“Good writing is like a windowpane.”
I have reached a point where I hate to give reviews or critiques. I read a book or a manuscript, and I love it. Someone else comes along and tears the writing apart. I find fault with someone’s writing, and the story goes on to win awards or become a best seller. Critics say Fifty Shades of Grey and The Da Vinci Code are poorly written; yet millions of copies of those books have been sold. The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize. According to Amazon, 13,593 (as of today) readers gave the book positive reviews. But 8,219 readers, myself included in that number, gave it critical reviews, many stating the book needed a good editor, one willing to cut a third of the prose.
Books that we now call classics have been rejected multiple times by editors and publishers who are supposed to know what’s good.
So what is good?
Literary writers consider commercial fiction inferior. Genre writers consider most literary fiction obtuse or pompous or without meaning.
I think most writers believe the story they’ve just finished and sent off to a publisher (or have self-published) is good, maybe as good as any of the great books. Even with the work brought to a critique group, the writers may expect a few changes (minor ones, of course), but they don’t expect to be told to dump a chapter or that their writing doesn’t make sense. (It obviously made sense to them.)
So who is right? Or is there a right or wrong?
I really don’t know.