To you, personally, when it comes to bad or good writing, what are your thoughts and opinions?

Personally, what do you consider bad writing? What do you personally consider good writing?

What is writing that is so bad it is pretty good versus writing that is so bad it is just plain bad?

Lend me your own thoughts and opinions on the matter!

Bonus Questions:
1.How do you determine when an author had their lucky break in writing versus when they stumbles quite a bit?
2.Have you ever read a book where the writing wasn’t too cliche or tropey, but it still left you unable to continue the book?
3.Has a published author wrote a a series that you instantly enjoyed, then the same author wrote another different series that you instantly did not vibe with/like at all?
4.What are some common things in published novels when it comes to writing based on the genre, that immediately pulls you from getting immersed in the story?
5.When writing your own stories from reading so many good or bad fiction, which stories do you take from in terms of how to get better at the craft and what not to do for your own novels?


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If it’s good writing, I can read it and it makes sense. If it’s bad writing, I can’t read it and it doesn’t make sense. There are also other factors like plot and language but that’s the general gist

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Bad writing is arrogance beyond it’s level. Someone who writes their base fantasies is playing D&D and the like in a tell-all book. But you can write this as a fun romp, without pretention. That’s what saves an amateur novel. But if you put aside that fun to add to it pretenses of grandeur and you don’t have the chops for grandeur, then it’s badly written. But it doesn’t have to be this exact matchup: like this one: a 13 year old kid writing sex scenes.

I’ve got a very low threshold: make it enjoyable, and anything else is forgiven.

I see me as the litmus test on this. I’ll give a direct example:

A crow circled the scene overhead, as many of the magpies had been since they directed him on his path back to the hut. It flitted closer to him. “May I land, M’Lord?”

“As long as you shitteth not? Sure.” Olbrecht felt completely uneasy the longer he stared at the fence.

This story is not written in KJV English, the language rarely touches on old style speech, and I just dusted off an archaic word form to get a little mideval from out of nowhere.

Why? It’s done as a form of humor. Regular speech until suddenly going formal to be crude as hell. When reading this to my husband it caught him off guard so badly that he actually laughed out loud. It’s a real good trick to use that generally is going to be seen as badly done.

So, the threshold for doing something badly is to invoke a reaction from the reader that the author feels necessary. Most the time when this is done, it’s done, at most, for going “oh, I need to make this feel old!” No, just no, not unless you’re damned good at it, stick to what you understand please.

That would require more than 1 book to determine.

More like mistroped. There’s a trend in modern romances where women can yell and berate a dude lower than dog pee and still get together with him. I saw something like that in a Regency. That doesn’t work. If you trope, genre trope modestly.

Piers Anthony. I hate his science fiction and love his fantasy.

Turgid nipples. When you’re writing smut, you need to make sure the words used are appealing to the audience. The thesaurus is NOT your friend.

I learn more from my negative reactions. I emulate more from specific authors that appeal to me.

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To me, bad and good writing is determined based on storyline, characters, themes, grammar, and more.

A good book usually has the following:

  • Details that immerse the reader without confusion, redundancy, and with the proper use of showing vs. telling. There should also be a collection of relevant details when describing something (specifically characters or what something looks like). For example, readers don’t need to know every single thing in a room unless that something is important to understanding the character or if it’s used. Also, details should only include what your character knows, so if your character isn’t good at estimating measurements, they shouldn’t be describing their crush as 6’11 unless they’ve personally been told such a thing or you’re narrator is omniscient.

  • Dialogue sounds natural, as if it is a real conversation people are having. This should also include slang or accents that said characters use.

  • Each scene is relevant to the story and continues the character’s journey. This leans into filler scenes or chapters and takes up too much space. Get to the point.

  • If a story bounces from character to character, the voices are different. But even if it’s told in a singular perspective, the voice should be natural sounding and—if your character is supposed to be different from you—different from your own.

  • And finally, though probably not the actual final thing, the story shouldn’t include many grammar, spelling, or punctuation issues. The first few drafts are fine to have such things, but when looking beyond a first or second draft, these should be easier fixes along the way.

With some writers, I have done a bit of research on them or know of them through social media and at that point, I usually know if they got lucky. Christine Riccio, for example, is a lucky author. The first book she was able to get published was the first book she ever wrote (which most agents say trying to publish your first ever book is a red flag because you’re not skilled enough yet). Plus, she was able to get it published after three years—like, from the time she started writing it to the time it hit shelves was three years. And to many, that’s not an easy feat. When I went to read it (which it’s called Again, but Better), it definitely read like a first novel to me. Not a first draft, but definitely something that wasn’t ready yet. You could easily tell she still needed tweaking here and there.

But with others, particularly authors I don’t have a clue of, I usually know from the start because their writing immerses me instantly. V. E Schwab’s Vicious, Courtney Summer’s Sadie, and A. K. Mulford’s High Mountain Court are just a few examples. You can definitely tell they’ve been writing for a while.

Yes. Many times.

Oh, of course! Veronica Roth is a perfect example of this. Absolutely adored the Divergent trilogy but when I picked up Carve the Mark I seriously couldn’t get into it. I was so confused on so many levels.

Annoying main characters, narrators (usually the main character if written in first person or third limited) sounding too sophisticated or being too childish (like if they constantly make bad decisions even when they know not to), cliched or overused tropes.

I usually mimic the good stories or whatever is good within the novel. As for the bad ones, I avoid doing whatever possible to make it that bad or I use it as inspiration fuel to figure out what I can do to not make it crappy.

For example, I wasn’t a fan of the Cabin by Natasha Preston, but it actually made me want to write a murder mystery with similar themes. There were a few things I hated that made the novel horrible, and that was:

  • You weren’t at a cabin for very long.
  • The killer was obvious.
  • The killer’s motive was silly.
  • There was insta-love, and it included a random stranger who the character knew nothing about.

What I did to change this:

  • My novel took place at the cabin for the entirety of the story.
  • I tried to not make it look obvious. I probably bombed this, though.
  • The motive wasn’t silly, though I might’ve bombed this, too. I tried to make it meaningful.
  • There was no insta-love. There wasn’t much romance, but whatever romance there was, it was with the MC’s best friend who he had a major crush on.

Forgive me, I honestly was expecting you to show that newest Kate Cavannaugh video discussing this very topic.

Thank goodness, I said nothing about it and nothing happened.


I haven’t watched it yet, though I’m sure I’ll have better notes when I do. :rofl:


It’s over an hour long and if you have the time, give it a shot.

:grin: :+1: