I Love A Terrible Book


I Love A Terrible Book

By Nandy Ekle

In his book, On Writing, Stephen King says, “So we read to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear of them. We also read in order to measure ourselves against the good and the great, to get a sense of all that can be done. And we read in order to experience different styles.”

When I started writing my prose was a stream of repetitious flowery poetic vomit. I did keep to the rule of three, but everything I wrote repeated itself three times. I had three metaphors, followed by three adjectives in a long sentence with three complex parts. I had endless descriptions of every molecule in the space my characters inhabited. I wrote conversations that sounded like Shakespearean type speech. I was determined to wow the world with how many words I knew and how well I could put them together. And to make matters worse, I defended my writing style to anyone who criticized it.

One day I picked up a book by an author who actually has a fair size following and began reading. It didn’t take long for me to realize that my style was a lot like his. The kicker to this was that I hated his book. I read another one of his stories, and didn’t like it even more than I didn’t like the first one. And it seemed that the more of his writing I read, the less I cared for him as an author.

I took another look at my own stories and cringed with embarrassment. It didn’t take long for me to re-evaluate my style and change.

I have realized that even though I will never be a fan of this particular author, I am very grateful for having read his books. He was as effective a teacher as a doctorate of the English language would be.

When reading a story, whether an article in the newspaper, confession magazine, or epic novel, pay attention to the author’s style. If it’s good, learn from it. If it’s not so great, learn from that too.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.



By Rory C. Keel

Style is the quality that makes your writing easy to understand and pleasant to read. Style is different from punctuation and grammar which rarely factor in a writer’s style because they are generally standardized. For example, you could write a grammatically correct piece of work using large amounts of passive verbs with few active verbs and have poor style.


Good writing style is developed with practice. The more you write the better your style gets. Here are a few helpful suggestions to work on:

  1. Save the most interesting or important words for the end of the sentence.
  2. Use parallel structure in your writing. In other words, use consistency in sentence structure.
  3. Avoid echoes. This is a repetition of a word multiple times in a sentence or paragraph.

As you write and revise, your own personal style will develop over time.