When I was married, I made a major career change from administrative to floral design. Surprisingly the minor drop in pay, loss of benefits, and change in hours was fine with my husband.
“Are you okay with this?” I’d asked one evening.
He grinned at me. “Yea. Besides this has it’s own benefits.”
“Really? Like me working every holiday?”
”Nope. It means I never have to buy you flowers anymore.” He replied with a cocky grin. *Please note this may be why we are now divorced *
His theory was now that I was a florist I wouldn’t want flowers because all I’d want to do is rearrange them and curse because I could have done it better. He was right, I probably would have done those things, but the fact that my husband actually gave me flowers, which he never did, would have outweighed the negatives.
I’m reminded of this story this week but only in a different context. I read a book this weekend and it was terrible. When I say terrible I mean that I’m questioning how the author ever got published, and this is her 18th book, in the first place. If she can write such garbage and break all the writing rules why can’t I get my stuff or those of my friends published.
Every rule of writing that I have learned over the years was broken, obliterated, and thoroughly spit upon. Things like using a ton of adverbs, major problems with repetitive words, filling all 320 pages with clichés and no complex plot. To be honest, I’m not even sure this book saw the red side of an editors pen. I spent the majority of an hour exclaiming to my dear mom about the travesty of such a mess, and when I was finished she frowned at me. “All of this is in one book? That’s not possible.”
What amazes me is every review I’ve read of the book was glowing, even rated as 4.2 stars on Goodreads. How could I hate this book so passionately and others just love the book? Somebody slept with somebody or somebody paid someone off is all I can think of to answer that question, because it’s impossible to have a book this riddled with flaws to go anywhere.
So what this boils down to is that reading made me a better writer, but writing made me more of an intelligent reader. Now that I write seriously and have struggled with such things as cliché and creating a complex realistic plot, I can see the errors more clearly in my writing and in other peoples. Books I might have enjoyed (though I doubt this book would ever make that list.) now are viewed in an entirely different perspective.
Just like my ex-husband thinking I wouldn’t enjoy flowers if someone else had arranged them,even though I would have just loved the gesture from him. I think now there are times I don’t enjoy books because of the mistakes of someone else.
So lets talk disappointment and your view as a writer on the writing of others. Tell me how you deal with a book that sucks monkey toes. As a reader how do you feel when you buy a book that sucks?