Does the Internet Create Bad Writers?

stop-madness

Today, while everyone in the house was asleep, I decided to check my profile on Wattpad. During my internet lurking, I looked at a popular writer’s profile. This writer has three books listed on the hot list, so when I went to read their story, I thought it would be well written. Sadly, not to my surprise, I was wrong. Dead wrong.

giphy

The first paragraph of the story contained a run-on sentence. In fact, the whole paragraph was a run-on. Needless to say, the first chapter was mostly badly written dialogue and little exposition. To protect the writer, I won’t mention names or titles, but the story has over 2.3M reads. And all of the sequels have between 200-500K reads.

My reaction to that:

for-sake

When I went to the writer’s profile again and read her comments, I saw she was offering an editing service. Not only that, but she was also charging for critiques. I was surprised to see a writer with a poorly written, cliché story charging services as an editor. To be fair, and I don’t know for sure, but I’m wondering if she is basing her skill on popularity.

I was curious, so I messaged the writer asking what her credentials were. After reading an amazing blog post about how to find a good editor, I wanted to see what this writer had to say.

I know for a fact most of her readers are teens, and I was bothered by this. That leads me to wonder, does the internet create bad writers?

In life, being popular means everything. That thinking process starts as early as elementary school. Therefore, if you have a popular story, you must be a good writer.

giphy-2

Being good at something is subjective, but I fear the internet is downgrading our standards of good writing.

I may be wrong about this, but it’s something that bothers me. As a writer myself who always aims to improve my craft, sometimes I wonder why bother, but then I remember because I love to write.

To my fellow writers, how do you feel about this? Do you think the internet is creating bad writers, or should I ask, do you think it’s reducing what we consider well-written stories? I know some feel that way about self-publishing too.

Sigh…why can’t us little writers get a break?

Also, if you didn’t notice, I was in a Loki mood today.

(All gifs are from giphy.com) 

 

 

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41 thoughts on “Does the Internet Create Bad Writers?

  1. I don’t know if the internet creates bad writers so much as it 1) democratizes any writer’s ability – regardless of skill – to find an audience, and 2) creates a direct link between a reader and the kind of content that panders to their unique interests.

    Thanks to the internet, a reader is better able to find exactly what they’re looking for (even if it comes at the sacrifice of quality) instead of settling for something close (even though its overall quality is objectively better).

    There’s a lot of this in fan fiction. Let’s say you’re a fan of a specific ship that isn’t necessarily super popular within the fandom: chances are you’re going to consume any fics you can find for the sake of having something to read about your pair. Whatever is “best” of the bunch (i.e. caters directly to the wants of the ship’s fanbase) will end up becoming popular, regardless of whether or not the writing itself is any good.

    Is it a bad thing? I don’t necessarily think so (I get obsessed with poorly written fics all the time just because it’s giving me a storyline I want), but as a fellow writer who feels the sting of low reads simply because I don’t write to a popular trope, I can appreciate your frustrations. Keep fighting the good fight and telling the stories you want to tell!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts =)

      I do agree that the interest allows readers to find the stories they want to read and for writers to post their work. However, I think when it comes to charging for an editing service, it becomes a problem. If you are not a qualified to be an editor, I don’t feel asking for readers for money is right. Then again, it is the reader’s decision if they want to get the said writers opinion.

      Ah, I used to write fanfiction, so I know exactly what you mean. Badly written fanfiction never bothered me that much. I feel like fanfiction is another beast lol. For me, the difference lies when you want to publish a book. If you want to publish a story, I find it best to get it edited and make sure it’s well written.

      Thanks! I don’t write a popular trope either, so it’s hard sometimes. I’ll try to^^

      Like

  2. I don’t think that the Internet creates bad writers. I can remember my first fanfictions that I posted and they were terrible grammar and plot-wise. This was because I hadn’t had any experience writing though. Once you have experience writing, you still can make mistakes. I still have to use the grammar tool in Word to make sure I haven’t made mistakes, yet that doesn’t excuse laziness. If you’ve been writing for a while then I would expect you to have a grasp of basic grammar. We all make mistakes once in a while, but let’s not blame the Internet for people who want to be lazy in their writing. That’s my point of view though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I totally agree with you about making mistakes. I use grammarly to double check most of my stories and blog post before posting them.

