Writing for me is a thing which I’ve barely scratched the surface. However, understanding more about what makes “good” and “bad” writing is definitely having an effect on how I perceive things which I would have previously enjoyed without question.
Case in point; The Long War by Terry Pratchett/Steven Baxter which is the follow-up to the The Long Earth; a story about how the barriers between realities are suddenly and permanently dropped, leading to a mass-migration of mankind across unpopulated worlds. The story is moved on a number of years, but a number of plot points in the first book are trampled over and several new are introduced about with the delicacy of a bull in a china shop. To the point when the big twist finally occurs, it’s cannot be a surprise to anyone given numerous and clumsy references to in the preceding chapters. The characterisation of several non-humans is terrible, right out of 50’s Scifi and not in a good way, honestly some of the characters in my kid’s books are better developed.
A further revelation came last night; Star Trek Voyager (which is now available on Lovefilm, Amazon UK’s streaming video service) is in fact rubbish. I’ve previously watched Voyager on Terrestrial TV, but having exhausted LF’s Sci-Fi catalogue I couldn’t resist; however I got about three episodes in before I realised that the script relies far-too-much on the Last-minute technological arse-pull; magically inventing something previously referred to as the saviour from a seemingly impossible situation. Sadly real life, even in the future doesn’t work like that. I never noticed this in a TV Show which I’ve previously enjoyed, but now it stick out like a sore thumb. I may have been able to forgive this deep in the doldrums of a fifth series, but Episode 3? Surely the writing discipline should have been at its peak?
If nothing else, it’ll serve as a reminder of “things not to do” in writing, and no doubt I’ll still watch Star Trek and buy the next Pratchett book when it comes out, although I suspect I’ll enjoy it a little less.