Every now and then, you encounter prose so wonderfully preposterous that it feels quite a crime not to share it with other appreciative readers. Some, of course, confine this morbid pleasure to the Bad Sex in Fiction Award handed out yearly by the Literary Review. (How easy it is for us to confront bad prose when it’s being declared “bad” by an independent authority!) Others test their mincing mettle by contributing their own exemplars to the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest.
But as we all know, the best bad prose isn’t always planned. It’s written and discovered by accident.
With all these factors in mind, I offer The Bad Prose Reading Project, where I will be offering audio dramatizations of any bad prose I discover during my reading adventures.
During the course of these dramatizations, I won’t actually name the author, the story, or the novel that I’m reading. I feel this is fair to those who may judge the prose to be excellent. Needless to say, if I’m dramatizing it, it’s probably been published somewhere in the last few months. But that’s also part of the fun. Perhaps in dramatizing “bad” prose, the oral delivery may transform it into “good” prose because my dramatization is “bad.” Or perhaps I’m overthinking the experiment.
In any event, I invite listeners to judge the results. The first installment of The Bad Prose Reading Project features the phrase “disinterested thrusting” and can be listened to below.