Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

writing about corruption (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

alpacinoutd

Senior Member
Hello everyone.

So, I live in a country where the level of corruption is very high. I have written a little something about this.

Sometimes, in English they say X makes Y look like Z! Now, I need something here which means very "honest" and scrupulous. I thought about using the name of a person who is the symbol of honesty and scrupulousness but I couldn't find a name.

Where I live corruption is rampant. It's on a level you just can't imagine. The corrupt figures here make your typical greedy megalomaniacs look like...
A lot of these corrupt folks steal money and grow fatter by the day while impoverished masses barely subsist. The country's economy is like a dead antelope with hyenas and vultures fighting over the bones and scraps. There exists a tenuous coexistence between abject poverty and unfair affluence but the ever-widening abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone soon.


Also, do you think the "abyss" part works? I mean saying that the abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone.

If you have suggestions on how I can make it better, I'd appreciate them.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Well advice from me varies greatly. I was recently focusing on backstory. Now I am focusing on objectives. For the characters this may seem obvious. But give them an objective.

These are tips from a screenwriting guide I used.
Be specific with an objective.
Give it emotional value.
It must come from within the character.

To stop corruption.
Motive to rescue my family from abject poverty by doing some protests around the city and rebelling. (I own some essays from oscar wilde and today I read his essay on poverty. That the only way to defeat poverty and gain rights is to rebel. Charity is ineffective and so on, socialism doesn't solve the problem since you need supervision. Not to mention that sentimentality for poverty or corruption doesn't solve anything but by fixing the government. Appealing to the intellect is the worthier cause. For example to save just one poor man does not end poverty).
Objective: In short to let people discover the truth about the mayor or some power figure.
Actions taken to fulfill the objective: pretends he is corrupt in order to fake it and have a news reporter cover the case.
Motive: to incriminate the country.
Stakes: he risks his life.

Things turn from bad to worse as he fears for his life.
To continue corruption.(opposition)
Objective: Aims to destroy the mountain of evidence by burning the paperwork, and tempting corrupt officials to engage in criminal activity.
Motive: to become rich.
Stakes: money foremost but then also trust.
Continue for the rest of your cast of characters.
action: offers money to people in corrupt public institutions.


Follow this if you want as an example. There should be multiple actions for each objective or goal you construct.

As for opposition. I personally enjoy creating opposite objectives since that enables disagreements and so on which leads to conflict. This creates opposition. For each action there is a reaction. When writing the action as an outline do not mention the motivation or objective. The audience sees the reaction but does not know why the character behaves that way until the end. Not every character has the same motive. Each character takes an action to further their goal (multiple again).
 
Last edited:

luckyscars

WF Veterans
Hello everyone.

So, I live in a country where the level of corruption is very high. I have written a little something about this.

Sometimes, in English they say X makes Y look like Z! Now, I need something here which means very "honest" and scrupulous. I thought about using the name of a person who is the symbol of honesty and scrupulousness but I couldn't find a name.

Where I live corruption is rampant. It's on a level you just can't imagine. The corrupt figures here make your typical greedy megalomaniacs look like...
A lot of these corrupt folks steal money and grow fatter by the day while impoverished masses barely subsist. The country's economy is like a dead antelope with hyenas and vultures fighting over the bones and scraps. There exists a tenuous coexistence between abject poverty and unfair affluence but the ever-widening abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone soon.


Also, do you think the "abyss" part works? I mean saying that the abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone.

If you have suggestions on how I can make it better, I'd appreciate them.

The problem that sticks out to me is that you're not giving us any facts. Without facts, why should we care?

Here's the thing, 'corruption' is a seriously ambiguous term. Every organization, state and country has some level of it going on. When you say 'corruption is rampant', it simply doesn't mean anything on its own.

It's also, quite honestly, an abused term these days. People sling it around all over the place. Trump says Biden is corrupt. Biden says Trump is corrupt. Everyone except Trump says Putin is corrupt. Everyone especially Trump says Xi Jinping is corrupt. My Aunt Belinda on Facebook says Bill Gates is corrupt. I say Aunt Belinda is corrupt for calling people corrupt without evidence of their corruption. I say my wife is corrupt when she stops at Tim Horton's every morning for a cappuccino instead of drinking the perfectly good coffee we have at home... It's bloody corruption everywhere!

I know you're probably talking about Real Corruption, but I need to 'see it'. Without the details, to say 'my country is very corrupt' is no clearer than saying 'my country is very big'. Okay, but how big? In what sense big? Big compared to what?

You mention 'corrupt figures'. I don't know if you mean figures as in numbers or figures as in 'shadowy individuals' but, regardless, I want the details if I am to find this remotely interesting. I want citations. I want names. I want numbers. I want anecdotes of specific nefarious deeds.

