I have to say that in my opinion, I don’t really think there is an answer to such a question.
What is considered good writing?
Is it the number of 5 star reviews you have? The number of fans you have? Is it the number of copies your books have sold? The number of years you’ve been writing? Is it when someone tells you it’s good writing? Who is this someone? Who decides what is good and bad? And, why are they more qualified over another?
See for me, I really don’t think there is an answer to that question. Why? Well, because not only are book subjective, but a writer’s voice is subjective, too. What some people love, others hate, and when you have that type of a situation, who is to say the author is a bad writer or a good writer?
No one. It’s all just a matter of personal preference.
At least that’s my opinion.
Recently, I saw an article about how Fifty Shades of Grey, Author E.L. James is planning on writing and publishing a writing guide for writers. A how-to book, if you will, about how one should write a novel, and it’s got some people scratching their heads and speaking out against it very publicly.
It’s no secret that her novels, well um, have been deemed, um, not very well written. Of course, she’s gone on record saying, “Well, 70 million people don’t agree with that statement.” I guess I can’t really say too much about that; however, I do know people who have read the books, enjoyed them, but still said they were poorly written. So really, just because someone bought the book doesn’t mean they didn’t think the writing was bad.
Of course, even with that said, it still doesn’t negate the fact that, once again, what some people love, others hate. Sure, she was slammed for bad writing, sure everyone I’ve talked to has echoed such fact, but sure, there are people who really don’t think the writing was bad at all. I know, I’ve met a couple of them.
So, the question on the table is this—should she, having the reputation she does, be writing and publishing a novel geared toward beginners on how to write a novel?
If no, why? And, if yes, why?
Personally, I didn’t get past page 2 in the first 50 Shades novel before I calmly set the book down and walked away from it forever. I knew that if I continued, I would inevidibly throw the book across the room as I did with The Hunger Games. Yes, you read that right. I threw The Hunger Games across the room.
Why? Well, that’s my little secret. I’ve always taken the stance of zipping my lip when it comes to talking about someone else’s writing. I never want to be that author (*cough* Stephen King *cough*) to publicly rip apart another author. So with that, all I will say is this—the books just weren’t my taste.
Just as 50 Shades weren’t.
So with this in mind, I, for one, won’t be purchasing her Writing Guide. Do I think she is qualified to write such a novel? My answer could go either way; however, bottom line is I don’t really care if she does or not. Because, her doing so, isn’t going to affect me at all.
So darling followers, what do you think of Mrs. James writing a how to write novel?
3 thoughts on “What is Considered “Good Writing”? #writing #amwriting #writerproblems #writertips”
Didn’t read Hunger games or Fifty Shades, so I couldn’t say how I feel about the writing. However, I heard that Hunger Games is written in the present tense, and I cannot bear to read present tense stories, so I didn’t bother. I don’t know why, but like you said, it’s just not my taste (present tense). I also don’t like to read smut, so that’s why I opted out of Fifty Shades.
So, I agree with you that good writing is a matter of opinion. I had one editor rip my writing to shreds. She said bad things about certain parts of my novel that another editor picked out as well done in my novel. Opinion.
On the other hand, I had people join my writer’s critique group who had already uploaded their novels to Amazon without getting any help (editing, betas, critiques). They showed us their novels AFTER they published them, and OMG, there was no way I could follow it with the passives and jumps in pov. There are basics that people should follow for the reader to be able to follow the storyline and know what’s actually going on.
That’s my humble opinion. 😛 Thanks for this great discussion topic, Angela.
Yep, all those “I say” for tag lines in the Hunger Games is what got me. Plus, a bunch of other stuff I won’t mention. lol. People think writing is as easy as sitting in front of the computer for a few months, uploading it to Amazon, and sitting back while the stacks of money come in. It just doesn’t work that way. But, oh well. Each of us have to live and learn, I guess. It’s sad that it saturates the market for people who put time and effort in, but just like with everything bad apples tend to ruin the bunch every now and then. Thanks for stopping by! I hope the packing and plans are going okay!! 🙂
I read the sample chapters of Fifty Shades of Grey and I thought it was awfully written. I did personally enjoy Hunger Games because the first few pages drew me in. I laughed at the image of you throwing it across the room. It does go to show how subjective good and bad writing is, though it worries me a little that Mrs. James is writing a how to write book. >.< It's very cool of you not to slam other writers on your blog. That is my aim, too. Just because we dislike a book, it doesn't mean we have to go and slander a writer. It's writer respect. Good post! 🙂
And for the record, I think you are a great writer. You have a great way of drawing me in to your stories!