That’s a good point and that’s exactly the dilemma I kept falling into. I wanted to find some sort of standard that is objective for a writer to personally asses and determine whether or not they are a good writer
I only have two criteria for what makes a good writer:
Do you have a compelling story to tell?
Do you have enough mastery of language to tell the story the way it deserves to be told? To write it in a way that will resonate with readers, to make them feel what the characters feel, to experience the joys and heartbreak with them?
I don’t think there can ever be an objective way to measure art, and every writer’s work has room for improvement. But if you’re looking for a way to measure your own work, I would say the question to ask yourself is: would you read this if it was written by someone else? And if the answer is no… Why not?
That’s such a good question to ask! Okay wow, wow. Not even kidding, I never actually thought of asking myself that question. Thanks for this comment
I feel like the easy answer is: If people can open your book, be transported to a clear world, feel strong emotions, and not be able to put the book down, you are a good writer.
However you achieve that is up to you. But if you can accomplish that, then you’re a good writer.
As a writer, I try not to dwell too much on being a good writer. I just write what I can and want in hopes that readers fall in love with it and don’t spot any structural flaws in it. It just makes it hard for me to breathe once I start wondering is this good? What should I do to fix it? What should I do to perfect my writing? a little too much. But I still hope you find your answer!
But what if someone doesn’t have this audience to even measure this, that’s the question. We’re basing this off the fact that an author has to make their own personally assessment. Because I completely agree, if a reader cannot put a book down you’re definitely a good writer.
But what if there’s no reader and just yourself to determine this!
Thanks for this I tend to do the same thing as you, but when I think about instead of not being able to breath, I just rip my works apart haha
The follow up questions are just as important, though, because that ‘why’ or ‘why not’ can you help you figure out your strengths and weaknesses as a writer
Accept that it wont ever be perfect or good in the first try. Art is about a learning process and creating. If one can find joy in the process, that’s when you’ll get the biggest amount of joy out of art.
A good writer writes a story they can be proud of. The characters, dialogue, plot, and challenges are realistic and something people can relate to. Even a SciFi Story can be real and something people can relate to.
A good writer also grows as a writer. No first work is perfect. Things get better in time. If a writer can realize that and better which each writing, they’re on the right track.
i generally define someone as a good writer when there are more good things than bad about something they’ve written. like characterisation might not be brilliant, but the plot is great and it flows well?? still good. or maybe the plot is lacking but everything else is up to scratch.
if there are more good things than bad then most people will say it’s good. and for me, majority rules. so if most people think it’s good, it’s probably at least decent. if most people think it’s bad… well, they might not be wrong. but it really does depend. obviously if only one person has read something and they say it’s good, i wouldn’t take that as fact, but like 10 or more people agreeing with each other?? good chance they’re right.
i only think my writing is good when i can think about a chapter or whatever without being able to think of anything that makes me want to cringe so hard i start crying. and that hasn’t happened yet. but then again i don’t edit my work, so maybe if i edited it i wouldn’t cringe at it as much. who knows.
Basically anything by @Pandean if you like high fantasy; White Stag is her first book on here and it’s amazing. It got traditionally published after she won a Watty, but there’s still a version on Wattpad! I love it so much and fangirl so, so hard.
Also anything by @krazydiamond is AMAZING, but my favorite by her is Edgewise. Like… it’s one of my favorite books in general and everyone who likes adventure and fantasy and interdimensional taverns should read it.
Another book that I think every Wattpadder should read is The Invincible Summer of Juniper Jones by @keyframed. It’s a historical fiction and just… sweet and inspiring and beautiful and sad and lovely.
For me, it’s the time and effort someone has put into their work. A lot of people don’t realize that people spend days trying to perfect their chapters and such. D: I’m actually one of those people. It really sucks because I do spend days working on chapters… and for what? 5% of the Wattpad community just reading them without offering praise for said hard work?
Sorry about the mini-rant.
Ooof thank you! I’m going to add these to my private library and hopefully have a really wonderful bundle of books to read this next few weeks as I avoid studying
I definitely feel you there. That’s why when I was younger I would never ever ask an author for an update. I would just wait. I felt it was rude. There are things people have to do and it can be difficult to try and put out a product you’re proud of!
I definitely feel you
The next best step is for the author is to put the book into bookclubs, where some better feedback will be had.
In the end, I say that if you have no readers, then there is a chance the writing just isn’t that good. Which is why a bookclub, or an honest review, might help the writer get an objective opinion. A lot of writer’s, unfortunately, aren’t looking for constructive feedback, which means a lot sit in limbo of having no readers, but wanting very little critical feedback, or don’t listen to the feedback and keep it the same.
The cover, title, and synopsis are also critical for getting readers even to the book.
Overall I say that the standard praise of “I am sure you are a great writer!” can be a double-edged sword, because while it cuts away at the disappointment, it also means that the writer is not getting the proper feedback for their story. Sometimes, it’s just the case that a writer has a lot of improvement to make.
I know I have been there before with some fanfiction
I’d also say that the genre and characters are important too. If you are writing a novel about furries, or a romance between a dragon and a fairy (super niche markets) then that can also mean that your story isn’t getting reads, because it’s not a super popular genre. That’s not fair, but that’s how the market works.
I think sometimes having no readers has to do with not enough marketing rather than bad writing. A wonderfully talented author could post the most amazing book on here, but if they never interact with others, it’s unlikely they’ll get very many reads simply because people won’t find the work. That’s why book clubs are so important, like you said, especially for new authors; it gives you a way to get a lot of eyes on your work and get feedback as you build connections.
For me it’s Voice.
Voice matters to me a lot because it’s one of the ways I get to ‘feel’ a character. I want to hear the character’s voice speak through the narration (if it’s first person), and I want to hear a strong clear engaging voice that puts the ‘feel’ of the story (if it’s third person.)
One of the ways I notice someone’s writing is good is the presence of a distinct voice. You can weave wonderful sentences and have top-notch grammar, but if your writing voice is dry — or worse, none existent I lose all interest. I don’t want a story with multiple POVs where all characters sound the same in my head. I don’t want a story where the narrator is so dry that it sounds like a textbook is being read out to me in my head.
I’m not really about the technicalities of writing. You can be a good writer in theory, but the weight (voice, emotional quality, immersion) of your writing is what separates good from exceptional—in my opinion anyway.
This is so, so true!!
Same goes for published authors. If they make their cover in Word, pick a “meh” title, and yet they have BEAUTIFUL prose, it can still fall through the cracks.
That’s why I like the bookclubs. They can be super helpful, especially Rebel Bookclub, for helping an author see their story objectively.
If, in the end, an author gets nothing but praise from bookclubs, there is a chance that either their cover/title/synopsis is terrible, or they are writing in too niche of a community.