horny stone. Broken, teased and used as nothing more than a toy for the amusement of the evil in all of us. xxx is for the firm of heart and soul. xxx is for you.’ Actually, it really isn’t. Sorry.
I could go on all night, but a) I’ve just seen the time b) it’s all getting a little depressing c) why am I doing this anyway?
* Copyright 2011 – 2012, John Edgar Jay
The following is lifted from John’s author page and I fully acknowledge his ownership of the material. (I wouldn’t touch it with a barge-pole, mate.)
John has edited stories for other authors and offers his services to anyone who needs help. (That made me laugh a lot) Many writers have very good story lines but their work is diminished by poor sentence construction, misused words, extraneous words, missing words, lack of subject verb agreement, incorrect use of contractions–in particular confusing the possessive pronoun “your” with the contraction of you are “you’re”, confusing the possessive pronoun “its” with the contraction for it is “it’s” misuse of the verb “to lie” and other such problems. (OK, so maybe he has an understanding of the finer points of grammar, semantics and syntax; he’s just missing his morality gene and a dash of common decency. Maybe he’s writing from memory of his home-life. Maybe he’s from the deep-south of the US of A or Dungeness where that kind of thing is perfectly normal. As a school friend of mine who travelled in daily on the RHDR from Dungeness used to say, ‘At least I know who my mum is. She’s my sister.’)
Still, John’s mum must be so proud. I wonder if John has children. Does he ask friends and family to proof-read his output for him? Now I’m laughing again. Cheers, John. Thanks for brightening my day. Get some help.