A woodworker takes his time, plane to wood, he gingerly taps a groove into the grain, sands it a little and then does it again. Each swirl in the design, each joint, has to be perfect in order for the piece to come out properly, to balance on its own. And to sell. I mean, let’s face it, you’re not going to buy a table that leans to the left or with missing pieces. So, why would you demand less from the authors you read? Authors, why would you give less to your readers?
Over the past few days, I’ve been watching a few threads over social media and it saddened me to realize how many people do not view writing as a serious craft––even those who call themselves authors. They were making excuses for poor grammar, missing words, and, well, just plain sloppy writing. “If the story is good, I don’t care how poorly the book is written” or “I’ve seen traditionally published authors with mistakes in their books.” So have I and if it’s a gross error or too many, then I scrap the series. I can live with one or two minor mistakes. However, when they appear on every page, it’s just too much.
I’m currently fighting my way through a book because I told someone I would read it. Yet, I’m about to toss in the towel. The writing is immature, the characters childish and stiff, and it’s more like reading bad porn than a solid romance. The sad part is, when I checked out the reviews of the book, this author received almost all five stars. I didn’t get it. I even gave the books to the girls to read and they gave up. They couldn’t muddle through the bad prose and unbelievable dialogue. The storyline could be awesome, but I cannot pull myself past the poor writing to tell. Furthermore, I will not believe any of those who gave it five stars when I see their name on another review, even mine.
Yes, the writing matters. This author will never grow as a writer if they only hear false praise from people who are afraid to tell them the truth. Writing is a craft like any other. You don’t listen to poor music, so don’t read inferior books. Demand better quality. Leave full, honest reviews and don’t blow smoke up the author’s skirt––or pants. If you love the story, great. Say that. However, also tell them where they need work. Base your stars on the entirety of the novel and not just whether you made it through it or not. Don’t be afraid to give less than a five-star review, because the author will––or should––appreciate your honesty, because they desire to become a better writer.
Writers, give better quality. Write like crazy on that first draft, but then edit, revise, edit, and then do it all again. Read your manuscript out loud. Mark it up with red ink. Have others mark it up with red ink. Cut words, cut scenes, perhaps cut characters, Be willing to axe away at it until it’s the best possible manuscript you can deliver and then and only then share it with the world. Read. Study. And then write. Your readers deserve your best, not your quickest. You deserve to be able to grow. Don’t rush to tell your story and you’ll be able to tell a better tale. In the end, everyone comes out a winner.
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Until next time, keep chasing your fantasies!