      It’s not the mistakes that bother me, it’s the charging readers for editing and critique services without having true credentials. However, it’s the readers choice if they decide to pay for such services. Perhaps the basing skill off popularity is where I have a problem. Then again, what can I really say? :p People don’t even read my work.

      Like

    • Also, the writer I was referring to wasn’t writing a fan fiction, it was an original story she wants to publish. If you want to publish a story, I feel it should be a certain standard.

      Like

      • That’s very true. I also agree that you shouldn’t charge people if you don’t have credentials. I think whoever this author is really needs to look at their work and themselves before ‘helping’ others.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you can still see good from bad writing, just sometimes the worst written story is spectacular while the well written one is not your cup of tea. I also think there are a lot of people who don’t care about the writing, just want the story. And sometimes for people like me it helps to see others mistakes in order not to make them myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You actually bring up a fascinating point. A lot of readers will tell me the worst written story is better than the well written one. I can see that, though. However, I feel when it comes charging for services and publishing, your books should be at a certain standard. Then again, that is just me. I do the same thing, too. I like to analyze stories to see what they did well, and what they didn’t do well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If you write something that people want to read–even if you’re not the best writer in the world–you’re doing something right. 😉

    I agree with everyone that this is most evident in fanfic. I’m reading a Destiel fic right now that has a ton of problems with point-of-view and flashbacks, but the story is top notch, Dean and Cas are very much in character and–well, I can bear with just about any writing sins for that!

    Even with original fic, if the story and characters are compelling enough, I’ll stick with it regardless of other issues. (I wouldn’t hire the author as an editor, though.)

    In the end, we all choose what stories we want to spend our time and/or money on. It’s a largely subjective process. I’m just glad so much is out there to choose from!

    Meanwhile, as a writer, I find good stories that are poorly written to be an excellent learning opportunity. What did this author get so right that people love the story despite all its issues?

    Liked by 2 people

    • True, and that’s something I’ve thought about it. I know so many people hate Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey, but those writers are bestsellers, and I’m not. So…yeah

      Hmm, I used to write and read fanfiction, but if the story was poorly written, I didn’t read it. However, I know everyone is different. I’ve seen some of the worst written fiction get 2.2M reads. And when I say badly written, I mean bad =(

      Yes! It is very subjective! As a writer, I don’t tend to read poorly written stories. Since my goal is to improve my craft, I mostly read published or self-published works. If I do read a story online that hasn’t been edited, it has to be really good.

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  5. What did she say in response?

    From what I’ve seen, the Internet doesn’t make bad writers, the bad writers just come out of the wood work. Now, I don’t know if people (in this case, teens) are just that lazy that they’ll devour drivel like a kid with sugar, but it seems to be happening more often. Twilight is one example. Now, I dived into that story in a time of need. I’d just miscarried and needed an escape from my despair, and I had a whole series at my fingertips. To *not* think about the plot holes and hidden abuse behind the blossoming love, it was entertaining. But then I moved on to adult urban fantasy and thus, better writing. This was a big eye opener. As I came out of my grief, I started to realize those little things I was overlooking before. And since, I’ve been able to spot it a mile away (Fifty Shades OMG). I get being entertained. But I think people as a general rule just don’t think too much about what they’re reading. That’s just unfortunate.

    And for that person to think they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread to the point of charging for critiques and editing … now that’s a problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She hasn’t responded to me yet, but once she does, I’ll let you know.

      Lol, you said that so well! The internet doesn’t make bad writers. They just come out. Yes! You got the point of this post – that it seems poorly written stories are growing in popularity. Now, I could be wrong, but I feel like a lot of these stories are emerging from the internet. What bothers me is the ego of these writers.

      I get just being entertained, too, but it surprises me when these writers start charging for editing services. =( I feel the same way. It’s unfortunate people don’t think about they are reading, but maybe it’s something that will never change.

      Yes, the charging is what bothered me the most. If you have editing experience and/or education to back it up, that’s fair. However, if you are going off popularity on Wattpad, then no. I did enjoy reading what everyone thinks. It seems this is a divided discussion. It makes for an interesting read.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes the ego is terrible. One of the drawbacks of being on Instagram is the way people are drawn to awful writers. One guy is insanely popular, but he lacks any knowledge of how grammar works. He overuses the semicolon like it’s sprinkles on a birthday cake with incomplete phrases.

        And yet;
        people
        eat up
        every last
        word.

