Is it just a different style or bad writing?

I started reading those sample pages for the writer’s conference today.

It was…problematic.

I found myself wanting to rewrite sentences on a regular basis.  With one author I didn’t even know how to rewrite some of the sentences, I just knew that they didn’t work for me.

It was bad.

One of the issues I struggle with is how much of that is a difference in style and how much of it is the quality of the writing.

I found myself criticizing one of the writers for anthropomorphizing everything.  But then about eight pages in, the house talks to the main character.  So maybe it was all intentional and supposed to be foreshadowing?

I found myself correcting another writer for the overuse of metaphors and similes, none of which used the word “like” even when that seemed the obvious choice.

It occurs to me that maybe it’s a matter of personal preference.  Maybe I don’t like overwrought language, but someone else will find the imagery stunning or masterful.

I hate to be too critical if it’s just a matter of personal style.  But, at the same time, if this is a universal complaint about this person’s writing, then they really need to fix it before they’re going to find success.

As a reader, I find that I’m much more accepting of the individual author’s chosen means of expression.  As a critique partner…maybe not so much.

I like to think that with the fellow writer I beta for on a semi-regular basis that I try to see how their style works and keep my critiques in line with the way they write rather than the way I would write the story.

Unfortunately, with these samples, I found myself much more judgmental.  I don’t know why.

It’ll be interesting to see what the other people in the critique sessions say and whether they’re in line with my thoughts.  (I think I’ll let someone, anyone else go first…)

This is all a problem on two fronts.  One, I don’t think my critiques will be well-received because I’m four samples in and I have yet to find one I loved or was mostly positive about.

And, two, even if I get good feedback from these people, I’m not sure I’ll listen to it having seen their writing.

That’s horrible, isn’t it?

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am an egomaniac.

Which makes improving my writing that much harder, because there are certain people I just will not listen to.  (Even if maybe they’re right…)


About M. H. Lee

M.H. Lee is a speculative fiction writer currently residing in Colorado whose stories are sometimes dark, sometimes funny, sometimes darkly funny, but hopefully always thought-provoking and entertaining.
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