I used to love Rita Mae Brown's books but had to stop reading them because they were so poorly edited. Not that she's a bad writer but everyone needs an editor and the books started feeling more and more sloppy. But I loved her realistic Virginia hunting scenes.
I love Michael Connelly and don't consider him a bad writer at all, but it is main stream, popular stuff. I came to him late and I'm going to feel bad when I have read all his books. I like Lee Child, although sometimes his violence goes so over the top that it goes into gruesome territory. SK can be so vivid, or maybe it is intense, that one of his books I never did finish. My favorite of all his books is a lesser known one, "The Girl who loved Tom Gordon".
How do you guys not puke while reading bad prose? Isn't it an insurmountable obstacle to whatever substance is buried in all that crap?
Being a curious masochist, I challenge you connoisseurs to give me some examples.
I don't think they are saying they like bad prose, just not prose that would be studied in your average college level course, even into freshman level. Certainly King is no Hemingway, Vonnegut, Dickens or Hardy (all authors of books in my library, in addition to the aforementioned SK) but the ability to develop characters, create mood or weave a story sometimes trumps a keen turn of phrase. I am re-reading The Stand for the umpteenth time, pulling out my well worn, dog-eared paperback copy for the long holiday weekend.
I don't particularly like the writing style of Jodi Picoult but I do find myself reading her books for the characters, but rarely reading for a second time.
“You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky
While not a huge King fan (I've only read two: "The Shining" and "The Green Mile."), I don't consider him a terrible writer, at all. "The Shining" was extremely vivid and scared the pants off of me, and "The Green Mile" was beautiful. I prefer simplistic writing, though.
My guilty please is stuff like Sandra Brown and Nora Roberts. Absolute trash, but nice change of pace. Everyone needs a nice, mindless romance novel.
I seriously don't think "commercial" should mean "bad", either. Some of the books I've truly enjoyed reading have been fairly "commercial" and I've thought them well written, etc. Of course, I'm not much of a Hemingway fan and don't even get me started on Steinbeck! I tend to read more memoirs and non-fiction stuff. The fiction I do read is pretty eclectic (see: Nora Roberts ).
Lol at ET's comment about Jodi piccoult.... I actually enjoy her phrases and word choices... but the over arching themes in all of her books kind of bother me. I guess because I didn't realize they were such a strong moralistic theme until I had read a few. And it isn't 'oh Gosh what an ethical dilemma' because there's the added, '.... and this IS the morally correct choice, you know...' onto th stories. Or maybe that last one i read just soured me to her stuff. It was the brittle bones child one..? Can't remember the title, but it seemed just toooooo overdone! But I do enjoy her prose.
(A decidedly unhorsey) MrB knocks over a feed bucket at the tack shop and mutters, "Oh crap. I failed the stadium jumping phase."
(he does listen!)
Joanne Fluke writes mystery baking novels, they probably aren't going to win any prizes but it is an easy read when my brains fried.
Karen Macinerney also writes stories with a lot of food in them (hmmm maybe I am just hungry) Her Gray Whale Inn series I find to be really cozy and comforting, again not poorly written but not prize winning either
Gemma Halliday is what I read when I want to pretend I am a girly girl for a day...lol hard when I wear work boots most days, but damn I love a hot pair of heels
Re Stephen King, if you read his book "On Writing" you will find that he actually suggests an exercise where you write a short story with NO adverbs. Its more challenging that you think, but it did help my writing. You have to have a real clear sense of what you want to say if you can't throw any adverbs into it.
Albert Payson Terhune. He's a horrible writer. He's also elitist and racist...but oh, how I love the stories about his collies!
Oh, Terhune! I read all his books as a dog/horse-crazy kid (back when you could still find his books at thrift shops fairly regularly), and loved them all - and they led me to collies. I vaguely knew later that they were sexist and lord-of-the-mannerish, but I didn't realize quite how extreme they were until years later. The sexism and elitism are bad, but what strikes me (after years of kicking other people's crazy, out of control POS dogs off me and mine) is that the every other story has one of the noble Sunnybank collies savaging someone - really, seriously lunging for people's throats and sawing merrily through coats, shirts, etc., in a search for the jugular.
I agree with those who think Stephen King is a good writer, I don't think he's "terrible" at all. Of course, right now I'm re-reading "Everythings Eventual", I've read "Insomnia" at least 3 times and the Dark Tower is my favorite book series. Not to mention the Stand, the Green Mile, etc.
I also agree with whose who are a bit disappointed in Terry Goodkind. The further the series went the more he seemed to be going off on some ranting jag. And as much as I used to love Dean Koontz when I was a teenager I am not impressed with him as an adult, especially his newer stuff. He has a strange, almost sexist way of writing. And nowhere near as colorful or descriptive as King. I do like some of his older books but I feel like Koontz's characters are 2D compared to a good writer.
Last edited by 1sock; Nov. 24, 2012 at 10:06 AM.
The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done".
And yet, writers who substitute a variety of flowery synonyms to replace that small but oh-so-useful word "said" are considered to be a joke among the writing community. It's the dialogue itself that should convey the emotion and the meaning of what's being discussed. The verb tying those words to a particular speaker is merely a connector.
There is one word that drives me crazy. Good writers and bad writers use it, and it makes me want to gouge my eyes out.
The word 'padded' as a substitute for walked, as in "she padded across the room"
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Please make them stop.
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Tough crowd! Hope you'll check out MARE'S NEST. It's the #1 Hot Equestrian release on Amazon.com. I was tagged for bringing it up before, so hopefully, since it's off-topic day... The book was inspired by a letter I wrote to The Chronicle many moons ago entitled An Owner's Bill of Rights, which I'm thrilled to see is still listed in the Favorites section.
I won't judge whether Stephen King is a good writer or not, but I think he is an excellent storyteller. A lot of "good" writers don't hook me with their stories, but with him, I almost always want to know what happens next.
Michael Korda, particularly that horse country book he wrote a few years back is just badly written. For someone who is a editor by profession, it looks like he didn't use one for his work. It may explain why the book is incredibly repetitive and lacking of insight. I remember him telling the reader at least 3 or 4 times that horses don't like living alone. Okay, I agree but repeating it incessantly without any particular point being made is not interesting. Of course he laughs all the way to the bank!