A Question for Readers: How much does quality, professional writing matter; or is the story ALL that matters?

I’ve jumped into a discussion at The Passive Voice blog, and I’d like to expand on it here. I’m really gearing this question towards readers, but I welcome comments from writers too, provided you first put on your reader’s cap.

We all love great stories. That’s a given. However, is that all that matters to you? What if it’s poorly written, laden with grammatical errors and poor structure? Does that matter to you? How much? Where do you draw the line and forgive an author for poor writing?

Does moving, eloquent prose move you as a reader? If so, how much will you forgive a less-than-thrilling story?

Okay, so that’s more than one question… sort of two sides (or ten) of the same coin.

Please, I’d love to know your opinion on this.

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5 responses to “A Question for Readers: How much does quality, professional writing matter; or is the story ALL that matters?

  1. As part of a writing group that gets new writers on a weekly basis, I can say poor grammar, wordiness and passive writing in the wrong places kills the first chapter…if I get that far.

    I have fallen for the $0.99 offers on Twitter far too many times. Without an editor, self-publishers should NOT waste money thinking they have a bestseller. Save the money and hire AN EDITOR!

  2. I want a great story, of course, but the better the actual writing, the likelier I am to come back to that author.

  3. Actually it goes the other way for me. I am willing to forgive writing mistakes if the story is good. However, if the writing is so bad that I can’t focus on the story I won’t finish it. And if the story is boring no amount of fancy prose will make up for it.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Krista. I agree with you; an occasional mistake in a great story is okay, but not too many. I just think the truly GREAT books provide both. A personal preference.

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