This will be a continuation of an old post called Why Do Bad Books Get Published and Sell Like A Million Copies? Apparently, this is an age old question that many writers have tried answering. I would have to say that it will never be fully understood. Whatever sells, sells. A lot of it has to do with the genre.
Not to mention, sex sells. Believe it or not romance is #1 on the list of genres. But why? I don’t have a clue…maybe all throughout history love stories have been ingrained into society since the beginning of time. But that’s not why I’m here to rant about. Nope. Maybe in the near future I’ll discuss why I’m not a big fan of so-called traditional romances. My big beef is what writers consider good writing. Does anyone know the difference between good writing and bad writing?
My emotional response to this question has been answered as one big, flat out NOOO!
Why am I so shocked and upset? Because of this folks -> Book Publisher + Money + PR Agent = Great Literature
That is the equation to success nowadays. Not whether you can write or not write, but if you have a PR Agent who can sell anything, even if it’s a rock. There are certain books in this world that probably shouldn’t be published, but they are sold…no matter how much we protest. Bad books sell for one reason and that’s to make MONEY! You can disagree with me all you want and state facts as to why I shouldn’t believe this, but no matter what you think…this is the real model of today’s standards. You can beat me up to a bloody pulp or tell me until you’re blue in the face, but book publishers only want books that can sell. If a book doesn’t sell, it doesn’t get published. Simple fact of life. So, let’s begin on this magical adventure of Good Writing Vs. Bad Writing. Shall we? It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
GOOD WRITING VS. BAD WRITING
(WITH CLICHES INCLUDED)
If you want a bestseller, ignore everything, especially grammar!
GOOD WRITERS & GOOD WRITING:
- You take your time trying to come up with something original, even if it may take you years to do it. You don’t rush yourself. Instead, you come up with realistic goals and achieve them. You come up with a schedule and write daily or three times a week. You arrange and make time to write something down, no matter how busy you are.
- You use three-dimensional characters. Characters that people can relate to, who have realistic flaws like everyone else. You want your characters to develop over time and eventually change for the better…or for the worse. You love torturing all your characters just like they’re your family. They have real motives just like you and me. Your characters have dreams and goals, which can exist to this day. But you love creating many obstacles in their way. Nothing happens overnight, not even love. Whoever said life was going to be easy for your character should probably be shot. Ha-ha! That’s a joke!
- Grammar is key. You take the time to edit, even if it’ll take twenty years. You hire an editor or several editors to work for you. You know about grammar enough to even break a few rules here and there. You love to be bad! However, checking grammar is a constant habit that requires time and patience. You want everything to be perfect! You will check your manuscript a million times before you send it out to the real world. Even when it’s said and done, you still believe in the depths of your very soul that you can do better than the last story. You keep telling yourself, “Next time it’ll be better! Next story will be better improved.” The classic motto is “You’re never too old to improve your writing!”
- Research is just as important! You strive to tell it how it is! Keep things truthful and realistic. Even your fantasy has some sort of truth in it’s fiction. You love writing about history. You love to do research on real people in life and reflect that onto your setting and period. You read books that inspire you, even when you’re studying. You put information that could make your readers think. Research is not something you throw out the window.
- Dialogue is critical. You listen to how people speak in a certain time or location and you write it down. Slang is only added as spice to bring a character to life. You know how people talk in this city that you researched so well. Realistic dialogue to you is what brings in another level of realism to the world that you’ve created. You take no shortcuts when it comes to dialogue.
- Location, Location, Location! You either research a location or you visit the place for a few kicks. Wikipedia isn’t your only source of information. You always pick up a few travel guides along the way. Not to mention, you frequently make trips to the local library and bookstores.
- You always write what you know. You never ever write what you don’t know about, unless you’ve researched it first. You just don’t make up things as you go along. Things just don’t happen for no reason in your stories. The story and plot has a purpose. There’s a reason for everything. There is a certain level of depth and meaning in your stories. Even the cautionary tales have some warnings for humanity to discuss.
- You write to please yourself. You don’t write for anyone else. What people say doesn’t reflect what you write. You face the fact that people will either like your story or they won’t, but your main audience is YOU.
