Booking Through Thursday — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Suggested by Barbara:

I’ve seen many bloggers say that what draws them to certain books or authors is good writing, and what causes them to stop reading a certain book or author is bad writing. What constitutes good writing and bad writing to you?

In most cases, this is a really subjective thing. Even if you have two people who love the same book, odds are they’ll probably have different reasons for liking it.

And what I think is good writing and what appeals to me may not appeal to someone else. I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy books, which I know aren’t always looked upon in the best light by scholars who teach courses in literature. But I can honestly say there are some books in that genre that I’ve enjoyed more or I’ve got something more out of than one of the “accepted” classics. Does that make my experience more or less valid than the ones by the scholars? I don’t think so. It just makes it different. I think what we have to look at is how rewarding the reading experience is and can be for someone.

However, while good writing can be subjective, there are still some things that I want out of a book. I want it to be well edited and I’d prefer the author follow most of the rules of grammar (unless it’s something like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” where not following all the accepting rules of grammar is part of the perspective of the story). I also like to see the author be allowed to tell his or her story in the time he or she deems necessary, not based on the dictates of page count or a publishing contract. I see this far too often these days in series, where the author has a good idea for one or two books, but it gets stretched out to six to ten novels with a whole lot of unnecessary filler. Or on the other hand, you’ve got a good story that abruptly ends because the page count was getting too high. A story should be allowed to run its length–no more, no less.

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4 Comments

Filed under Booking Through Thursday, meme

4 responses to “Booking Through Thursday — The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

  1. Bad editing is something I cannot get over. I had a copy of The Godfather that was riddled with repeated words (like “the the”) and bad spelling that hadn’t been picked up by the proofreaders. I had to get hold of a different edition to finish it as the story was so great.

    Here’s mine: http://wp.me/sFyoG-1437

  2. You brought out some good points that I think cover different genres or tastes, though I do agree that some perspectives of what is good or bad writing will vary with genre or reader.

  3. Good writing is not boring, and peaks your interest, throughout the book.

    Bad writing is when a book doesn’t have substance & doesn’t appeal to the reader in many ways.

  4. Good points. You can read my answer here. I don’t really consider writing itself to be subjective… but then, I don’t really consider the story or the characters to be part of the writing. I guess I looked at the question from a much more technical point of view.

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