how do u define a good writer

question
discussion

#1

I want to know what you guys define as a good writer.

I see all the time that when people are feeling down about not getting enough reads/engagement on their story that a lot of people say “oh that doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer”.

So my question now is what makes you a good writer? Is it the way you write? The plot? How should we, as writers, define our own success when most of the time, we dislike the things we write and never think its good enough (which, for the record, is counteracted by others like our work but since we’re talking about individual that have yet to achieve such sufficient validation, let’s pretend that’s not there)?

Really want to know your thoughts :slight_smile:


#2

Myself

I am just kidding lmao


#3

To me it’s 95% or so writing good prose.

If we aren’t talking about writing the greatest novel ever, but just something serviceable, something readable that’s not a complete insult to the reader, I think there’s (mostly) something interesting about nearly every story, and even two dimensional characters aren’t necessarily a fatal flaw for a novel. Likewise, world building usually is … fine. Sure, some people are better at it than others, but usually it’ll at least be … fine.

So I don’t care too much at this point about that sort of stuff as long as it passes some basic hurdles (like, don’t add blatant contradictions and such).

But prose - there’s just no replacement for it. It’s like the ability to paint when you want to be a painter. Of course there’s also what you paint, whether there’s perhaps some sort of deeper meaning to it, and who knows what else, but if you can’t express it by painting properly in whatever style it is you choose everything else just seems meaningless to me; and for me it’s the same for writing.

And, sure, judging yourself is difficult. Maybe even impossible. I’d definitely be unsure how to rate my own prose. So I could’t tell you “I think I’m a 3/7 writer.” But I can compare it to some other authors and say “well, at least it’s cleaner than this stuff” or “definitely not nearly on the same level as what this guy writes” so there’s some goals to aspire to and some satisfaction from at least not being the worst writer ever and I guess that will have to do :sweat_smile:


#4

I judge writers on a few different credentials:

  • Language use and grammar. Of course, not meant in the gammar-nazi way in which everything needs to be perfect. But bad grammar is noisy and makes it hard to interpret the story. On the other hand, a completely academic use of language and grammar might also hurt the book.

  • Ability to convey a coherent and exciting plot, concluding in a climax.

  • Ability to convey characters a reader can grow attached to.

  • Ability to convey a message.

  • Ability to tell a story that captures your attention.

Now, I don’t think any writer is permanently marked bad. I think books can be poorly written and that a lot of people can use practice, but bad isn’t something referring to what a person is. It’s something they do.

And not all these marks have to be met. If they meet all but a few, I’ll probably think it’s a shame. But if someone meets less than half than… eh. But whether or not the book meets the requirements is fairly subjective.


#5

If the story pulls you into the world like you’re living the character’s life, that author is a good writer. At least for me.


#6

Agreed.
Perhaps, we cannot judge any writer on any aspect of novel writing. And how can we? Maybe a writer is good in world building, while another is better in prose. Maybe someone has fascinating concepts, maybe the other is good in dialogues. I mean, I don’t believe that anyone is perfect. Perfection is a delusion.


#7

True. Even ‘professionals’ who are deemed ‘good writers’ by the public make these critical errors and commit common mistakes that can’t go unnoticed. I just like to think that what makes certain pieces ‘good’ depends on the power and impact they have on you on an emotional level.


#8

Again agreed. Everyone’s choice differs. The presence of Fifty Shades Of Grey series on NYT Bestselling list is a proof of the fact.
NO OFFENCE TO ANY FANS HERE!


#9

Writing like any other artistic expression (cinema, music, painting you name it) for me is about expressing motions, feelings in various situations or circumstances) .

Simple as that. Is the author able to make the reader feel the emotions that was intended? The stronger the emotion / feeling the better the writing.


#10

loll I must say I get amazed by some books that made it to the bookshelves in bookstores like…how the heck did this end up here??


#11

Nowadays is all about marketing.
With the right advertisement done properly, some people can sell every crap you can imagine.


#12

It has both sides to it, I guess. With proper marketing and promotion, gemstones can be found out of rocks. Or, blocks of mud can be disguised as gems and get sold.


#13

And often, due to lack of proper marketing, gemstones are discarded when they’re mistaken for trash.


#14

The sad reality and majority of what happens in the world of literature now. :frowning:


#15

umm well
For me i try not to bother to think about if its good or bad i just try to write.(It’ll never be good) While I hope my daughter will like it because I’ve made it for her. The votes i have and just having done something makes me happy aswell :smiley:


#16

Those who say that are nice folks, but the writer’s primary attribute is being read.

Even if the book is written with competent prose, if people do not read it, this means it is missing the most important thing - the audience. On the inverse, if your book is a grammatical nightmare and is all about an average girl who cannot chose between a bad boy and a good boy, but you have millions of non-solicited reads, and people engage with the book (i.e. you have a low % of readership drop between chapters), you hit the sweet spot.


#17

Very nice answer.

I try to ignore the “reads” and “votes” numbers when I choose to give it a reading try. In the end here on wattpad majority of users are teenagers and that makes me a dinosaur. Therefore how I write is not appealing for the average wattpad user.

From what I’ve seen the average wattpad user want high school romance and vamipres romance. With all do respect, I am too old and too bored for this.


#18

Unfortunately, the teens are those who read on the net. There is no separate Wattpad for 30+ so we have a subculture on the WP.


#19

Meh, of course everyone has their own definition, but for me you describe being a successful writer, which is not the same thing at all to being a good writer.


#20

well said