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Who is a good writer?

  1. Aug 20, 2013 #1
    William Shakespeare (for example) is regarded as a great poet/playwright? What makes him so good? What could he do that other's couldn't?
    Basically I'm looking for things or skills/attributes of a great writer? What makes someone great in literature?

    Thank You!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 20, 2013 #2

    Astronuc

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    I think the ability to create a clever story and/or descriptions of the characters and scenery that enable the reader to become part of the story makes for a greater writer. In Shakespeare's case, he often wrote about historical characters or events, or relevant social issues.

    I'm not sure about modern fiction writers, since I mainly read textbooks, although great writers of non-fiction generally know their subject and write with a continuity.
     
  4. Aug 20, 2013 #3
    I am interested in the fiction writers. You are right - they have the ability to engage a reader in the story and become a part of it.
    But what I am asking is - How are some writers better doing this thing?
     
  5. Aug 20, 2013 #4
    It's really hard to be good at something if you're not passionate about it.
     
  6. Aug 20, 2013 #5
    Passionate is one thing ... but other than that
    1) You need a good story
    2) You engage people in your story - What differs good writers from great writers in this step?
     
  7. Aug 20, 2013 #6

    phinds

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    If you take a few courses in literature you might begin to get a handle on it. Getting a few quick answers on an internet forum isn't really going to tell you much.
     
  8. Aug 20, 2013 #7
    Shakespeare was able to give the characters vivid emotion by the words he used. That's what I think made him so good. And he had a way of making everything everyone said sound poetic. For example, he wouldn't have a character simply say "you're crazy!", he'd have them say "hast thou eaten of the insane root, which takes the mind prisoner?!"
     
  9. Aug 20, 2013 #8
    Probably yes. I think I have to delve a bit deeper to figure out the answer.
     
  10. Aug 20, 2013 #9

    phinds

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    A wise decision.
     
  11. Aug 20, 2013 #10

    WannabeNewton

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    Using complicated phrases to describe mundane things doesn't necessarily make someone a good writer by any means but certainly giving a poetic spin to what would otherwise be prose and using vivid language to facilitate mental imagery in the reader's mind are elementary examples of great writing. Shakespeare was a brilliant writer for a myriad of reasons, discussions of which you can easily find in various articles on e.g. jstor.

    The more you read, the more you'll learn to appreciate good writing and get some idea of what good writing actually is (granted "good writing" certainly has a subjective quality).

    However, there are clear examples of writing that is unanimously considered great and writing that is unanimously considered terrible (by anyone with even a slight sense of taste). An example of the former could be "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens and of the latter, "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer :wink:
     
  12. Aug 20, 2013 #11
    There is no doubt in my mind if someone hangs-out in a good on-line writing forum for at least six months and actively participates and engages in the discussions, they will become a much better writer. I know because I did and I'm a pretty good writer and would no doubt improve if I continued to do so.
     
  13. Aug 20, 2013 #12

    Stephen Tashi

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    A place to begin the investigation would be to ask what distinguishes good writers from not-good-writers.
     
  14. Aug 20, 2013 #13
    A good first sentence that captures the curiosity of the reader. So you open it and read the first line:

    Aren't you curious now?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  15. Aug 20, 2013 #14

    WannabeNewton

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    Not even in the slightest.
     
  16. Aug 20, 2013 #15

    jtbell

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    The best way to learn how to write is from the pro's:

    darkandstormy2.jpg
     
  17. Aug 20, 2013 #16

    reenmachine

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    me neither lol
     
  18. Aug 20, 2013 #17

    arildno

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    First line IS important to hook you into the story.
    Like this one:

    "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe"
     
  19. Aug 21, 2013 #18
    My beloved Faulkner is here to save the day:

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-speech.html

    Read the whole speech, it is worth it.
     
  20. Aug 21, 2013 #19
    A great writer not only entertains you but tells you something about the human condition. Romeo and Juliet morphed into West Side Story because the problems of "mixed marriages" have lasted through the centuries. Macbeth describes the problems of a man with a pushy wife be he a Scottish Lord or a middle manager in the marketing department etc etc.
     
  21. Aug 21, 2013 #20

    Astronuc

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