Back in March, a story appeared over on Life @ 160 titled The Worst Thing 160 Has Ever Done, in which he describes black mailing a girlfriend into having sex with him.
Then, a little while ago, Ben Corman of AttentionCrash.net discussed the story on his radio show with Dr. Rob. During the discussion, Corman contrasted 160′s story with the writing of Tucker Max. Corman said that 160′s piece lacked the sort of self-aware remorse that Tucker has. While Tucker does a lot of really terrible stuff, he is sure to convey that he’s aware of just how rotten it is. 160′s story lacks this self awareness.
But, in another post at Life at 160, 160 defends his story, noting that while the story isn’t self aware of its depravity, 160 himself is, and that he thought that the self aware writing style would have taken away from the piece. And then Corman responded on his blog.
So, expert on everything that I am, I decided I’m going to weigh in.
In my senior year of undergrad I took an upper level fiction writing seminar. Throughout the semester everyone wrote three short stories, and would be in the hot seat on three separate occasions. When in the hot seat, everyone else in the class (who had read yourself earlier) would discuss it for about 30-45 minutes.
And you were expected to sit there and shut up.
You could answer basic factual questions. Is the character named St. John supposed to be an allusion to Jane Eyre? What does “contrariwise” mean? What you could not do was defend your work against your classmate’s opinion.
Someone thinks the story drags at times, don’t respond. Someone doesn’t like your word choice, keep quiet. Someone thinks the story is pointless drivel that should be relegated to nothing more than a footnote in a Candace Bushnell novel, make a note of that.
Not only is it unseemly to defend your writing style, but it’s also a sign that your writing isn’t very good. If you have to make an argument for why your writing is good, that means that the argument isn’t contained within the writing itself. Your writing should speak for itself, and shouldn’t rely on having you following it around explaining it or defending it to critics.
Also, the first line in the “About” section of your blog should not be:
Life at 160 is a strange lifestyle-ish blog with a very slight legal slant. If we had a counter, it would read in the millions (seriously).