I had intended to spend my evening last night editing, but a giant migraine stole my attention. I read instead. I am currently reading Dark Visions - a young adult trilogy about a group of psychic teenagers. I read this in high school and loved it. Now that I am older, and writing the same genre, my opinion has vastly changed. There was definitely a different standard of writing for teens back in the 90's. An albeit lower standard.
The sad realization in all of this is that's how I learned to write fiction - that was the style I initially copied when starting out all those years ago. Aside from being littered with adverbs, and sentences that don't read smoothly, the supposed love triangle is, well, amateur. And by that I mean: I don't buy it. As an adult, I'm not convinced at all that the main character, Kaitlyn, is in love with her boyfriend when the entire focus of the book rests on another guy, Gabriel. I can see what the author was doing - she was trying to build tension, to force angst. The problem is the whole thing is forced, and any brief mention of the boyfriend only serves as a reminder that Kaitlyn doesn't have any real reason to be in love with him.
But my teenage mind didn't think so. I remember being in love with this book, so much so that 15+ years later I looked it up on Amazon and purchased a copy. So where does that leave me? I guess it all boils down to something I've longed prescribed to: all that truly matters about a story is how it makes you feel. The structure might suck, the writing might be mediocre, but if it makes you feel something unforgettable then it's worth reading. (Which is exactly why I'm still reading this book - because down under all the crap there's a pretty good story there.)
Should that be an excuse to produce poor work? Hell no. I have written so many hundreds of thousands of words that I can't give you an accurate count, but all of that blood/sweat/tears has been for one endeavor: improvement. Not to be the best (because people like Stephen King and Scott Westerfeld have already taken the cake on that), but to be better. To never stop pushing myself. And that's my plea to fellow artists - keep doing what you love no matter what, because there's bound to be inconceivable beauty right around the corner.