What Makes "Good Writing" Good?

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    • #167 Reply
      elishaemerson
      Keymaster

      I want you to think back to the last text you read and enjoyed. Maybe it was a detective novel. Maybe it was a paragraph from your biology textbook. Maybe it was the back of a cereal box. For simplicity’s sake, let’s say your enjoyment alone qualifies the writing as “good.” Keep in mind that there are many reasons to enjoy a text and therefore many reasons why a reader would call something “good.”

      I want us to generate a list of varying opinion, varying tastes, and enthusiasms. What, in your opinion, makes good writing good?

    • #168 Reply
      elishaemerson
      Keymaster

      I take a lot of pleasure in word choice. When the language is fresh AND fitting I tend to lean in and say “Ah!”

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by elishaemerson.
    • #187 Reply
      Maleigh Citro
      Guest

      Depth makes “good writing” good. I think that if you can read a book, an article, an essay, or whatever it may be, multiple times and still be intrigued and finding something new within the piece, then the piece was written well.

      • #189 Reply
        Kyle Brennan
        Guest

        I completely agree! If a piece is worth reading multiple times and still gives you enjoyment then it is definitely good writing. In fact, the best writings I have ever read have came from articles that uncover more and more information with each read.

      • #202 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        I love talking about layers when we talk about reading. I’ve read these essays dozens of time and still find they change with every reading!

    • #188 Reply
      Kyle Brennan
      Guest

      “Good writing” to me is often something that I can relate to in multiple ways. For example, I enjoyed reading an article in a magazine this morning about various fishing techniques that work in Southern Maine. My enjoyment that came from this article is due to my love for fishing and my new home here in Southern Maine. This article was good reading for it not only incorporated my interests, but it also related to my personal location here at UNE and therefore “hooked” me.

      • #203 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        I think connecting with ours readers–striving to write relevant content–is a fantastic goal for our essays. Nice!

    • #192 Reply
      Sara Tancredi
      Guest

      To me, “good writing” is something that says one thing, yet you can take it a different way. It gets you thinking and gives you the ability to relate it to something in your life. When you discuss the piece to someone else, they interpreted it in their own way.

      • #197 Reply
        Sydney Kane
        Guest

        I loved this answer. My sister and I usually end up reading the same books and I always am so interested when we read the same text but end up with different conclusions or feelings about it. It really helps discussion flow and that can help you view what you’re reading in a totally different way.

      • #204 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        I love this answer, too! I think this quality can be a product of honest writing. Honesty–which often leads to nuance–leaves our readers with something “real.” Something to talk about. Great!

    • #193 Reply
      Sammi Roche
      Guest

      In my eyes, “good writing” is when the reader is able to imagine themselves in whatever it is they are reading. They are able to see themselves in the situation doing whatever it is that is going on, and feeling the emotions that the characters might be feeling. Instead of the story just passing through the readers eyes into their brain and out their ears, “good writing” is something that should stick with you and have a good affect on you. It should be something you can constantly go back to and every time you do, you should be able to feel the whole experience again, just like the first time.

      • #205 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        Writing vivid sentences can be a real but fun challenge as we write these essays. I want to challenge you to think of ways to make your ideas “come alive” to your readers. Any ideas?

    • #194 Reply
      Kacie Flahive
      Guest

      I like to think “good writing” is writing that really makes you think and open your eyes. I especially enjoy when the reading is something that makes you think over and even question what you believe you already know. The writing shouldn’t be one dimensional, it should be something that brings the words to life in a solid concept. If the writing truly makes you think in an in-depth way, I think it is “good writing”.

      • #206 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        How do you get your readers thinking? This is a great one! As you read Henig—try reading with this question in the back of your mind. Notice the moments she gets your gears turning. Try to figure out what’s she’s done.

    • #196 Reply
      Jack Lamont
      Guest

      to me, “good writing” is something that pulls you in to the given topic and makes you want to finish reading it. a piece of writing is “good” if you can envision the characters or place just from the descriptions. if a piece of writing has enough detail and character development that you can “see” the characters/places then it has been written well.

      • #207 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        This makes me think of Henig’s introduction. This is an essay, not the place you would expect character or description–yet, there they are! I think a lot can ride on those first sentences. We will want to strive to write introductory paragraphs that draw our readers in. This is great! Thank you!

    • #198 Reply
      Sydney Kane
      Guest

      I think good writing is when the author can make you feel something. Like in fiction writing when you feel angered, saddened, elated, or even embarrassed alongside the main character then the author has done an amazing job. If it’s an article or essay and the author can make you think twice about what they’re writing about then they have done a good job.

      • #199 Reply
        Jack Lamont
        Guest

        I completely agree, I usually read fantasy books and whenever I “feel” what the main character “feels” thats when I know the author did a good job.

      • #208 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        I love that you brought this up. Do you think that emotion can play a role inside of an essay?

    • #200 Reply
      Glenn Rose
      Guest

      The best writing that I have come across through my life is that which provides me with thought-provoking questions, whether intended or not. Possibly a story could change my outlook on things I have strong opinions on, or get me more informed so that I become less ignorant to conflict or discussion. Not just writing can have this effect either, music, theater, dance, art, film, etc. can influence me in ways I can’t comprehend. My favorite works of art have changed my life, such as Into The Wild and Pay It Forward have taught me to be spontaneous, kind, and enjoy the little things in life. The more knowledge I gain, the more questions I have.

      • #209 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        Writing that challenges our world view? Yes! This is my favorite kind of writing, as well! I loved Into The Wild. I want to challenge you to think about the choices Jon Krakauer made–what moves, as writer, did he make–that challenged your world view? Was it the information alone or was it how he framed that information?

    • #210 Reply
      Suki Ullrich
      Guest

      I agree with Glenn Rose, that the best writing should evoke some sort of emotion in its reader(s). It should clearly capture an author’s (or character’s) experiences or opinions in a way that guides a reader to formulate/discover his or her own unique opinion on the matter. The best writing allows readers to draw connections between the text and the outside world.

      • #211 Reply
        Elisha M Emerson
        Guest

        “The best writing allows readers to draw connections between the text and the outside world.” This is a lovely thought. Keep those thoughts coming! Meanwhile, brainstorm ways in which we, as writers, can accomplish this!

    • #216 Reply
      Amanda Leonard
      Guest

      Personally, I think that good writing, specifically in literature, comes from how the author decides to tell their story; there are so many different ways to say the same things. Also, when someone can write something that makes you feel like you are there in the moment because it is so well described, that is good writing. As for essays, I think that a good essay makes you think. It brings up questions surrounding the topic, whatever it may be, and allows you to sit and ponder these ideas. A good essay makes you want to respond to the author, whether you want to agree with what they had to say, or you want to further discuss some points they brought up. If you care enough to want to continue to discuss and think about the essay, then it was good writing.

    • #217 Reply
      Mike Steminsky
      Guest

      “Good writing” to me is a passage or story which makes the reader question certain aspects of a text. I’ve read several responses which reference this already, however, I think it is how many people and how I view “good” texts. Writing that questions your views and the views of a particular aspect of society stick with readers. Passages that are straight forward although may be entertaining and fulfill a short term purpose, lack to stay with readers. To strive for “good” writing an author should try and promote higher level thinking. That is how I perceive good writing.

      • #229 Reply
        Sara Tancredi
        Guest

        I like what you say about “passages that are straight forward lack to stay with readers”. A piece that solely gets the point across can leave your mind shortly. after reading, but something that engages you and gets you to view the point on a different level will definitely stay!

      • #233 Reply
        elishaemerson
        Keymaster

        I agree with Sara. I love this question: how to write things that stay or stick. I wonder if comfort zones have anything to do with this. For example, an experience in which we stray out of our comfort zone tends to be more memorable. If we can write essays that push our readers into new mental places, the more likely are essays will remain. What do you think?

    • #231 Reply
      Paige Mason
      Guest

      I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer to what makes writing good. Writing is very personal and everyone writes differently. For me personally I think what makes my writing good is the amount of time I put into my thought process. The more I think about the writing and discuss it the better my piece turns out to be.

    • #237 Reply
      Alex Williams
      Guest

      I don’t think “good writing” is the same thing as correct writing. Albeit, it may be easier to read grammatically correct and structurally sound literature, that doesn’t always contain the best stories. Many successful and well-liked authors don’t bind themselves to the rules of formal writing. Also, I see writing as the story-telling aspect as well (in the right circumstance, of course). In essay writing, or academics articles, it should be stricter. The reason being simply because it’s less about entertainment compared to what the fiction writers do.

    • #381 Reply
      Lucas deMey
      Guest

      I think good writing is created when the author captures the readers mind to the point where they cant stop reading. this kind of writing is created when the writer uses different litterary devices such as imagery and metaphor effectivley to bring their writing to life

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