Seven Qualities of Great Writing

In a world of blogging and endless platforms from which you can acquire an audience for your words, many people like to think that they are great writers. However, just because you have a platform, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your writing stands up with the best authors and journalists. Writing well is about more than just getting the spelling and grammar correct. In fact, some of the great writers openly violate the established order. So, you may be wondering, what are the qualities of great writing?

In this article, we are going to try to go some way towards answering the above question. Anyone has the ability to improve their writing, and there are plenty of courses out there which help to give people this opportunity such as Jericho Writers. Here are just a few of the hallmarks of great writing.

Great Writing is Readable
It may seem like an obvious point to make, but first and foremost, great writing is readable. Obviously, this means that it needs to be grammatically coherent to allow the text to flow properly, but it also need to be clear from a stylistic point of view. Readability also involves engaging the attention of the audience and keeping them interested in the way that the story or argument progresses throughout the piece. So, if you are trying to product great writing, you need to have your audience very much at the forefront of your mind.

Great Writing is Focused
The best writers retain a clear focus when they are writing, establishing a clear sense of narrative which the audience can easily follow. No lines are wasted in the text. In fiction, this means advancing the narrative or revealing something about the characters. In newspaper editorials, this means developing an argument and persuading readers of the point of view which is being expressed. So, before you set out in writing something, you should clearly establish what you are aiming to achieve with your words.

Great Writing is Passionate
Writers should be passionate about the subject on which they are writing – whether this is travel, lifestyle or business. Without this sense of passion, it is going to be very difficult to write in a way which makes the audience care about what you have to say. If you don’t care about it, how can you expect your readers to do the same? When you are particularly enthralled by a subject, writing should be so much straightforward. And if every sentence is an effort to produce, it is worth considering why you are doing this in the first place.

Great Writing is Compeling
Great writing makes you want to read on to discover what happens next or how the point is going to develop from here. Of course, what constitutes being ‘compelling’ varies from person to person, but you should be thinking about how your audience will respond to your words. Even if your readers don’t agree with everything that you are saying, they should still be compelled to read on to find out more about where the narrative is going to go next or how you are going to develop your argument. This comes back to making sure that your writing is focused and to-the-point. If it drifts around and goes off on too many tangents, you are less likely to hold the attention of your audience for an extended period of time.

Great Writing Develops
Rather than simply making the same points again and again, great writing should develop and take readers on a journey with the text. There are many ways in which writing can develop depending on what the point of it is. For example, if it is making an argument, the author can use evidence to support the point being made rather than making unsupported assumptions. If it is in a story, every sentence should be taking the readers further along the narrative path which has been clearly laid out.

Great Writing is Rewriting
It is very rare that you find a writer who is completely satisfied with their first draft. In fact, many wordsmiths steer away in an entirely different direction once they have reflected on what they have put down on the page in the first place. So, once you have written something, you should always take a step back so that you can return to it another time. Not only are you much more likely to spot mistakes the second time around, you will also discover things that you are not happy with which need to be changed.

Great Writing is Planned
If you are going to write a novel, you need to have a clear idea of your characters and story before you begin. Otherwise, you will be directionless and rudderless in your writing. Of course, there will always be a degree of spontaneity involved in your words, but there should also be a framework which you set out for them in the first place. Once you know where you are heading, you can work at making your writing tighter and more concise so that you can get to your destination that little bit quicker and more smoothly.   

Of course, every writer is different, but the qualities of great writing remain largely the same no matter what the medium or purpose. Essentially, writing needs to be readable and focused to keep the audience engaged. There is no point writing if people don’t stick around until the end. It also needs to be passionate, and with this comes the increased likelihood that it will be compelling. It needs to develop on a clear path which is laid out in the first place. And the best writers also don’t simply stick with the first thing that they put on the page — they rewrite until they are entirely satisfied. Follow these principles and guidelines and you are much more likely to produce writing which engages your audience and keeps them hooked until the last word.

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