        *rolls eyes 😆😆

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, yes, the egos are the worst! The last “top writer” who gave me ego I stopped reading her story. And this “top writer” doesn’t even write description in her work or establish backstory in her first chapters. She interests pictures of landscapes for setting > <

        It’s so crazy what people find popular. It’s not just the writing community. A woman who I know who studied makeup said YouTubers make more money than she does :/ The internet is a powerful thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with you. I’ve read some poorly written work on Wattpad as well and it’s often those with an overwhelming number of views. Sometimes, I quit after the first paragraph because of misspelled words and bad grammar which are two things that are very important in writing.

    I don’t think the internet creates bad writers. I think texting does. When people text, they neglect the usage of punctuation and typing out the complete word. That turns to habit and next thing we know, people are doing it everywhere. So no, I don’t think the internet creates bad writers. I think we should blame whoever invented the text lingo. It’s ruining the art of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for understanding. Yes, I agree with you about the Wattpad stories. I can deal with a few errors here and there. We all make mistakes; it’s human. However, I don’t agree with charging for editing and critique services when your own writing isn’t up to par.

      Grammar and spelling are important. I worked really hard to improve my writing. Honestly, it bothers me when I see popular stories that lack that effort.

      Oh, I also agree with you about texting. While I do use text speech sometimes, I know proper writing should be written out. It’s sad, though. Many hard-working writers go to Wattpad hoping to publish, but it’s mostly the poorly written stories getting attention. Wattpad has the potential to provide opportunities to the little writers, but instead focuses on clichés, and whatever makes the most money. I guess that’s like most businesses :/

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s annoying to see, but I don’t know how it can change. I’m thinking of creating a new Wattpad profile to help out. Probably something like Decent Reads, maybe :/ However, I feel time is better spent on my own writing.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love all the Loki gifs. 🙂 I’m not the best at grammar and spelling but I usually can notice if somethings wrong with the writing. It puts me off reading if it has things wrong. Maybe I’m just a picky reader though, but if I love a story or books then I make sure I tell the writer cause we need to encourage those who do put such a great effort into their writing, just to satisfy readers like me. 😀 ❤ Anyway nice post!
    P.S. I probs didn't answer any of the questions you asked but hey I just really like the Loki gifs. 😀

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting =) You didn’t need answers the questions lol. I love the Loki gifs, too. Since I was blogging about a serious topic, I also wanted to add humor to it. Oh, I’m the worst with grammar and spelling, but I do agree we should put effort into our work.

      I’m a picky reader, too. If a story is badly written, and the author shows no signs of wanting to fix it, I move on.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 50 Shades of Grey has sold over 125 million copies world wide; a book that is rife with some of the worst writing I have ever lain eyes upon in my life. That being said, it started as a work of fan fiction and while that doesn’t necessarily make it bad as a rule, it is my experience that self-fulfilling prophecies and fantasies are more the forte of fan fic writers than actually contributing significant content. I honestly wonder if a qualified editor even looked at it before it was published. However, most people aren’t looking for comma splices, sentence fragments, or run on sentences. They are looking for entertainment and the majority of the public will settle for what requires the least of them. Those who aren’t active readers want a book that reads good, not a book that reads well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beautifully said! I feel you summed up the public in one paragraph.”They are looking for entertainment and the majority of the public will settle for what requires the least of them.”

      ^^^ -> This sentence was enough to make me feel this discussion has reached its end. I firmly believe people just want entertainment, not something well written. I guess that’s why movie directors like Michael Bay do so well. Action, explosions, and little plot lol

      Maybe I should retire from blogging about writing advice lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Let’s say the ratio b/w bad and good writers historically has been 20/1. (Hypothetical number) Which means that for every twenty people, one could write well. Now, this one writer would historically have to go through a lot of pain to get published and hence a lot of pseudo writers got weeded out. The Internet just creates ‘many’ writers since the cost of producing/ creating goes down. While historically, you never got to see the work of the other 19 writers, that barrier is gone with the Internet. So, it’s simply signal and noise ratio. The signal quality has gone up with the Internet : lot more good writers getting visibility. Sadly, so has the noise. 🙂

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    • This is so true! You wrote this so well. With the internet, there is more noise (bad writers) emerging. Like you said, in the past, those writers never would have gotten through the publishing door.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think the Internet really “creates” bad writers. It’s more like the Internet are inclusive of bad writers and readers who are bored and don’t normally gravitate towards books flood these sites. And she charged for editing? What a scam

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made a good point when you said, “readers who are bored and don’t normally gravitate towards books flood these sites.” That makes a lot of sense. A lot of these readers don’t know good writing. Yes, it is a scam.

