I have a friend who often asks me questions about my writing. (I love it! What writer doesn’t love to talk about their writing?) And recently she asked me this question:
What makes someone’s writing bad?
Well it’s a tricky question, partly because there isn’t a book on this planet that hasn’t fallen under some kind of criticism. Writing is so subjective. What one person may love another can quickly trash. I try to keep an open mind with all book, understanding that for most published books out there, there is an audience that will love it. But here are a few things I feel equate to “bad” writing.
Poor grammar. It’s the most basic of things but it’s hard to focus on the story when there are so many grammatical errors or typos.
Weak characters. I’m one of those who feels strongly about character development. If I don’t feel a connection to the character, I have no interest in the story. Great characterization is something that is often rather subtle, but the next time you find yourself really caring about your fictional friends, or thinking about them beyond the pages of a book, pause and think about what the writer did to make you feel that way. (Maybe we’ll do a separate post for that!)
Pacing either too slow or too fast. Some moments need to be drawn out and others need to shrink down to a single sentence. A good writer know when to do what and when.
Flat writing, no style or “voice”.
The story just sucks. I’ve mentioned before that sometimes beautifully crafted writing doesn’t always translate to a great story.