Ten Secrets: Writers, Books, Good and Bad

Points to ponder

♠1. Good girls and good boys rarely grow up to become good writers.

♠2. The good in good person and the good in good book is almost never the same thing.

Evil Eeyore
(Photo credit: ybnormalman)

♠3. You can’t have a good book full of only good people.

♠4. A bad book is almost never bad because of the bad people in it. If anything, good bad characters make a book super good.

Day 65/365: Lobster Cat
(Photo credit: SisterMaryEris)

♠5. A  writer cannot be all good if s/he wants to write a good book. Bad thoughts generate good ideas.

♠6. A writer cannot draw from only good experiences in life if s/he wants to be a good writer. No experience is too bad, too low, too shallow, too trite or too inconsequential to be put in a good book.

그레이의 50가지 그림자
(Photo credit: kiyong2)

♠7. No book can be too bad, too racy, too objectionable or too shallow  to be read by a person who aspires to write with an open mind.

Area Fifty-One Shades Of Grey
(Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

♠8. No task or company is beneath a writer. A writer must do as many kinds of work, get to know as many kinds of people, get into as many situations as possible.

(Photo credit: ConvenienceStoreGourmet)

♠9. A writer has to be a gossip. Absorb other people’s lives, see them up close and personal, and then imagine the rest. Be as curious as possible about others.

♠10. A writer has to be present wherever there is drama, observe, yet be detached and not get sucked in so all points of views remain clear.


97 thoughts on “Ten Secrets: Writers, Books, Good and Bad”

  1. Oscar Wilde, who was often berated for the subject matter and content in his only novel, had the same thought process: ‘There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.’ The writer is merely the commentator of the spectacle; the book itself isn’t the spectacle but the world itself, of which we are all responsible for.

    By the way, thank you Bottledworder for ‘liking’ one of my posts (Reflections on…the modern world: part 6). I’m pleased you enjoyed the read. If you would like to read more, you can follow me at newsreviewsreflections.wordpress.com. That goes for everyone else too; every one with a keen interest in words, news, reviews and reflections.

    Many thanks


  2. Excellent !!! Point 1 – so true…… of course, that doesn’t apply to me of course…no absolutely not….never…-adjusts stolen halo-


  3. Reblogged this on Shelley's Blog and commented:
    Good Post. Yes, the good in books equates to a lot of bad…or at least the ability write about it creatively. When you have good bad guys and good bad situations…that’s a good book. People read it and stay involved. So, too much of a good thing really is bad for you? Or is it a lot of bad things can be good for you?


  4. Number 9 made me think of the Ceylonese community (I’m Ceylonese btw) and I grinned reading that a writer has to be a gossip. I have yet to meet another community (in my very biased mind) that could ace the Ceylonese in the gift of gossiping 😛
    Nice points though…made me think of what I have been reading, there is no good or bad Universally speaking for all things are meant to be as it is. It unfolds as it does towards a purpose…the evolution of the human spirit.


  5. This is an extremely true and correct list. Thank you. #9 is my favorite fact here. I’m not big on gossip, but I’M HUGE on listening to others conversations, people watching, and creating the lives of strangers in my mind.


  6. True & excellent… I must stay detached & not get sucked in, I must stay detached and not get sucked in… maybe if I say it enough it will stick… 😀


  7. You hit on something here. It relieves me in a way. I always wondered why I was a gossip. I’m also an eavesdropper when I’m in a public place. And I’ve always said writing the bad parts of good characters or writing the bad characters is always the most fun. It gives me a chance to get all that crap out of my head without getting into trouble. But trouble is not always such a bad thing, especially for a writer.


  8. Have to agree with just about all of the points, any story or novel needs some kind of conflict and if you dont have bad how can you see how good is really good? I also agree that happy agreeable comfortable people will unlikely make good writers – they wont have had too many bad experiences to draw on when they come to write about conflict or bad situations. In any feel-good book, novel, story, film good has to triumph over evil but the baddie has to be good and believable and a complex character with an interesting personal history. Yes Bad can be Good for writers!!


  9. Interesting. About #10, – keeping all points of view clear – that may be good for a news report, but one can also write a biased opinion piece and draw strong reactions 🙂 is that good or bad?


  10. Although I didn’t like fifty shades of gray (for other reasons besides the raciness), I like your #7. I’m a firm believer in reading everything, despite bad reviews, so I can give something an honest opinion. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  11. Can’t think of you as a goody-goody anymore 😉 “Jonathan Livingstone Seagull” was a goody good book i liked,or did I skip some salacious parts. My first best bady good book was “Lady Chatterly’s Lover”. Guess I’m some kind of wholesome-erotic.