      Like

  11. I agree about internet. That’s how I felt about texting and how texting ruined the knowledge of spelling. I mean seriously!

    When, I used to be part of a writers collaboration website, I agreed to write a collab with a person because he was new, excited, and didn’t know anyone except for me. It was one of my worst experiences with collaboration works. He had a plan to take the story but would never share it, he never edited his sentences and most words were writing in phone text style. Considering that I was nice and couldn’t tell him to change because I really thought that he was writing like that and that was his best ability, I let it go until I couldn’t take it anymore. One of my friends stood up for me and told the person that he/she needed to be better to me and that the writing was horrible. After that, the writer wrote in full sentences, less caps, less mistakes and it was easier to read, however, I still was playing by ear, following his pages. It was amazing to see the writer take the initiative to write better and I wish that I didn’t assume that he/she was just a novice at writing though it truly felt that way.

    So, from that experience, I learned that some people don’t care to write well. They think that it is okay to write without regard to readers because of their story idea.

    Also, because this is the internet and people know that people like reading freebie stories online, that idea of ‘freebie’ can go into someone’s head. If people like the hook of a page, they will continue reading. The author may start to forget about own writing ability if people read anyway and not complain about the writing, the writer will not care about fixing the mistakes. I believe that bad writing online is not just the author’s fault, but also the readers. If the reader doesn’t comment on it, than it’s not a problem.

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  13. I don’t think the Internet creates bad writers. It’s just a medium, a platform where people can post their stories, good or bad. While bad writers are out there, there are also good writers, too, even if they tend to not be as popular as the bad ones. But then, if you were to interview readers of that “bad” writer, they won’t see them as bad at all. They love the story, the journey, even with all the grammatical mistakes. Wattpad is also a place where people post their rough drafts. It’s not necessarily a place to post your masterpiece. Some people write from their phones and post them and whatever mistakes remain. The final draft will be reserved for publication while they’re busy writing the next story. And like you said, a lot of the readers are teens and usually they’re on the go. They read the words and move on. They don’t dwell on the mistakes. If not for the internet we’d be back to the gatekeepers again, the stuck up people who held all the power on whether your work is good or bad. Instead the internet made it a democracy. People are reading and telling the writers this is what we want. It’s not the grammatical mistakes or the tropes – it’s the experience that writer is taking them on.

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    • Ah, I do agree the internet doesn’t make bad writers, but what bothers me more is when you charge for services. This writer was charging her readers for editing and critiques. That’s what I have a problem with it. I don’t think a writer should charge unless they have experience or education to back it up. Personally, being Wattpad popular doesn’t count to me.

      Alas, you are correct about the gatekeeper thing. However, like another commenter pointed out, a lot of bad writing seems to be getting published from the internet these days. I think that stems from like you said: readers don’t care about grammar and spelling anymore, they just want a good story.

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  14. I’ve seen it happen all too often, I understand if you’re just starting out and finding your feet, but some people have been blogging for years and don’t seem to have improved their writing. Now for some, “dont fix what aint broke” is a life motto which works for their blogs and writing, but for others it sticks out like a sore thumb. Another point though, I work for a media company and theyve started differentiating between newspaper readers, online readers and mobile readers. They’ve noted that each type of reader expects a different writing style. So far, it has worked for the company as they’re pulling in most of the market share in my country (South Africa). Nevertheless, your post was an interesting read. Social media lauds the popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Thanks so much for commenting on this blog post. I agree with you! The said writer I blogged about is not young, she has stated she is a wife and mother. So, I figured she would at least try to improve her writing. However, like you said, some people don’t want to change if things are working out for them.

      I can’t really talk, however, because she is a popular writer online and I’m not. Yes, there really is a difference between newspaper readers, online readers, and mobile readers. In fact, I also feel there is a difference between readers and published book readers.

      A lot of online readers and mobile readers want a quick read, with chapters that are straight to the point. I’ve also noticed that they don’t seem to care about character development as much. Get right to the action and romance! No waiting.

      Ugh, yes, social media does laud the popular, not matter what their skill level is.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Personally, I think it goes both ways. I have gotten better at writing through the feedback I have received, and listened to constructive criticism. And started to improve a lot. Which I may have never gotten to if I written mostly offline.

    Liked by 1 person

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