tirsdag, november 13, 2007

When in doubt, do a meme

A short while (rapidly becoming a not so short while), the inimitable Devil Mood tagged me to do a meme where I get to describe qualities of a good writer or of good writing. I must admit, this is a difficult one for me to do for some reason. But it's an important question. And the honest answer is, I haven't the slightest idea.

Although, if I think about it, it seems simple enough. Good writing is the writing that I as a reader want to keep reading. I don't generally bother to finish any book or story that doesn't start off well. Or an academic article for that matter. So, the start is important. After that, there must be something to keep it going. It can be a spectacular plot. It can be a particularly well-formed character. It can be an idea, a concept that makes me curious, or inspires me. But if it only has one of those things, I may finish it, but probably won't feel it as an example of good writing.

As for the question of what is a good writer, that's one I've struggled with since childhood. I have the idea from my past as an English lit major that good writing is where each and every word of the writing is thought out and rich with symbolism. I'm referring here to fiction writing, but the same holds for non-fiction. In addition, I have an idea that 'real' writers are compulsive about their writing, that they must write in order to feel whole, which means that they write both consistently and profusely.

So, to summarize so far, in my definition, good writers write compulsively, and produce deeply meaningful texts. All the time. Which is to say that my definition of what makes a good writer is not very realistic. But I've battled with it nonetheless, and for a long time.

If I were to make a new definition for myself (and I suppose that I am, now), how would it be? To some extent a good writer is someone who strives to produce good writing (see definition of this above). But perhaps it isn't anything that prescriptive. Maybe, just maybe, when one writes, then one is a writer. It seems quite simple really. Writing creates the writer. The perfectionist within me gnaws at me to add to that, but really, I don't think I should. Beyond that, from writer to good writer, may also be subjective. If I like it, then it's good writing to me. If I've written it, and I like it, then I'm a good writer. Facile but true.

As this is a meme, I should tag some fine folk. I don't often tag, but I would like to see what Dok Holocaust has to say for himself. And FourLegged as well. I look forward!

3 kommentarer:

Devil Mood sagde ...

It's all very simple and complicated at the same time - as everything in life that is worth it ;)

I think you're right: writing makes a writer. And you can't be a writer if you don't write.

Man, I love writing ;) lol

Also, what you said about the careful use of words, each of them deeply meaningful - I guess it should be like that, but that what sets me apart from good writers. I don't care about the words. I want to get the ideas down to paper so much, I step over the words and do a nasty job hehe

kimananda sagde ...

You should not see yourself as set apart from good writers...the more I try it, the more I resent the idea that every word has to be meaningful. It isn't really that way. The idea, the image, the concept, that is important, and the rest is just support for that. Hmmm...I may need to update this post. ;-)

Devil Mood sagde ...

No, don't change what first crossed your mind. Ideally, all the words will be meaningful and the concept will be perfect, but both things make the writing.
Some may choose to go one way or another. It's probably what we were saing about general and detail. I'm happy with the idea, others may be happier with their choice of words.
But now that I think about, all words are symbolic anyway. Every word that we use can have deep meanings for other people, we just never know...