Saturday, July 25, 2009

Boys and girls might write differently!

I don't remember if I've written about this here, or just conversed with friends about it. I'd made the observation that literature by men tends to be about doing, while literature by women tends to be about simply being. For instance, a fantasy fiction book by a man tends to delve into wish fulfillment about the main character going and doing great things to prove his/her worth, and rising through society as a result of his/her accomplishments. Fantasy fiction books by women are more likely to focus on the main character being recognized for how wonderful/brilliant/beautiful he/she is, without actually doing anything to deserve said praise, other than existing.

Think "Harry Potter" vs. "The Hobbit."

Anyway, I came across this, and had to include it. It's real - been vetted by Snopes as much as anything on the 'net can be. And I know it's made its way around, but I'm just now coming across it!

English 44A, SMU, Creative Writing, Prof. Miller.

In-class Assignment for Wednesday:"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

"The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca - last name deleted, and Gary - last name deleted."

_____ STORY: (first paragraph by Rebecca) ________

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and acros sthe cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4."Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race.Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent,chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.



Honestly, I think this would've gone on to make a great story. But maybe I'm a little warped!


  1. Two extreme polar opposites right there. And, they must have picked the girliest girl and the most boyish boy (couldn't think of a better word, obviously lol)...

  2. Yup - VERY extreme examples of two different writing styles. But if you were to take a paragraph from say, "Twilight" and one from "The Sum of All Fears," you would get much the same result. And in a shocking turn, I believe that "Twilight" was written by a woman, and is popular with mostly women. Equally shocking is that "The Sum of All Fears" is written by a guy, and is mostly popular with guys.

    It doesn't mean that men can't appreciate Stephenie Meyer, or women can't appreciate Tom Clancy. I just don't see/hear them raving enthusiastically.