To be clear, your fragment is written okay. It's certainly not bad English or anything. But I am struggling to see the purpose of it beyond a bit of a rant/exercise in rhetoric and, if you are trying for more, I urge you to focus less on the imagery of 'abyss' and antelopes' and more on the hard stuff.

Otherwise, the description you wrote could describe probably most countries. It could most certainly describe America.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I think he means to say that there are lots of taxes. I am from such a country. I won't mention which for personal and private reasons. Politicians need money to run for the presidency. The more corrupt the person is and with no qualifications the more ideal they are for the job. You deal with unscrupulous people, and they have to do corrupt acts to keep their job. This is just the tip of the iceberg. They privatize industries such as electricity when it was a public institution. In other words the state takes the money and sets a false sale to people they know and monopolize most of the electricity where we are from. The food or the basic needs of the people are high in costs (meat, produce such as rice and so on). Where I am from fish is very expensive even though we have a coast. The rights for fishing were sold to the Japanese. This repeats itself. The president could do what he wants. He sets up monopolies with lobbyists. There's more to but I think this is the level of corruption he might have referred to. But there is no way in knowing since you are right in that he was vague. Not to mention my psychiatrist couldn't land a position in the election for psychiatric academia president. Which meant the president at the time didn't care for poor people and their myriad and diverse needs. They take loans from the state to get elected as well. As of this writing we got a new president that is trying to arrest the previous president or presidents responsible for this.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Several of my novels include bits about the dangers of a totalitarian socialist government. I believe that ALL governments are corrupt on some level, some are just worse than others.

They're fun to write about.
 

alpacinoutd

Senior Member
I know you're probably talking about Real Corruption, but I need to 'see it'. Without the details, to say 'my country is very corrupt' is no clearer than saying 'my country is very big'. Okay, but how big? In what sense big? Big compared to what?

You mention 'corrupt figures'. I don't know if you mean figures as in numbers or figures as in 'shadowy individuals' but, regardless, I want the details if I am to find this remotely interesting. I want citations. I want names. I want numbers. I want anecdotes of specific nefarious deeds.

To be clear, your fragment is written okay. It's certainly not bad English or anything. But I am struggling to see the purpose of it beyond a bit of a rant/exercise in rhetoric and, if you are trying for more, I urge you to focus less on the imagery of 'abyss' and antelopes' and more on the hard stuff.

Otherwise, the description you wrote could describe probably most countries. It could most certainly describe America.

How can I help my reader "see" corruption?

If it's part of a novel, is it a good idea to use numbers and statistics?
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Hello everyone.

So, I live in a country where the level of corruption is very high. I have written a little something about this.

Sometimes, in English they say X makes Y look like Z! Now, I need something here which means very "honest" and scrupulous. I thought about using the name of a person who is the symbol of honesty and scrupulousness but I couldn't find a name.

Where I live corruption is rampant. It's on a level you just can't imagine. The corrupt figures here make your typical greedy megalomaniacs look like...
A lot of these corrupt folks steal money and grow fatter by the day while impoverished masses barely subsist. The country's economy is like a dead antelope with hyenas and vultures fighting over the bones and scraps. There exists a tenuous coexistence between abject poverty and unfair affluence but the ever-widening abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone soon.


Also, do you think the "abyss" part works? I mean saying that the abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone.

If you have suggestions on how I can make it better, I'd appreciate them.

I'd say something like: "The corrupt figures here make your typical greedy megalomaniacs look like Mother Theresa on a holy Sunday". Something kind of jokey, I guess. But it depends what you're writing for. An essay? An article? But something along those lines.

And yes, "abyss" seems appropriate here.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
Murdering people for money. Murdering people for inside information. Being complicit in acts of corruption by having corrupt people treat people such as judges as business associates. Have people throw money to the judge to win a case. Have them commit murders to people who are opposition leaders in protest movements such as reporters. Controlling newspapers by owning several of them. Treat drugs as a business. Release criminals by having a law system that allows them to roam free. These are all facts. They pay their political officials obscene amounts of money. Most of the people were poor before and in some cases have no education that pertains to the job they have. Example: a lawyer as secretary of education of the state. Steals people's money from taxes.
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Corruption is in the eye of the beholder and what one person views as corrupt another will see as a perk of the job. I'm in the UK. There was a time when a rich person might run over a poor person with his horse and carriage, and if he threw a fewe coins out to bury him and feed his family for a week, that would have been deemed sufficient. These days they have to pretend they have diplomatic immunity and spirit them away to their country of origin in case any punishment screws up trade deal negotiations. Corruption is there but the higher-ups have to work a bit harder at dressing it up, especially since the internet came on-stream.
 

luckyscars

WF Veterans
How can I help my reader "see" corruption?

If it's part of a novel, is it a good idea to use numbers and statistics?

