Sloppy Novel Writing

Sloppy Novel Writing

A Reading Writer Observation

DNFs

Before I became a book blogger, I never had a DNF (did not finish), not the kind where you know you will never, ever come back to a book. I would put one aside, thinking that I just wasn’t in the mood for it but having every intention of reading it in the future. (There are probably some gathering dust on my shelf. Did I say, “dust?” No, of course, there’s no dust on my shelves. 😉 )

In the past two weeks, I’ve had two DNFs, both by Indie writers who claim to write romantic comedy. The latter sent out a lot of ARCs and already had about 130 extremely favorable (4 and 5 star) reviews on Goodreads despite the fact that the book was problematic in writing, details, and attitude. I’ve never read either of these writers before and won’t be reading them in the future either, unless they discover editors.

Sloppy Writing

Indie writers are slamming the market with books. Some are self-publishing every month or every other month. Many are selling books that contain bad writing. (How do you begrudgingly pull into a parking space?) Readers are buying them.

I find myself wishing that the authors of some of these novels weren’t so intent on making a buck, cared more about their writing, and respected their readers and themselves enough to not self-publish sloppy books. And, yes, I know and agree, that there are traditionally published books that are sloppy. I’ve read two of those in the past six months as well.

Reviewer Responsibility

If we as readers and reviewers don’t demand more, why should writers and publishers give us more? If a reader/reviewer gives only 4 and 5 star reviews on Goodreads, even to lousy books which the reader acknowledges are lousy, then that reader is ultimately doing us all a disservice. Maybe they don’t care. And, if that’s the case, why even bother to rate books at all? Which is probably another question for another day.

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10 replies »

  1. The issue of quality of writing is something that seems to keep popping up for me over and over lately. I’ve DNF’d more books in the last year than most likely the last 5 years combined. I never used to do that, especially over really poor quality because I don’t remember it being an issue. I’ve really struggled with the concept, especially now that I fall into that indie author category. I wish more readers/reviewers would hold the industry, both traditional and indie, to higher standards than is what is coming out now. I’m also crazy frustrated with the concept that to be a successful author, you need to be prolific. That is just not accurate and, at least as far as I’m concerned, contributes to the quality problem.

    • I think some Indie authors feel they have to be prolific to keep their name out there and maybe to make money. Speaking of prolific, I remember reading that Nora Robert’s wrote a book a month at one point in her career but she can actually write.

      • If you can do it and do it well, and you want to, then I have no problem with it. I just don’t like the expectation that every single author needs to have a massive list of books written. Or that having that massive list is the only thing that makes you a successful author. Sure, the more books you have, the easier time you are going to have developing a following and make money doing so, but that isn’t the ONLY way.

      • It actually made me feel icky when I went to Goodreads to check out the reviews on the book I was reading today. I gather that this author started in erotica and that seems to garner loyalty. But the writing was carp not to mention that the language was off the scale offensive and, hey, I read The Godfather and The Naked and the Dead so I’m used to language, haha. Maybe people don’t mind as long as there’s sex….I didn’t get to any sex. I wanted to have an enjoyable read. I don’t need to read an author whose main female character calls all women b*tches because she thinks they are. I can’t even imagine why I’m the only one who might think that was misogynistic.
        What does a huge amount of books mean if the writing isn’t good? What is there to take pride in, or is that no longer a thing?
        Yep, most of the writers that I really enjoy just publish a couple of times a year, if that.
        Sorry, I think I’ve been carrying that rant around since afternoon and I just let it out here. Many apologies! 🙂

      • No need to apologize. I totally get it. It is frustrating to see what amounts to crap being held up as this awesome thing. I get it if it is just a difference in creative perspective, but not when it is a situation where even a half way decent editor would have taken an ax to a book, and not just for spelling and grammar mistakes, either.

      • Despite being a grammar nazi, I’m used to typos etc in ARCs. It’s the other things that show a writer isn’t paying attention, even two pages later, that raise my ire. Preaching to the choir, right? 🙂

      • I haven’t see it much with the books I’ve gotten as ARCs so far as it seems they have actually been the finial editions (I’ve gotten them all within a month or less of release date). I’ve yet to see if that is going to drive me nuts and how that impacts my opinions. I did just get one that doesn’t release until October, so I guess I’m going to find out.

      • To be honest, I don’t see that many typos in professional ARCs, but they do exist. I just read one by a veteran author that had more than I was used to, but still nothing like I’ve seen in some Indie-published ARCs.

      • Good to know! Loads of those kinds of things would make it hard for me to get past them to the actual story. I’m too easily distracted if there are lots of errors.

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