Good v. Bad Writing

What is good writing? What is bad?

A common example of this can be seen in a lot of fantasy novels. Even authors I otherwise like frequently use contemporary expressions and metaphors in dialog that don’t fit the characters or setting. The challenge is to establish a manner of speaking that is natural for the character in his or her setting. For example, you don’t need to go overboard with anachronistic “high” speech for a king of some fantasy realm, but he isn’t going to talk like an American college student either.

Non-fluent writing:

  • A good writer makes your eyes flow through the letters, making your reading as quick as thought. Even Tolkien with his long ass descriptions was very fluid.
  • A bad writer makes you struggle with every sentence, and makes the idea correlation an endeavor.

Alive characters:

  • A good writer just makes the characters and the characters go on and do their thing. They have lives, minds and goals, and you get to understand them.
  • A bad writer can make their characters do whatever he/she pleases without regard to the fact that the character would never do that.

Original Plot:

  • A good writer can use a topic that has already been used and repeat a lot of tropes and still feel like an original work by using them creatively and adding little changes to them.
  • A bad writer uses a “paint-by-numbers” cliche storyline and basically just changes the names of the characters.

Realistic Dialog:

  • A good writer can make the characters talk like they really live in the world they are in, and their expressions and manners of speech are natural.
  • A bad writer just gives exposition through a character’s mouth, and every time you see them talk, you are fully aware nobody in the world talks like that.

Deus ex Machina:

  • A good author tries his/her hardest to not control the story, trying to make every event and decision feel natural.
  • A bad author can make everything fall into place and every character do his/her bidding just because. When you realize that those two characters just fell in love because the plot wanted, and not because it feels right, that’s when you are in front of a bad author.
  • Still try to develop yourself as a writer, and not constrain yourself to the advice of others.

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