Thursday, July 27, 2023

Bad Published Writing

Sometimes bad writing gets published. I'm not talking self-published or even small-press published, but New York, big name publisher published.

Back in January of 2005, I was in Reagan International Airport getting ready to fly home. (Well, close to home. No airline service where I live.)

I must have run out of things to read because I bought a book in one of those airport shops. It was a Dale Brown book. Don't ask me which one, he's written hundreds, it appears.

I was reading the book on the airplane, and a couple of times at least I wanted to throw it across the aisles. The writing was that poor (I can't now think of any specific passages that were so bad). At one point I didn't know if he was talking about a person, or a pair of boots. And here Dale Brown has hundreds of New York published books. He's probably made millions of dollars. And his writing is... mediocre. I can't think of any more specific examples anymore (hell, it's been 18 years). I just remember getting angry because I knew I could write better than he and I wasn't (and still am not) New York published.

It wasn't typos. Those are getting more common as the New York publishers lay off their editors to save money. For example, I was reading one of Tom Clancy's last books before he died and there was a "Fort Taurus" in it (should be "Ford"). Or, I've been told, that in the first Twilight book, there are "dust moats in the air." I'm the typo king so I'm a bit more forgiving about those.

But bad writing shouldn't make it past what editors are left. 

Have you experience bad writing in books you've read? How did it make you feel? Let me know in the comments below.

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