If it's in a novel? No, probably not, it wasn't clear whether it was fiction or non-fiction.

It's the same principle, though. You need to show, not tell. I don't want to be told 'corruption is rampant', I want to make that judgment for myself by you exhibiting the problem and the scale of the problem.

How to do that in a novel? Anecdotes, maybe? Do you have any characters created? Rather than telling us what we should believe, make us believe it through creating a scene that illustrates it.

A lot of these corrupt folks steal money and grow fatter by the day while impoverished masses barely subsist.
becomes...

In the town square, an old man -- who had once been a schoolteacher, so they said -- now lay starving, mad, and half-blind outside of the Government Welfare Office, a beautiful ornate building of white marble, the high-fenced parking lot filled with expensive German cars...

Show, don't tell.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
How can I help my reader "see" corruption?

If it's part of a novel, is it a good idea to use numbers and statistics?

I would never present a spreadsheet to my readers.

In my current work, I have two main characters: one is inside an oppressive government, she's vying for more power and hates the plebs, the second is an assassin that works for the forces that opposes the government. Both have arcs that will move them out of their comfort zones.

Showing a corrupt state is best done (IMO) by letting the reader see and experience it through the eyes of your characters.
 

alpacinoutd

Senior Member
If it's in a novel? No, probably not, it wasn't clear whether it was fiction or non-fiction.

It's the same principle, though. You need to show, not tell. I don't want to be told 'corruption is rampant', I want to make that judgment for myself by you exhibiting the problem and the scale of the problem.

How to do that in a novel? Anecdotes, maybe? Do you have any characters created? Rather than telling us what we should believe, make us believe it through creating a scene that illustrates it.

becomes...

Show, don't tell.

Thanks. I get it now.
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
I recommend heather sellers creative writing book if you are not sure of your descriptive skills or English. She says that everything in description should be like a moving image. Imagine someone parking a car. That is all that matters in description. You record a list of 25 moving images, and you will be able to show rather than tell.


https://www.amazon.com/dp/1319215955/?tag=writingforu06-20

I own the previous version which is good for creative writing. A lot of writers in goodreads comment on how it helped them describe better.

I recommend it without reservation. They updated the file. I am going to use the exercises and advice to improve my description.
 

ladygarmadone17

Senior Member
Is there a find on b&n or alibris for that same book maybe?

I don’t personally trust or even like Amazon, its run by a corrupted third-party-esque-money-grubbing-criminal-that-should-be-imprisoned-but-oh-hell-no,-that-would-be-too-easy-a-solution-kinda-guy. You know, that horrid felony making moneybagger man known as George SORROS, and he’s making America exactly what y’all stated about your own living spaces in this said forum thread.

Just thinking of how Disney runs their employees, and how they acquired such powerful monopolies, in a given two years, should be enough of an example, on how you should write about corruption in much more understandable terms. Then again, it’s a very broad topic so what do I know!? [emoji23][emoji2356]
 

Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
There's got to be one in one of those online book stores. I own the before last version. I can't say whether the other version (the last one) is an improvement. I own like I said a different version. There is an amazon preview in the table of contents. Look at it if you are interested.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
Very good writing. It's very visual for me, which is the type of thing I prefer to read.

Someone else said Mother Theresa, which as they mentioned would give it a touch of humour. If you don't want humour try these:

Where I live corruption is rampant. It's on a level you just can't imagine. The corrupt figures here make your typical greedy megalomaniacs look like upright citizens. (or, Nelson Mandela)
A lot of these corrupt folks steal money and grow fatter by the day while impoverished masses barely subsist. The country's economy is like a dead antelope with hyenas and vultures fighting over the bones and scraps. There exists a tenuous coexistence between abject poverty and unfair affluence but the ever-widening abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone soon.


Also, do you think the "abyss" part works? I mean saying that the abyss between the rich and the poor might swallow everyone.

If you have suggestions on how I can make it better, I'd appreciate them.

I like the word abyss, but I'm confused by why it would "swallow everyone". And then because I'm visual, I'm trying to imagine where they would go. What about:

...but the ever-widening abyss between the rich and the poor has diverged any path to justice. (or morality, or some other strong word that describes a better world.)
 

alpacinoutd

Senior Member
Very good writing. It's very visual for me, which is the type of thing I prefer to read.

Someone else said Mother Theresa, which as they mentioned would give it a touch of humour. If you don't want humour try these:



I like the word abyss, but I'm confused by why it would "swallow everyone". And then because I'm visual, I'm trying to imagine where they would go. What about:

...but the ever-widening abyss between the rich and the poor has diverged any path to justice. (or morality, or some other strong word that describes a better world.)

You got me thinking about abyss. Can't abyss swallow? I mean it sort of is like a black hole, isn't it?

Can chasm swallow?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top