Like most writers, I am a fanatical reader.
I’m also a picky reader.
One of the worst things for a reader like myself to get is a book that’s just not up to par. The plot is weak. The characters aren’t likeable or are sadly underdeveloped. There is too much “purple.”
I really hate it when I get a book by an author I LOVE and it stinks – especially if I paid full price for it while awaiting its arrival anxiously from Amazon.com.
I finished a particularly bad book recently and wondered, Is reading this crap going to make me write crap?
After all, you must read your genre. You need to see what’s out there. If you put good stuff in the brain, good stuff should come out, right? So wouldn’t the same go for the bad stuff?
Not necessarily. One of the key lessons I’ve learned by reading really bad fiction is what not to do to my readers. Bad writing gives me a great checks and balances list for my finished product.
- Is the plot fully developed?
- Does the reader care about this book after the first third?
- Are the characters developed? Where can they be more fully developed?
- Is there enough conflict to keep the book going?
- How does this fit with my genre?
- What’s the objective of the book? Did I achieve the objective?
The list goes on and on, and continues to grow as more books that fail to keep me glued to my seat until I finish come my way.
Reading bad writing isn’t a waste of time. It’s a great way to check your own work for those annoying little things that keep readers from buying your work again.0