Life is too short to read bad books - or even half-good or not-totally-rotten books. But if you do find a "bad book", what makes it bad? (I mean, the readers scoff at certain books, like Twilight or Da Vinci Code, but the editors will tell you that if you'd only read some of the slush pile, you'd think Twilight was actually ok.) You could say it's the missing storyline, but that is not true. There is a storyline, somewhere in there. So what made you miss it?
Learn from others' mistakes, don't just criticize, judge and complain ;-)
In his book "Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer", Roy Peter Clark says: "Using a method of close reading, I find a passage that intrigues me, put on my X-ray glasses, and peer beneath the surface of the text to view the invisible machinery of language, syntax, rhetoric, and critical thinking that creates the effects I experience as a reader. I then forge what I see into a writing tool."
(Follow the link. It takes you to a rather thorough article on how to close read, by Patricia Kain, for the Writing Center at Harvard University.)
Want to write bad novels? Here's how
Names to run away from real fast
"At first the names of these boys seem a bit pretentious: Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Phury, Vishous and Tohrment. There’s also Butch, a terrific human cop. A few pages into the book and you forget about the names – and in fact, they suit the characters brilliantly."
"Szadist is well named. He was sold as a slave when he was young and ended up a blood and sex slave for someone referred to only as the Mistress. He suffered unspeakable abuse – mental, physical, sexual and is now a ‘damaged being’. Out of control, sinister, sadistic, etc."
The thing is that if your readers like your book, they won't mind the names :-)
Purple Prose Parody contest :-D
BTW, from one of the 2006 entries: "I am Beyotch, fiercest of the Vampire, member of the Red Stiletto Sisterhood With my band of warrior-priestess sisters - Whench, Skankh, Harhpie, Tsukabus, and Piszed-offe"
ROTFLMAO! I love Piszed-offe :-D
P.S. I found this: "How to find unique names for your characters", and sure... it's good advice, if you want an uncommon name... but why would you want that?
Sure, it's better to name your Fantasy hero Kraom than George, but... I really HATE VEHEMENTLY the efforts of people to have "unique" names.
Sure, I'm Ketutar, and that's pretty unique, so who am I to say anything, but my "real" name is Sanna, and that's pretty usual. The thing is that I don't need to spell my name to anyone :-D
Think about Twilight - the characters have totally common names; Bella, Edward and Jacob.
Think about Narnia books. Lucy, Susan, Peter and Edmund. Edmund isn't that common today, but it's still a normal name.
You don't NEED to write about Quylene Cybrnac.
You can use a phone book to find your names, or obituaries. Or competitors' list at a sports event.