Editing at Night




My novel needs work. Every novel needs work. Pick your favorite novel. Is it perfect in every way? What might make it better?

Why do people like poorly written books anyway? I hear this a lot about very popular books, “It’s not well written, but…”

It must be well written on some level or it would be gibberish. If it conveys a compelling story and characters, then something was written the way it should be. Right?

I could almost suspect that being popular means being poorly written. As if we can’t admit a popular book can also be well written. 

If poorly written books are the successful ones…why am I trying so hard?

But do the authors of these bestsellers believe their books are not well-written? I suspect not.

No matter how perfectly a novel is written, someone, maybe a lot of someones, isn’t going to like it. 

Well, what poorly written novel do you love? Why? Do you think you could make it better?


6 thoughts on “Editing at Night

  1. I know books like Twilight, 50 Shades of Gray, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo often get this rap, but I’ve never read any of them. I rarely read popular/best-selling novels. I’m not sure why. I guess i’ve read a few in my day, and found that they didn’t satisfy whatever it is I read to find (I’m 50 y.o. and still trying to figure out exactly what that is).

    One of the questions I’m struggling with is similar to yours. I’ve been trying to adapt my work to the elements of story structure, but the more I learn about it, the more I look at my shelves and wonder why it is that so many of my favorite books seem to flagrantly break the rules of good story structure, and how they get away with it. Are there hidden story elements? Do I just not understand well enough yet? It could drive me mad, if I let it. But I’ll just trudge onward instead–maybe the answers will come with the work.

    I’ve read some of your short work, and I’m thinking I’ll consider your work well-written already. But who’s to say I not prejudiced? After all, I like you and want you to succeed, and there would be no envy in my judgement (like so many who envy the aforementioned best-selling authors). All we can do is stive for our own best, make sure we still find the work fulfilling and nourishing. No easy task, once a marketplace is in the picture, is it, Marta? Best of luck!

    1. Vaughn, thank you for that thoughtful, well-written (!) reply. I haven’t read those books you mention either. I do read some popular books. I’ve read all of Harry Potter and I finally bought a copy of The Hunger Games.

      I wish I understood the elements of a story. I suspect I’m missing some of them, but I don’t know which ones. Keep trudging! I haven’t read any of the fantasy series you’re working on, but I’ve read your blog posts and comments. They lead me to think you write well.

      But yes! That prejudice of liking someone. A friend has had two novels published and they are both well-written, well-told stories. But I love my friend and am proud of her. So, if it weren’t that her books have sold well and won awards, I wouldn’t trust my judgment.

      And this makes me think of my facebook author page. I set it up because it seemed like I should, that it should be in place before the book comes out. But with a couple exceptions (surprising to me) only my friends like the page. Of course they do. They support me. But most of them have never read my writing.

      And so it feels weird.

      Well, best of luck to both of us!

      1. I’ve resisted the fb author page because of just what you’re saying. I’m guessing I’ll have to give in at some point. Thanks for the praise, and best of luck to us both, indeed!

  2. I haven’t read a well-written book by Danielle Steele, but I love the escape she provides. Besides good writing, crafting a good story is as important, if not more so. 🙂 Jane

    1. Crafting a good story is the thing. Absolutely. One of my favorite novels ever may or may not be well written. I don’t know. I don’t care. I love the story. That’s what counts. Beautifully written and dull is not a cherished book.

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