Tag Archives: bad writing can be informative

Using Beta Readers for Helpful Feedback


This week, I will be getting my feedback from the Beta readers (who are kind of like a focus group in business). I will likely have to fix things before going to press. The writer’s work is NEVER done, but, at some point, I have to draw the line in the sand, and go with it.

The publication process for this manuscript has been the equivalent of an undergraduate degree. I learned how much I didn’t know about writing, the craft itself, and about pleasing the reader. Bad writing CAN be informative. Fixing bad writing is an education.

The telling of a good tale is far more complex than I imagined when I started this writer’s journey.

The Lessons in Bad Writing


Writers of the Desert Rose Cafe author Karel Henneberger sent me an article that reinforced a valuable lesson: you can learn something from reading bad writing. The article’s author Daphne Gray-Grant tells of  learning that lesson from a former boss in a roundabout way. Gray-Grant is a professional editor, so she’s read an abundance of both good and bad work.

The basic points she drives home to writers are these:

  1. Good writers make just about every sentence meaningful. Bad ones waste effort on recording every cup of tea their characters swallow.
  2. Bad writing highlights the kinds of mistakes we don’t want to make. It’s one thing to know we shouldn’t overuse adjectives. It’s another to read a plethora of sentences like this one: “The wearily handsome, nervous, stubble-chinned man slowly and carefully got out of bed when he heard the soft, mysterious sound of footsteps
    in his apartment.”
  3. Bad writing is a reminder that good work always requires effort.

The moral of the story: finish that bad book you’re reading. Use it as a tool to spot the things not to do in your own stories.