The Worst Novelist Ever

I have a desk calendar of 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said, and for March 13, 2018, we have this:

Apparently this prose was written by Amanda McKittrick Ros, considered to be the worst novelist ever. She died in 1939, so way too early for Bulwer-Lytton contests. I’d never heard of her!

Her name does sound a little familiar, but I would have guessed that I recognized it from Twitter :smiley:

So, what does the Doper Literati think? Does she out-Bulwer Lytton?

From my own personal experience, I’d have to go with James Fenimore Cooper. (And I’m sure someone will come along and post the link showing that Mark Twain agrees with me.)

My vote would be Atlas Shrugged. I would hope that Middle school students in the USA are no longer compelled to this suffer through this book.

I read the Slate article. I wonder if she spoke like she wrote?

OK, I was going to suggest Dan Brown (and link to the obligatory deconstruction of that (in)famous first paragraph of The Da Vinci Code here), but really, Mrs Ros seems to be in a class of her own…

Very happy to oblige.

She seems to be the literary equivalent of what The Shaggs were to music. Inasmuch as she transcended awfulness to achieve a weird sort of greatness.

That’s even worse than E. L. James (the Fifty Shades writer). But not by much…

What? No votes for Lionel Fanthorpe?

Bad as you may think Dan Brown or E.L. James is, Fanthorpe is incomparably worse. I’ve written about him many times on this Board.

I highly recommend having a look at his works: – I agree. I own a copy of Galaxy 666, and it is appallingly bad, showcasing Fanthorpe’s “Writing by Thesaurus” style.

I read of these authors and think two things.

  1. Maybe my own scribbling isn’t that bad or
  2. Maybe it is and I’m too un-self-aware to know it.

*Curls up in a ball and weeps.

**Twilight **is one of the worst novels I’ve read, but I avoid the really bad stuff. Stephanie Meyer might develop into someone with talent, but that book was, to me, unpublishable in its current state.

James Patterson gets a bad reputation, too. Mainly because he isn’t really writing the books with his name on them. He is “Thomas Kinkading” it by having other others write while he thinks up ideas. I am reading Treasure Hunters with my son now and it is a really good book. I bet Patterson inputted almost nothing to it.

An “arctic seal”?! Oh, yeah, we can all relate to that description. :rolleyes:

Actually, it gives me hope, especially as I contemplate my huge list of rejections, that even writers as bad as these can get published. If they can, there’s hope for me yet.
I mean, Fanthorpe’s Magnum Opus, Galaxy 666 was published EIGHT TIMES!!

It was translated into Italian (probably using an Italian thesaurus). It was published by Gateway/Orion, who should know better. And they published it TWICE!

An Jim THeiss’ The Eye of Argon has been published three times, despite being a running joke in the science fiction convention community (the last time as an e-book)

So consider this – If these people can be published, there’s an editor out there with a low enough threshold that you can be published too. All you have to do is find them.

I had to read a book for school once and it was painful. I forget the title or author but I bet someone here knows. It was about 3 kids who were abandoned in a mall parking lot by their mother so they head out in search of their grandmother. I remember something like 3 pages were devoted to how they licked their ice cream cones, I’m not joking.

Yes, but what if they were published to be LAUGHED AT? :eek:

And we really didn’t need to know the color eyelashes that badly. And the author explicitly states that ONLY arctic seals are that color. Except the eyelashes are, too.

I can tolerate all kinds of “storytelling sins” that editors like to tweet long bitching lists of, but I can’t tolerate shitty writing like that. If you can’t get your damn sentences in order, I don’t trust you with the larger story.

My trifecta from the best seller’s lists are Dan Brown, Patricia Cornwell and Sue Grafton. Whoever told the last one she could write was mentally ill.

My vote for Worst Novelist Ever goes to Basil Heatter.

His oeuvre includes such classics as Devlin’s Triangle (which is the worst detective story I have ever read), and Harry and the Bikini Bandits, which sounds amusing, but probably isn’t.