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Reading Awful Books Improves Writing

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Mon May 16, 2016 11:04 am
Sunshine1113 says...

Stephen King wrote:“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."

One of the first things I was told on how to improve my writing was to read, which is a very good piece of advice. Reading does improve your writing. You adopt things the author uses, get ideas, improve word choice and sentence structure, and you can even find your writing niche!

Your first thoughts are most likely to read books by all of the greats, from J.K. Rowling to Stephen King; you want to be just like them, so of course your first act is to read books from all these amazing writers. They're to be worshipped for having created all these captivating, fantastical worlds, and you can't put their books down. You tear their works apart, analyzing them, hoping to pick up on things that will make you like them — a successful author.

I will reiterate: reading good quality stories can make you a better writer, but so can reading awful pieces of literature that are so dull and poorly edited that you wonder how they ever got published.

Reading those books is actually very helpful to you as a writer. These books stand as a perfect example of what not to do when you write.

It's just as important to know what to do when you're writing as it is to know what not to do.

However, such kinds of book can be really hard to get through, which is why sporking websites exist! Appreciate these sites! Those people purposely read awful works and analyze them line by line in order to flat out tell you what not to do so you don't have to read the book! These sporking sites may include content such as has been outlined below:

Urban Dictionary wrote:"A line by line critical analysis of fanfiction, typically of the Utterly Horrible or occasionally So Bad It's Good variety. Derived from the term "Sporking one's eyes out", implying that the fic is so bad that most people would prefer to attack their own eyes with sporks rather than read it. Also the verb for performing such an analysis."

Most of the sporks are actually very comical to read, too!

The sites for sporks are as given below:

So go on and read those books that make you want to "spork your eyes out" for being so bad, and be sure to take notes; your readers will love you all the more for it!

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Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:18 am
Jyva says...

if you're good enough to see what's wrong with those awful books, then... you're not really learning anything from them, are you? you already know what's wrong. they're more of a reminder of what not to do, really.

if anything you'd pick up bad writing habits from those books.

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Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:48 pm
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Kale says...

I disagree, mainly because knowing that something is bad is different from knowing why and how it is bad. To use a food analogy, anyone can taste a dish and tell if it's good or bad, but it takes extra skill to determine why the taste is bad, and it takes even greater skill to determine how to avoid or even remedy the badness.

Analyzing what caused something to be bad helps you to avoid creating something as bad yourself.
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There are no chickens in Hyrule.
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Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:22 am
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heath says...

whenever i read a horrible book that makes me want to "spork my eyes out" i automatically start analyzing what made that book so darn bad ( mainly so i can tell absolutely everyone about how awful it was and why it was so awful ), and it really does help a lot.

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Fri May 01, 2020 7:34 pm
JellyRose says...

Sometimes when I read bad literary works, I usually make jokes about what is wrong with it to my friends who are also reading it with me because I begged them to. But, what I also like to do is take a paragraph every now and again from the book, and edit it and maybe rewrite it, so I can see where it went wrong, and how simple editing could possibly revise it and make it better next time.

Overall, reading is reading, so don't be afraid to consume terribly written books as well as the "greats"

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Mon Feb 21, 2022 7:12 pm
RandomTalks says...

I actually agree with whatever you have said. Reading does make us better writers, as we are entering an already established world and viewing what the author wants to show us. It teaches us different writing styles, and tells us a lot about world building. However, its not just the good books that leave a lasting impression on us and help us write better. Sometimes, the bad books create such an impact (mostly negative) that we are forced to intervene and recreate some aspects of it.

Of course not everyone might agree. But I have read some awful fanfictions and stories that have not only made me want to spork my eyes, but also wash my brain with detergent. Yes, as someone pointed out, its funny to read works like these, but no one can deny the torture that it truly is. However, reading stuff like this helps you understand exactly where the author went wrong. You develop a critical mind of your own and all the mistakes and errors stand out like bright color against the text. You analyze and you try to salvage a story from the mess of a plot. Or sometimes, you just want to close the book and forget you ever opened it.

To be honest, I have done the latter too many times in my life. However, some other times, I have also tried to recreate the works and do some justice to the story hiding somewhere inside. And they actually turned out to be pretty good.

I am not saying you should read bad literature to help you improve your writing. That's not what I am saying at all. But sometimes, when you come across such a piece of work, you might just want to take it as a learning experience and have some fun of your own.
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell

When something is broken, it can be fixed.
— Benjamin Alire Saenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe