On the Quality of Writing

Booking Through Thursday asks,

I’ve seen many bloggers say that what draws them to certain books or authors is good writing, and what causes them to stop reading a certain book or author is bad writing. What constitutes good writing and bad writing to you?

Let’s consider bad writing first. There are a few things which I tend to identify with bad writing. Bad dialogue for one, particularly when all the characters speak just like the author does. Slow or uneven pacing is another. But worst of all is a writer who’s trying desperately to be clever but who ends up being transparent or predictable.

As for good writing, well, either the author becomes invisible in the face of an exciting story and well developed characters therein, or (and this is a bit more rare), the voice of the author takes center stage, and the entertainment is all in the telling of the story.

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One thought on “On the Quality of Writing”

  1. What a good topic for discussion!

    I like authors who are so observant that they pass along nuances that I’ve felt but never put into words before, or write in such a way that I view things differently after reading their stuff. With good writers, I am sad for the book to end, and find myself wishing I could pick up another book to find out what’s going on with the characters.

    When I’m reading something I consider bad, what I dislike about it is often that I find myself not caring about any of the characters. I don’t need the physical attributes laid out in excruciating detail for a character to become real to me. I need some of that, but more importantly, I need to understand their motivation and perspective.

    Then there are authors who I enjoy for their style, as you mention: Tom Robbins and Arundhati Roy come to mind, as well as certain relatives I have who can really spin a great yarn.

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