Bad Writing

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

What is bad writing? I bet you can think of multiple examples right off the bat right?

In Star Wars Attack of the Clones, Anakin says, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth “

What if I told you this wasn’t terrible writing but realistic awkward, cult raised, teen flirting? Would you disagree?

So what’s the line? Where’s the litmus test? Why am I using so many question marks? Seriously, this is getting irritating, like sand?

Okay, silliness aside, most people have no idea what bad writing is and love to use it as an argument.

“I don’t hate women, but Doctor Who’s writing just sucks this season.”

“I’m not racist, but Star Wars The Force Awakens is badly written.”

What these people mean is that the show isn’t the way they remember and that makes them unhappy.

It’s not actually about the writing.

There are four main types of bad writing and that’s how I judge a book or show’s writing:

1. Mechanics

Typos, sentence structure, and grammar are important. If they’re off for no reason, that’s bad writing.

Eg: Th woman starred up at his face, wondering what that beard hide.

2. Repetition

I struggle with this in my writing. Repeating things can be useful, but makes it feel like you’re over explaining or condescending to the audience

Eg: She looked into his eyes, wondering what secrets hid behind those eyes. The eyes were dark blue and seemed to see right through her. She’d describe the eyes as piercing.

3. Boobing / Privilege

When you write about something you’re not familiar with but don’t realize, you end up, at best, sounding like a male author poorly writing a woman, or at worst, tone deaf and racist.

Eg: She boobily boobed down the stairs with her boobs boobing. BOOBS

Eg: Her exotic light-chocolate skin marked her as one of the less educated mexican delegation. She’d probably never been to such an advanced city. He was certain she’d appreciate the taco truck outside the conference centre.

4. Inconsistent Story

Contradictions, temporal weirdness, odd twists, or ridiculous luck can all throw an audience out of a work. In tiny doses, it’s not too bad, but too much or too blatant and it’s just bad writing. (Shakespeare was terrible with time.)


People will talk to you about pacing, clichés, contrivances, too much or too little dialogue, starting too early or too late, etc. etc. etc.

It’s all bullshit. What they’re actually saying is they don’t like something about the work and instead of facing that, they’d rather just make a vague useless statement.

Unfortunately, it’s also really hard to argue with such a statement.

Did I miss anything? Do you disagree?

Later days,

Éric

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