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You are here: Home > Forum > A Place of Safety > General Talk > Successful authors don't have to be great writers
Successful authors don't have to be great writers  [message #70023] Fri, 24 July 2015 10:06 Go to previous message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma

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Registered: March 2012
Messages: 215

As always with my postings, this is my personal view and I don't expect that it will be shared by everyone, or maybe not shared by anyone. Smile

A good story must have and interesting plot and well-drawn characters, at least one of which the reader should care about. Having great writing as well can make for a really great story. Great writing skill isn't just about spelling, punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, etc. It's also about pace, descriptions that are detailed enough but not overblown, and choice of words that have the desired emotional context, etc.

I don't pretend that I'm even close to being a great writer, but I try to be the best I can. I sometimes spend an hour or more trying to craft a single paragraph, trying to make sure it says exactly what I want without any ambiguity or dangling participles and such like. Actually, sometimes it is never just right, even after hours trying to rework the whole section. So I just have to accept the imperfections and move on.

Thus it can be consoling to find that the stories of even successful authors contain many imperfections and it can be heartening to see that, despite imperfections, a good plot and engaging characters can enable success in the publishing world.

Here are the first three chapters of a story by a very successful author, famous for intricate plots and unusual characters. Personally, I think the writing is far from perfect, and  if it were my story, I'd feel an uncontrollable urge to rewrite much of it.

Here it is. What do you think of the quality of the writing? Do you know, or can you guess the author?

"The vicar's wife came round the corner of the vicarage full of chrysanthemums. A good deal of rich garden soil attached to her strong brogue shoes and a few fragments of earth were adhering to her nose, but of that fact she was perfectly unconscious.

She had a slight struggle in opening the vicarage gate which hung, rustily, half off its hinges. A puff of wind caught at her battered felt hat, causing it to sit even more rakishly than it had done before. 'Bother!' said Bunch.

Christened by her optimistic parents Diana, Mrs Harmon had become Bunch at an early age for somewhat obvious reasons and the name had stuck to her ever since. Clutching the chrysanthemums, she made her way through the gate to the churchyard, and so to the church door."

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