Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Bad writing

I was talking about bad writing some time recently. Is it bad writing if people like it? Here's a bad sentence:

Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.

Why is it bad? Because it hampers the enjoyment of the reader. An old man is dying in the museum to which he has devoted his life. Some kind of emotional punch, right? The bad sentence wastes the emotional punch. Or so it seems to me.

Turns out all Dan Brown's novels start that way.

because apparently

Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.

while elsewhere

Geologist Charles Brophy had endured the savage splendor of this terrain for years, and yet nothing could prepare him for a fate as barbarous and unnatural as the one about to befall him.

Physicist Leonardo Vetra's name might be ridiculous, but his fate is at least conveyed with economy, and a certain dramatic force. Geologist Charles Brophy's predicament, however, is almost lost in the stupidity of the sentence which describes it.

But here's the thing. People like it. They buy these stupid books in millions. My conclusion is I know nothing about how reading and writing works.
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