I’ve been having conversations about writing and what good writing is and if it is always the same. Are there things that are intrinsic to good writing? Can we produce a checklist that we can tick off as we assess a piece of writing? Or is good writing in the eye of the beholder? What about bad writing? Can it be seen straight away?
People who know me and my writing know that I am a composite just as my writing is. I am in introvert who talks too much in public. I love to exercise and get out and active, but I will eat a piece of cake before an orange on any day of the week. I read Victoria Holt and I love Kazuo Ishiguro. I love Sue Townsend and all of the Spud books and I get weak in the knees knowing there is a new Margaret Atwood out and about and I do not own it. My writing is just like that. Just like I hate to be put in a box in my life, in my reading, and I hate to be put in a box with my writing. I write for children. I write romance. I attempt to write literary. I write detective and sometimes even write ghost stories. I write exactly what I feel like writing. I try to do the best I’m able to with each.
But is good or bad writing defined by style? Can people who love literary fiction look at genre and say that it is good writing? Or will people who write literary fiction always see genre as weak writing, as bad writing? Writing for genre is all about plot. It is storytelling. Literary is about an exploration of character; plot is what happens, but of far less importance except for where it moves the character. Of course, occasionally they cross. I don’t see one better than the other- I love them both.
I guess my point is – is there a definition of good writing or is it fluid and subjective? What do you think?