Why is good so good?
What makes something good good? Obviously, if I had a simple solution to that question, I’d be a millionaire. However, if you’re one of those people who can think and analyze something, then you might like this idea.
In short, in order to what makes something good, look at what is considered good overall. Then, look at what is average. What is the differences between the good and the average; that is what actually makes something good.
I’ve found myself doing this a lot recently. The first time I did it was when I listened to Brian Regan for a couple hours. Then, it just happen that I listened to Tim Hawkins. (He’s a Christian comedian, which is probably why you haven’t heard of him.) In all reality, he wasn’t that funny. However, by seeing them so closely back-to-back, I could easily see what made Brian Regan so good, and what worked for both of them.
Same thing with comic strips. I read Pearls before Swine every so often. I like it; I think it’s pretty funny. (Now I bet that’s something you normally don’t see together. A Christian comedian reference and something as dark as Pearls.) Anyway, if you didn’t know, Lion Brand also tries to have it’s own comic strip about a silly little old lady named Lola. It’s basically pretty lame. However, I’ve been trying to compare Pearls with Lola and that gives me, not as good if an idea, but a pretty good idea how to make a decent comic strip.
This, obviously, can apply to writing too, which is why reading a bad book isn’t always a waste of your time. Just look at what made it bad and don’t do it in your own writing.