Thursday, May 05, 2016

Bad Writing

I recently read "Some of the Best from 2015". This is a collection of the free stories they published at their website. It is a free download, yay!

I blogged on the 2014 version of this here. I blogged about the 150 story 5 year release they did here and here.

All those posts listed stories that stood out, that I really liked. This latest volume, the overall quality was very good, but nothing jumped out at me.

Coming at this from the other end of the quality spectrum, I was halfway through the stories when I had the thought, "Man, no bad stories so far". But, there wound up being two stories that were doing OK, but then did something that I think definitely qualifies as "bad writing": they ended the story with a 1 sentence, "gotcha" paragraph. That just seems totally ... amateurish, cheap? ... to me. The offending stories were "Tear Tracks", by Makla Older, and "Schrödinger's Gun", by Ray Wood. The second one was a really interesting quantum physics story, so the ending was definitely and disappointingly unfortunate.

I have been paying more attention to figuring out what triggers my "this is bad writing" reflex, mostly because of a book review I wrote where I stated the author was a bad writer - although she did get better as the book wore on. I guess it is my engineer's mindset - don't just complain about something, figure out what is wrong, and fix it. We'll see how that goes. I am dragging my feet on reading that author's 2nd book and, if the "bad writing" flag gets tripped, figuring out why.

So, again, to be snarky, the collection was definitely worth the price. It is nice of Tor to do these, and I'm sure a good way to give their authors some more exposure.

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