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Old 02-26-2013, 09:53 PM   #16
JSWolf
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Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
I sometimes wonder if there is a correlation between the two, but that issue is certainly debatable.



Don
Sometimes the cover is what makes the first impression. We don't then go on to read the description. We do judge a book by it's cover.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:54 PM   #17
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Not necessarily. Baen is legendary for their bad covers, but have some excellent writers.
I'm not talking BAEN bad. I'm talking Amazon self-published worse.
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Old 02-26-2013, 09:59 PM   #18
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A great many people bought and enjoyed the book, so the author must be doing something right. If they enjoyed the book, how can they be "suckers"? If they bought it, and felt ripped off, that would be one thing, but many people really enjoy it.
And a lot of people bought at least the first book to find out what it's about and didn't like it.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:57 PM   #19
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There's a lot of self-delusion. Self-anointed writers too often seem to focus on marketing, rather than on honing their writing skills.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:26 AM   #20
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One of the reasons I now stick to bargain and free books (unless it's a known author who's work I have previously enjoyed) is that I'm sick of shelling out my hard-earned money for drivel. Getting my first Kindle opened up a whole new world of books for me, and while I was overjoyed to have access to so many more books, I was stunned by how many of them are complete garbage. The good ones were so few and far between that I made a collection titled "Authors to read more". Out of the hundreds of books that I've read in the last 3 years, there are about 50 books in that collection.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Do these books with the really awful covers contain writing that is just as bad?
Sometimes.

I've seen self-released (but previously commercially published) stories of fairly decent quality with horrid covers, because it uses stock photos/bad quality pics of public domain artwork and bad fonts.

Now let's talk THE EYE OF ARGON.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:46 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Joykins View Post
Now let's talk THE EYE OF ARGON.
Wonderful!

It's interesting that in the linked article about an interview with the author, there's speculation that most of the spelling and punctuation errors were actually introduced by whoever typed the stencils for the fanzine where it originally appeared.

Young Jim Theis must bear responsibility, of course, for the tortuous, mangled, yet oddly irresistible prose!

Graham

Last edited by Graham; 02-27-2013 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:01 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by CWatkinsNash View Post
Oh, how can I say this delicately? I can't.

Poor writing is not only abundant, it is a situation made worse by enablers. Yes! Enablers! I'm pointing directly at the people who read a self-published book and judge it by different standards as though the author should somehow be excused just because they did it all by themselves.

"Sure, there were a lot of mistakes, grammar and spelling problems, and the part with the dog didn't make much sense, but the story was really good! Five stars!!"

STOP IT! People give Stephen King 3 stars because his book is too damn long, but we give an indie 5 stars for crappy writing? This is insane!

I saw a writer proclaim that he saw no need to pay a cent during the self-publishing process for editing or anything else. I made note of his name, then hoped, for his sake, that he has some capable friends that will do the job for free.

I am a writer. I am not yet able to call myself an author. That time may be years away. In the meantime, I make use of places where authors and other writers hang out, such as the subforum here, and some groups on Goodreads. I constantly see authors asking, "Why can't I get reviews? Why is my book not selling?"

The question they should be asking is, "Do I suck at writing?" If the answer is "No", then proceed to other possible problems but, for the love of all that is good, get an answer to that question!

I have a sick hobby. When I see people repeatedly expressing bafflement over lack of sales, I go look at a sample of their books. 90% of the time, there are major issues in the sample. However, if I were to actually point that out, I'd be chased right off the internet. I don't want to be mean, anyway, so I don't know how to constructively address this on an individual level.

I don't even know yet myself if what I write is good enough, but you can be damn sure I'm going to get some kind of a consensus on that before I put it up for sale alongside people that actually CAN write.

/rant
If you think it's bad with books you 'd never again retrieve your jaw after it dropped - were you looking at RPGs instead.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:09 AM   #24
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This entire thread can be summed up in one sentence:

"90% of everything is crap."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon's_Law

(Sturgeon was an optomist. Far more than 90% of everything is crap.)

