Tuesday Tirade: Bad Writing Sells?

“What? It was a dark and stormy night.”

I didn’t major in creative writing. I will, at certain times, misuse commas, only because there are too many rules, and as much as I try, it is challenging to remember them all.

I try not to make my writing difficult to understand. Using more common words rather than obscure, recondite, or esoteric ones, enables a reader to focus on the story instead of having to look up or deduce the meaning of a word.

Sure, I’ll use the thesaurus (that’s not a tome shaped dinosaur, by the way), to discover interesting words, and have inserted them in place of, for lack of a better word, bland* ones.

Every writer has their own voice and idiosyncrasies (or foibles**). I tend to be less descriptive in my writing, only because that’s the way I read, skimming over information that I deem unimportant. I think I have been getting better at writing dialogue (but not spelling it), although, my dialogue is usually succinct*** because I think that my characters would have a conversation as most people would.

What was my point? Oh, yes. Bad writing.

I was, well, still am, reading a book by a best selling author. I have read several of his—umm, or her—books in the past, some I have enjoyed, others I found . . . meh.

In previous books, I noticed that many of the sentences were quite short, and would have several in a row, exactly the thing my grammar program would red flag. I’m not adverse to short sentences. They have their place. Not too many, though. That gets boring. Some might say monotonous. Yes. Exactly my point.

In the book I am currently reading, I came across this passage which made me think, “His—or her— editor let this through?“:


I wonder what the countertops in his—or her—kitchen are like?


If you have a good example of bad writing, add it in the comment section.

*There are better words: insipid, lackluster, mediocre, vapid, banal, trite, inane, characterless . . .
***Brief or concise

Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.


Published by Leon Stevens

I am an author, composer, and an artist. I published my first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions. My latest book is a short story compilation of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

6 thoughts on “Tuesday Tirade: Bad Writing Sells?

  1. The 50 Shades of Grey books were meh in my opinion. The subject matter was tricky (bdsm) and the kink community lashed out that the author misrepresented the activities in the book.

    The writing itself was… meh. I read them out of curiosity but found it difficult to finish book 2 and barely touched book 3.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Using more common words rather than obscure, recondite, or esoteric ones…” I see what you did there! I personally like the paragraph that you quoted. I think the brevity of the sentences and parallel structures gave it a bit of rhythm. Too many paragraphs like that, though, and what was once a nice bouncy dance turns into choppy waters. Everything in moderation, right?

    Liked by 1 person

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