Critic Schmitic

In catching up on my fellow WARA writers blogs, I found my soul resonating with Pat’s. I have many reasons for why I write, but reading badly written books is a real motivator.

I just finished a small historical romance. It took me three days. Normally, I can do it in three hours. This one was sadly lacking a few things. You may wonder, why continue reading it? Because I’m one of those goofy people who always thinks it will get better. I must be an optimist. Movies, books, you name it. If I start it, I finish it. Stupid way to be, but that’s what I do.

This particular book turned out to be ninety percent history and ten percent story. The history was a nice refresher, but I didn’t pull it off my shelf for that reason. I wanted swept up in the romance amidst danger. I wanted to get lost in a more exciting and intriguing world than my own. It didn’t happen.

The ending made me slightly bonkers. The hero suddenly quit being a spy in the middle of the Revolutionary War. No explanation. No hint of how he managed to extricate himself from the British army without someone noticing. No nothing. He shows up at the heroine’s house and supposedly explains everything to her father. I say supposedly because the reader is left in the dark. At least this reader didn’t get it. I can only assume the author had used her allotted word count. Story ended, readers unhappy, but book ended with the right number of pages. Aacckk!

I couldn’t decide whether to throw it away or push it off on some other unsuspecting sucker. Since I abhor throwing books away, I opted to pass it on to my mother, complete with ample warning. Let her throw it away J

The oft-found inconsistencies in books and movies have always made me crazy. I would run to whoever had the bad luck to be near by and rant about whatever idiotic thing I just saw or read. I have to wonder if all my ranting will come back to bite me when my books get published. Writing is hard work. There are hundreds of details to remember. I can see how things can slip through the cracks. I’m sure I’ll make mistakes along the way.

Little boo boos are one thing. A complete loss of coherency or logic is another. I can never decide if the writer had brain freeze or the editors neglected to read the story before they chopped it up. Either way, poorly written stories are a good motivation to write. As long as you produce something better. But, that will be for your readers to decide J


Pat Davids said...

Becky, I agree whole-heartedly. A poorly written story can make you crazy. I have only walked out of one movie, but I have left a lot of books unfinished.

Rox Delaney said...

I recently read a YA, after reading the comments on Amazon, knowing in advance that there were problems with the writing. The story was good. Cute, in fact. But the author had a few spelling problems, and, even worse, her punctuation and sentence skills were really lacking.

For instance:
"Lets go in there." She said.

I have absolutely nothing against indie/self-publishing. I've read several good ones. But this particular author badly needed a proofreader or editor. Reading the book would have been more enjoyable, if the author's writing skills--taught in grade school and beyond--had been better. I DID finish reading the book.

Becky A said...

Pat, I wish I could put bad books down easily. I think I've quit on maybe 2-3 in my life. They were on the, way beyond horrible, list. Makes you wonder how they were published in the first place. Maybe you can teach me how to, just say no!

Becky A said...

Rox, while I dislike spelling and obvious grammar issues, if the story is good, I can live with it. It's the missing pertinent information, total loss of reality, or absentee logic that make me nuts. Stories should go from A to Z, not A to K, skip L through O and end on X, without an explanation. I'm no Spock, but my brain does recognize pieces big enough to drive a car through. Okay, enough whining. Thanks for your comment.

Joan Vincent said...

Badly written Regencies, really badly written ones, are why I started writing way back when. As you say they are a heck of a motivator.