What's next? A thread on the Ugly Truth of routine weather? The crappy drive to work? That the only two unavoiable things in life are death and taxes?
It reminds me of a quote (I think from Hemingway) about a writer needing a built in **** detector. Books are never written. They are re-written. I've seen some very badly written fanfictions online that had the wrong form of a word (ie. "he lead the group" as opposed to the correct "he led the group" and other such mistakes. Professional newspaper writers aren't above screwing up either. Not that long ago there was a story linked to via another message board I'm on where a woman cut off her husband's gentiles of all things. The writer meant genitles but instead wrote gentiles which is a whole different word entirely. Both are valid words but apparently the writer relied on spell check rather than doing a read through to check that all was ok. I think that spell check just makes us lazy. I mean it does have its uses but all it can tell the writer is if they have spelled the word right, not if it's the right word in the first place. To be fair as far as some of the fan fictions I've read sometimes English isn't the writer's first language so you have to give a little latitude if they don't have a beta who is fluent in the language, but others are sometimes just as bad.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:14 AM   #25
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Does that mean that people who enjoyed the Greatest Show on Earth weren't?

I suppose they did get what they paid for, but Barnum still saw them as suckers.
Ah but he wasn't talking about his circus at that point (assuming he did in fact say it) I don't think. One thing he did was to put a sign above a doorway in his museum that read "This way to the Egress." Egress of course is a fancy word for Exit. And he had a supposed mermaid and other alleged curiosities in the museum that people fell for too. If he did in fact say it I think that what he meant is that people are gullible. Give them the right circumstances and they'll believe almost anything you tell them.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:18 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Graham View Post
Wonderful!

It's interesting that in the linked article about an interview with the author, there's speculation that most of the spelling and punctuation errors were actually introduced by whoever typed the stencils for the fanzine where it originally appeared.

Young Jim Theis must bear responsibility, of course, for the tortuous, mangled, yet oddly-irresistible prose!

Graham
One book that has had it's share of remarks as far as problems with its text is LOTR. It seems to have had a good many errors in transcription for the text over the years and right into ebook copy.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:21 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Joykins View Post
Now let's talk THE EYE OF ARGON.
Do we have to? Here are the first 2 sentences:

Quote:
The weather beaten trail wound ahead into the dust racked climes of the baren land which dominates large portions of the Norgolian empire. Age worn hoof prints smothered by the sifting sands of time shone dully against the dust splattered crust of earth.
Riddled with errors that only a being who can't read or understand English could be willing to suffer through.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:56 AM   #28
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Fantastic thread.

Bad writing is, of course, the downside of the e-publishing revolution. The demise of the rejection slip has left the culling process in the hands of the consumers and the largely amateur critics and reviewers. There seems to be no incentive for the new publishers to reject writing, bad or not, on anything but technical grounds which would require intervention and hence expense to get the ebook published. In fact, the incentive seems to be the other way. The more ebooks published the more money to be made by the publishers.

I don't mourn the old system. Over the last few years I have read a lot of indie authors who would never have seen the light of day under that old system. A small minority have been absolutely appalling, a majority mediocre, some quite good, and another small minority first rate. Sometimes I do despair when going from a mediocre indie novel to a first rate established novelist, but I remind myself that there have always been many mediocre novels published, and even the odd terrible one. There are just more of them now.

As readers we must recognise this new environment in which we now read and take what steps we are ourselves comfortable with in deciding what to read. Some may simply choose to stick to traditional publishers and/or established authors. Reliance on reviewers and critics and friends can also be helpful, but one must also remember that one person's great novel is another person's trash. Reading samples can be helpful, but like movie trailers, the selections may well not be random. Perhaps sellers or even authors themselves may start identifying whether they have used editors etc to assist with their work. And perhaps some publishers will emerge who market the fact that they are selective and publish only quality works.

And finally, what discussion of bad writing can be complete without a reference to that immortal poem, "The Tay Bridge Disaster". Enjoy.

http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/...ridge-disaster
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:20 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Joykins View Post
Now let's talk THE EYE OF ARGON.
Oh dear!

Quote:
The enthused barbarian swilveled about, his shock of fiery red hair tossing robustly in the humid air currents as he faced the attack of the defeated soldier's fellow in arms.
I get quite a few requests for a read/review on my site. Actually most of the samples are not that bad. I have to reject many many more than I accept so it makes the selection criteria a little more difficult than it would be had all the authors written ridiculous prose.

But if I find a sample that is written in the key of clunk, out it goes.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:04 AM   #30
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Now let's talk THE EYE OF ARGON.
This is so bad, am confused as to whether it is meant in earnest or is a parody...

Dr. Drib started this thread by giving some examples of bad writing, so here's one from Twilight:

"Aro started to laugh. "Ha, ha, ha," he chuckled."

Talk about redundancy...Meyer has told us three times in one short sentence that Aro was amused. Not a book I'm about to read, but my 12 yo daughter enjoyed the series for a bit, then got bored with it.
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