I recently read an article on The Passive Voice (great blog if you’re interested!) which led me to this original article by Bill Peschel. I’d like to think he wrote this article in the spirit of satire. I believe that’s partially true, and partially not.
Basically, Bill exclaims that people ought to just publish their first drafts because there are so many readers out there who care more about the story than its grammar. He gives examples of writers who don’t even bother spellchecking, or any editing, for that matter, and yet still get 4+ star ratings on their books. And book reviewers (are they being paid??) openly say to ignore the awful grammar and enjoy the great story.
Well, with the number of best sellers out there (I won’t name names) whose poor use of grammar should be used as teaching aides as to how not to write, I think Bill is right. There are readers out there who don’t care about grammar. Heck if they even know good grammar from bad (le gasp! Yes, I said it).
But that doesn’t mean I agree with him.
Lately, I keep seeing this meme floating around:
And call me pretentious, but I’m just like:
Make it a little more of a grimace, Greg. Because–! If you don’t know me by now, bad writing (i.e. naughty grammar) drives me up the wall.
Way up there.
So call me old-fashioned, traditional, a grammar-nazi, or whatever else you wish, but if a story is poorly written no matter how many stars it has, I can’t read it. I get too frustrated and angry. I want to read without editing, I want to feel the flow of the words, see the art of language. Because writing is just another form of art. Yes, even textbook writing is an art form.
Hemingway’s run-ons don’t compare to what’s published today, traditional or indie. I die a little inside when I see people advertising their books… and I see two misspells in their blurb! Or comma errors. Heaven only knows what the text inside the front cover looks like.
Now I’m not taking away from a good story. Personally, I just can’t handle it if it’s poorly written. I’ll read the synopsis and someone’s review with spoilers instead.
So do you, or would you, read a good story with unbeautiful* writing?
*That was intentional. Because calling it “ugly” doesn’t sound proper. 🙂