Bling writing

I've rejected a couple of examples of this recently, as an editor, and I think it's both a growing trend and a sign of immaturity in the writer's psyche.

I'd define bling writing as the process of throwing brilliant effects at a story until it scintillates like a disco ball. Some writers are very, very good at it.

The problem for me, as an editor, is the story rarely stands up to a second reading. Once I've gasped at the devices: stream of consciousness, jump cut writing, artful running metaphors, it generally becomes clear to me that what the story lacks is a story. Characters tend to exist only to hold down the dizzying narrative constructions or to mouth dailogue that is full of word play. Events are secondary to scenes, which are linked not by narrative necessity but by flimsy underwriting like tacking stitches on a half made suit. Development is non-existent, the characters neither learn nor change and the story world is no different once the story is over. And that means the whole thing is like eating candyfloss - succulent at each bite, but cloying and unsatisfying when all you are left with is the empty stick.

Even in this party season I can't stomach much bling.

By comparison, the plain prose of writers like George Orwell has precisely the opposite effect. At first it seems almost bland, but the flavour emerges more strongly the more one reads, and every subsequent reading brings out new subtlety and power, like a good port that lingers on the palate.

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