- Fiction imitates reality! You write stories that have truths in them and you’re not afraid to discuss topics that challenge people’s mind and views. You want your readers to think for themselves. You never hand fed people information, like you do at a petting zoo.
- Quality counts! You care more about quality than you do about quantity. If it doesn’t have quality or value to it, then why sell it in the first place?
BAD WRITERS & BAD WRITING:
Brace yourself, folks. It’s gonna be mind-blowing!
- You don’t take the time to write and just breeze through it. Writing is such a cake walk to you, isn’t it? You pretty much rush through all your ideas and stories, including the endings of every book you’ve ever written. No need to waste precious time on something you could care less about. Why work hard on creating something original when you can just steal ideas from somebody else? Hard work doesn’t count for a damn thing! Instead just rip-off some other writers’ years of hard work, blood, and sweat and call it a day!
- You could care less about setting a schedule for yourself. You don’t want to write all the time, because let’s face the facts here… You already have a life and it doesn’t include writing! Your social life comes first. Who said being a writer is a lonely and miserable life? Not you!
- Why come up with three-dimensional characters when Mary Sues and Gary Sues are so easy to write about? They have no flaws whatsoever. Just think of them like Barbie dolls. Your characters are practically like the plastic Ken and Barbie…PERFECT IN EVERY SHAPE OR FORM…OR EXISTENCE KNOWN TO MAN! They have multiple jobs, multiple husbands/wives, multiple everything. Who ever said being a mega ultra movie star/singer/dancer/vampire billionaire entrepreneur was impossible?! Anything’s possible in your story!
- Research is for bookworms and losers! Why research when you can just Wikipedia or Google it? Just take snippets from random blogs, right? It’s about the same. Textbooks and going to library requires so much time, gas, and effort. Hell, just make everything up as you go along, since anything’s possible in your story. Not even gravity exists! So what? Who cares what Isaac Newton said!
- Dialogue is stupid and unnecessary. Who cares about dialogue when you can make characters saying anything you want to? To you dialogue should be unlikely and unrealistic in that time or location. Oh well, it’s your story. If you want Julius Caesar to rap and dance to hip-hop who cares! All your characters sound alike anyway. Why add a pinch of slang when you can just overdo everything and make it sound like another alien language. Also, add in lots of languages from all parts of the world with no translation whatsoever. Your readers will really appreciate not knowing what your characters are saying. Good for you!
- What location? Like before, just Wikipedia it and you’ll be fine. No need to get time zones accurate or certain restaurants or names of roads right. Just do whatever you want. Venice, Italy is just another part of Washington State. What’s the big difference?
- Don’t write what you know. Since you don’t know anything about serial killers, just go write about them anyway. You’re just writing what’s called Fantasy. No need to interject logic into the world with more painful truths. Create a loving story about a psychopath that will even make Barney and Friends jealous. Your story and plot has no purpose whatsoever. Truth is worse than fiction, so just make believe and you’ll be in a happier place with rainbows and magical unicorns who will grant your every wish. Why add realism when reality sucks anyway?
- You don’t write to please yourself. Please, you hate everything about writing! You’re just doing this with little effort as possible. No brain cells required! All you can think of is whether or not you’ll be paid by your book publishers today. You’re writing quickly to get that next big paycheck or to make that next buck. If it’s a bestseller, you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank. Next sequel is about How Much Money Will I Make? Or you could call it, How I Got A PR Agent To Fool Millions Out Of Their Hard Earned Money. You practically make fun of the average writing Joes (the actual hard working writers out there), who have done this for years and actually write for a living. Yeah, you know the ones…those poor penniless fools, who don’t seek out fame or attention. Those poor writers are considered losers to you, because they need that paycheck to pay their bills and groceries.
- Truth Sucks and Repetition Rules! Reality is not cool! Avoid everything that remotely questions the meaning of life. Fast and quick reads are more entertaining. Don’t use big hard words unless you want to sound smart. Keeping repeating the same plotlines, scenes, phrases, and words. No brain food necessary! It’s pure Junk Food anyway. Why bother change the world for the better? It’s a pointless struggle anyway. Besides, many of your readers can’t read or write anyway. It’s a win-win situation all the way!
- Quantity is what sells and makes you money fast! That’s more important than life itself. Sell it quickly and then worry about quality control later.