You know what’s kinda sad? Reading a novel and having the initial reaction of, Ohmigod, this book is AMAZING — it isn’t chock-full of blatant grammatical errors or silly punctuation mistakes!
It shouldn’t stand out; it shouldn’t be rare. It should be commonplace for a novel not to have multiple errors on every fucking page. Basic competence on the part of the author should not be sufficient to make the reader happy-dance over having picked up a book that is actually, y’know, readable.
Mind you, the novel I’m reading now is competently written — and also a damn good story with interesting characters and a fascinating setting. So was the book I read right before this one. (I don’t know how I got so lucky.) However, as I’ve said before, if the writing is such a mess that the reader can’t even find the plot and the characters and the setting, the Bestest Story Idea in the World doesn’t mean a thing.
Last week I read a darkly whimsical story about dead people on a quest. Now I’m reading a novel about dead gods, a murder, and stairs going nowhere. (Honestly, that one had me at stairs going nowhere; I’ve always liked that particular imagery.) I’m a happy reader… and also a sad reader, because books like these — good writing and good story — aren’t nearly as common as they ought to be.