What is good writing? What is a good reading experience?

Recently I have started to read Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment (published 1866, 670 pages).

I have read many books in my life, but before starting to read Crime and Punishment I had only read one book the last 12 months. I do not know why. It has certainly something to do with the new media and my use of them, but there’s no clear reason. For several years I have read very few books, online as well as paper books.

But now I am “on” again. I am glad I am. I love reading this thick book, even if I have chosen to read it in English, which is not my native language.

My eyes get easily tired now, so I read only a few pages each day. I will try to increase the volume. I feel good when reading this thick novel. It displays a universe very different and distant from mine. I want to read more, want to know more, more.

My goal for the coming winter is to read many books, perhaps one or two books each week, now that I have more time for it. I want to learn more about books, about fiction in particular. And I want to learn more about writing.

Is it possible to say something distinct and true about writing?

What is good writing?

Good writing is when the reader meets a voice that is distinct, a voice that is individual and appropriate. The reader meets a human who shares with him some important parts of her life experiences, ideas, and thoughts.

Through the words, the writer reveals her personality, her experience, her feelings.

Good writing goes right to the heart. Good writing touches the reader. The good writing stays within the reader for a while.

Good writing makes the reader feel richer when reading.

Good writing makes the reader want to read more.

The good writing says something the reader experience as new. Good writing gives added value.

Good writing sometimes is short, sometimes long.

Good writing is when there is not one word too much, and when no word is missing. Not too much, not too little!

A story can be short, long — or something in between. Too short is not good. Too long is not good either.

Good writing is when the reader feels at home in the text, longing for more, feeling excited and joyful.

When immersed in good writing the reader’s inner voice incessantly mutters: more, more…

Good writing unveils the unexpected.

Good writing adds value, makes you feel richer.

Good writing tells the unknown.

Good writing gives insight.

Good writing tells a story.

Good writing reduces the feeling of isolation or loneliness.

Good writing makes me stronger.

Good writing uses the right word. The right word can be many different words or combinations of words. The word choice of good writing is specific and memorable.

Good writing combines surprise (Ah! I did not think of that, that’s good, that’s well said!) with recognition (Oh yes, That’s how I could have put it myself!).

Good writing reveals a structure or organization that is logical and effective. The order of ideas and the way the writer moves from one idea to the next is felt natural.

The sentence fluency of good writing feels natural, smooth and expressive. The sentences are easy to understand and fun to read.

Good writing makes the reader ask for more.


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