Degrees of Suckitude

I was recently discussing a story-in-progress with someone. I ventured to hope that it didn’t suck. I was told there was no way it could suck, given excerpts she had seen.

Au contraire! There are degrees of suckitude. (That is a technical phrase which I have just invented.)

The Degree of Suckitude, or D-Suck, cannot be determined objectively. It is rather a subjective quality (suck-jective?) that varies depending on both internal and external factors. Internal factors are, for the most part, internal to the writer of the Sucky Story, though the reader’s state of mind might also cause a given story to Suck more violently than it would under other circumstances. External factors influencing D-Suck include rapidly-approaching deadlines, printer jams, and reviews of previous stories by the same author.

For example, the story I mentioned above. It was in progress as one type of story. Then I needed to change it to another type of story. While I was in the process of doing so, perfectly adequate draft scenes were suddenly no longer suited to their original purpose, so their D-Suck skyrocketed, exacerbated by internal factors including “why didn’t I leave it the way it was?!” Thus, when a new, cobbled together draft was completed, I still felt that the story Sucked. The draft was Done (and Done is Good) but at the same time, like Schrödinger’s cat, it was Sucky. Or might have been.

Hey, it all makes perfect sense to me.

Published by Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s writing showcases her voracious lifelong love of books. She reads over 120 new books each year, especially historical romance, fantasy, and space opera, and incorporates these genres into her erotic fiction. Her first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. When not writing, Victoria conducts research in libraries and graveyards, lectures about writing and selling erotica, and speaks at literary conventions on topics such as paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotic science fiction/fantasy, and the empowerment of women through unconventional means. Her daily writing blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and author interviews. She also guest blogs for Heroes & Heartbreakers and The Criminal Element. She lives in Philadelphia.

6 replies on “Degrees of Suckitude”

  1. Well, to be truly like Schrodinger’s cat, the story would need to exist in the state of Suckitude and non-Suckitude simultaneously. And, honestly, I believe that is totally possible. Because, as you state, the state of Suckitude is dependent on multiple factors, and having subjective components can, indeed be both Sucky and non-Sucky at the same time.

    We need some kind of literary corollary to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. You can measure the Suckitude of the manuscript or the Insecurity of the Writer, but not both at the same time….

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