  12. I liked this, it made me smile. I largely agree, though like an above poster, I was a little wary of the dichotomous notion of “good” and “bad” characters and writers. It depends on how you want to define those words, but I can’t even imagine that writers/characters aren’t an inseparable mixture of the two. Still, I especially liked number four– I took it to refer to flawed characters, and those are my butter and biscuits. 🙂


  13. Yes, have a lot of different experiences to gain different perspective. Never seen this subject put just like this. Love your knack. got me smiling, at how much drama my life has been, for the first time just like this.


  14. your points make me sad… i feel like i’ll never be a good writer. i don’t like gossipers… i also think that some people write racy stuff just to make a buck, not actually write literature or for people who want to actually read good books… i know you mean it tongue-in-cheek. i mean this comment that way too. 🙂 fun post!


  15. I really appreciated these secrets, but I have to object to three (sorta 4) of them.
    #1/#4 – You have to redefine “good” and “bad” people. In my world, good people are not people who have no bad thoughts; they are people who have bad thoughts and choose not to act on them. Therefore a good person can tap into their “bad” thoughts. You quite correctly state these are necessary for imaginative writing. People with no bad thoughts aren’t really good–they just lack imagination. 😉
    #7 – Occasionally, reading something poorly written leads you to consider how to avoid the similar traps, and reading something shallow leads you to consider what could have been added to bring more depth, but reading racy and objectionable stuff just fills your soul with garbage. I know this opinion might not be shared by others (feel free to disagree below), and I believe people have every right to write such things, but there’s no reason people should feel they HAVE to read such things. Reading things that are racy or objectionable is completely unnecessary for good writing.
    #9 – A writer should be OBSERVANT (possibly both nosy and an eavesdropper, as Ms. Noelle states). That’s what I think you mean to say. A gossip is someone who blabs about other people. Not the same. I agree that real life experiences (yours and others’) should contribute to your work, should seed your writing, but telling the world about your pal’s affair or health issue or whatever because it makes a good story would be a horrible incursion on their privacy, and almost a theft. Make the story yours by changing details, names, locations, altering the context, fictionalizing, whatever. You’ll keep more friends that way, too.


    1. I’m really glad that you thought these points (written partly tongue-in-cheek, I confess) warranted such in-depth comments. “People with no bad thoughts aren’t really good–they just lack imagination.” You said this better than me.
      #7: Yes, I agree. No one has to read everything. But to me, even the worst kinds of subject matter handled badly teaches me about gaps in logic, failures of description or other things one must not do. Even badly depicted scenes (in the case of unnecessarily racy stuff) can teach what does not work. If the scenes are done well but one objects to their content, I think one can still admire the technique. #9: Yes. Absolutely. I don’t like revealing my own or other people’s personal details. If a writer does not have enough imagination to come up with fictional names and places, what kind of writer is s/he?
      The reason I used the word “gossip” was partly in jest but also partly because certain kinds of writing, say ones dealing with the domestic sphere or relationships or women’s writing are often dismissed as “gossipy” or “chick lit” or whetever else–as though they are not important. I guess I was implicitly objecting to this kind of dismissal of what I consider good writing that needs respect.
      Thanks for a great comment. I really appreciate such comments that show a reader has read me critically.


  16. 50 Shades isn’t bad because it’s about depraved and/or submissive sex between a power tripper and some weak bimbos. It’s bad because 1) It’s written poorly and 2) honestly, you can only take so much textual erotica before it starts to repeat itself and all the descriptions sound forced (ha ha) and boring. I invoke Rule 4 on 50 Shades of Grey.


  17. Reblogged this on DarkBrightly and commented:
    Interesting thoughts from bottledworder to help prep for National Novel Writing Month.

    How do you plan? Do you plan, or are you a pantser (seat-of-the-pantser)?

    I’m stuck this year, debating whether I should even try. I’m so busy, but I love writing, and I need a kick in the pants to get going. NaNo is the perfect kick – I just need to take advantage of it. Not only do I have no plot, I have no characters, no setting, nothing. Yet. Please feel free to suggest things, because I am stuck.


    1. Also being overwhelmed by fear, love or any other emotion isn’t a good accompaniment to writing unless they are carefully controlled. That’s why the detachment is necessary. Right?


  18. So much truth here … and neither good or bad wins. Your own observations and personal experience are showing in this piece. To my way of thinking this sort of thing can’t be learned from books, but only through life.


  19. hmm interesting post. #7 esp hits home to me since my review for 50 Shades was that it was good birdcage liner. Seeing it from #7 though, changes how I feel about that book in particular just a bit.


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