Bad writing is like the flu. It’s out there. It may be spreading. We try to innoculate by teaching grammer rules and proper characterization, but new strains are growing every day. No matter how much knowledge has advanced, this thing is just never completely eradicated. And if you’re a writer, you worry from time to time that you may catch it.
If only we knew where it lives and breeds… we could kill it at the source. But we don’t. So we just wait, knowing somewhere, somewhen, it’ll manifest itself. And the world around it will groan and gnash their teeth.
While I could go into depth with what form bad writing takes and preventative measures, I have bigger fish to fry like trying to fend off the teenage vampire apocalypse. Luckily, the work’s largely been done already by the kind folks at TV Tropes.
There’s a reason these guys are one of my links below. This wiki is the most hilarious thing out there in terms of story analysis. If you haven’t been there, be prepared to spend several hours on it… one click leads to two or three others easy.
They have a page dedicated to bad writing. Here’s an excerpt:
Shilling the Wesley: Having popular characters suddenly talk up the character the audience hates isn’t going to work if the audience isn’t given any other reason to start liking the hated character.
Strawman Has a Point: If you can’t even attack strawmen without being defeated, you may need a new profession.
The list is pretty comprehensive. And each link takes you to a page which explains the trope of said offense. In every case, the bad writing is analyzed. And it’s all so painfully true.
So writers! Read the list and vaccinate yourselves against the bad writing pandemic! Readers, find therapy in looking at the things you hate most on tv and movies, carefully examined by others that also share your pain.