On Writing

I thought of this because I just finished one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

I won’t tell you the name.  What’s sad is that the story had such great potential.

Spelling errors?  A ‘ewe longbow’; I assume ‘yew’.  A ‘heard of’ some kind of animal.  ‘He’ for ‘the’ (this one was pretty frequent).  ‘Passed’ for ‘past’.  And that’s only a tiny sampling, not to mention, many of them would have been caught by a spell checker.  The author hadn’t even bothered to do that much.

Half sentences drive me nuts.  These are along the lines of:  “He sat down.  On the chair.”  Dude, that’s ONE SENTENCE.

Overuse of adjectives.  For the love of Pete (whoever that may be), here’s one example, and it’s not verbatim, because I don’t have it in front of me, but it was something like “a shapely, long, white razor sharp fang”.  Seriously, man?  A fang.  A long fang.  A white fang.  Shapely is kind of pushing it, but that many adjectives is pure overkill.

Every chapter opened with some poorly written blurb from a legend (this book was blatantly taken from Dungeons & Dragons, yet I’m pretty sure it was not endorsed by WotC).  Font for the book?  Maybe 10 or 11.  Font for this opening blurb?  Fucking 48, maybe even 76, as in 6 words to a page and eyes screaming in pain afterward.

Numbers.  Constant numbers.  There is a rule of thumb that escapes me right now but it’s like any number under 10, just spell it out, as in ‘three’ vs ‘3’.  There were so many numbers I thought I was doing a sodoku puzzle.  I bet I spelled that wrong, but I avoid anything remotely mathlike.

Apostrophes, capitalization, commas….all completely random.  Hey, this needs some sharp-looking little punctuation thingy here, so let’s throw in a comma!

Hey, we’re human.  We make mistakes.  And some of these oddities, in moderation, can make for an interesting writing style.  It’s generally not enough to put me off.  But this book sort of put me in mind of Gordon Ramsay.  He’s always talking about passion.  If you don’t enjoy cooking, it shows.  Maybe this isn’t related to enjoyment, but if you’re writing for yourself, don’t put it out there for everyone.  Show some care for what you do.  You want to share your character and your story?  Make it legible.  Don’t make us struggle to even get through it.

This was like bad fan fiction (and bad as in technically; as I said at first, the story had such potential) just thrown up for the author’s ego.  And it made me really sad.  If I get that sloppy, someone please tell me.

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