Really a great book is phenomenal. Being in the hands of a master storyteller is second to none for entertainment and enjoyment in my opinion. But a problem with reading the best is that it gives you a skewed sense of reality. Reading awesome stories can teach you so much, that cannot be in doubt, but it is like watching a pro athlete. When you watch one of the best baseball pitchers in the league they make it look easy. But in fact what they are doing is the fraught with difficulty and problems that they are in the moment overcoming. It is anything from easy. So often when you read a bad, and sometimes just mediocre book, it can teach you a way lot more about the craft and what not to do. What are some good examples of this that you guys can bring up?
This is difficult for me to come up with examples for because typically when I read a bad book I just put it down, but I will try anyway. I was reading Let the Galaxy Burn a Warhammer 40,000 anthology and I noticed a problem in one of the stories. It was Children of the Emperor by Barrington J Bayley. The main character is Guardsmen Floscan Hartoum, simple enough. But throughout the rest of the story the character is referred to interchangeably. Sometimes Floscan sometimes Hartoum. So that I thought it was two separate characters. The lesson is that if the main character's name is John just call him John. Not Jack, Jacky, Johnathon, Mr. Norton. Its confusing to the reader. Now once you get a few chapters in friends can call him by a nickname or his mother can call him Jack if she wants, because by then the readers are familiar enough with the character.