What do you consider to be good writing?

A place to discuss things that aren't specific to any one creator or game.
Forum rules
Ren'Py specific questions should be posted in the Ren'Py Questions and Annoucements forum, not here.
Message
Author
clannadman

What do you consider to be good writing?

#1 Post by clannadman » Sat Apr 23, 2011 2:40 pm

What is it in a story that really gets you hooked? Anybody can string a sentence together then get out the thesaurus, but I think it takes something special to relate a character's personality or to describe the setting with words that just seem right, as though no other way of writing it is conceivable to the reader. How do you feel? What is good literature and what isn't?

User avatar
lordcloudx
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1406
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 12:47 pm
Completed: http://rd2k2-games.blogspot.com

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#2 Post by lordcloudx » Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:38 pm

I think that this is a very subjective discussion. Different people like different things. While there may be some literary styles that instantly appeal to a large demographic, it wouldn't be really right to say that what the mainstream audience accepts as such is what is "good writing," because this would just be a majority rule argument. Meanwhile, saying that what a particular body or group of experts deem to be good writing is what is "good writing" would just be plain elitism the way I see it.

In my case, I can't really say what makes "good writing" because some stories just intrigue me easily and others don't - even if they come from the same author. For example, I really liked V for Vendetta but I thought Watchmen was just so-so; both stories are by Alan Moore.

There are some types of stories that I'm quite particular to, such as Narcissu and Planetarian, but this doesn't mean I can't also enjoy stories from other genre.

I think the only thing that we can really have a true consensus on is what constitutes "competent writing," since what is "good" will always be quite subjective.
How do you make your games? I see. Thank you for the prompt replies, but it is my considered opinion that you're doing it wrong inefficiently because I am a perfushenal professional. Do it my way this way and we can all ascend VN Nirvana together while allowing me to stroke my ego you will improve much faster. Also, please don't forget to thank me for this constructive critique or I will cry and bore you to death respond appropriately with a tl;dr rant discourse of epic adequately lengthy proportions. - Sarcasm Veiled in Euphemism: Secrets of Forum Civility by lordcloudx (Coming soon to an online ebook near you.)

User avatar
Sapphi
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1685
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:31 am
Completed: Boku no Taisetsu na Yumeko
Projects: Twelve, PAW ★ PRINTS
Organization: Kitsch-soft
Location: Illinois, USA
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#3 Post by Sapphi » Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:34 pm

I agree, this is a very subjective discussion (and if people knew what that "special something" was then we would probably have countless more bestselling stories).

I guess my input would be that I think it's good writing when the writer is careful with what they say and what they don't, especially in description. Sort of like an impressionist painting.
"It is [the writer's] privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart,
by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride
and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."
— William Faulkner
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬..+X+..▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
Image

User avatar
Auro-Cyanide
ssǝʇunoƆ ʇɹ∀
Posts: 3059
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:02 am
Completed: http://auro-cyanide.tumblr.com/visualnovels
Projects: Athena
Organization: Cyanide Tea
Tumblr: auro-cyanide
Deviantart: Auro-Cyanide
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#4 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:56 pm

Good writing to me is writing that lives. You can feel it when you read, when the story flows and breathes and the characters and worlds come to life. The character's voices must be strong and individual. The worlds must be painted with the words, not statically constructed. The flow of the action should be smooth and transition well so the reader knows what is going on. The writer must know what story they want to tell, know their tools, and manipulate them to create.

There is no mathematical equation for it. Like you said, anyone can learn the laws of spelling and grammar. You only know good writing when it has already been created, and when you read it, by god you know it. You can feel it. I think it has a lot to do with how absorbed a writer is in the world and story they are creating. When they believe it, the can write so the reader will believe it too.

pondrthis
Veteran
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:20 pm
Completed: G-Senjou no Maou Translation
Location: Nashville, TN
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#5 Post by pondrthis » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:29 am

Good writing to me absolutely MUST balance the casual/conversational and formal tones. A piece of writing without any "flowery" (bad choice of word: elaborate, but not decadent) language can't evoke emotion and may sound juvenile. On the other hand, new writers who are confident in the language tend to make everything flowery. Characters who all speak in a composed tone are not only unbelievable and hard to sympathize with, but are downright eerie.

So don't go over-the-top with your intensity. Highlight certain emotions by using colorful similes and elaborate language, then tone down the rest into an easy-to-read conversational tone. Add slang in dialogue for bonus points.

User avatar
KimiYoriBaka
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 636
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 8:15 pm
Projects: Castle of Arhannia
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#6 Post by KimiYoriBaka » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:45 am

Anybody can string a sentence together then get out the thesaurus
lol, I think the moment a writer reaches for a thesaurus is the moment you can cancel them out from being a good writer. A thesaurus is only really practical for a crossword puzzle.

I think the most important thing about writing is that you fulfill whatever purpose you're writing for. If you're writing to tell a story, you need to make sure you tell the story (as in, make sure the characters are believable and that the plot is actually developed).

In the case of amateur vns, the number of ellipses seems to be a good indication of the quality of writing. then again, perhaps that just my impression after reading certain stories...

User avatar
KomiTsuku
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1023
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:32 pm
Completed: Dreams of the Skies, Anton's Vacation, Luka, The Halberd and The Tiger, Rising Angels, Pyrite Heart, Rising Angels: Reborn, The Halberd and The Fox, VN Tycoon, RA: Hope
Projects: Rising Angels
Organization: IDHAS Studios
IRC Nick: Komi
itch: idhas
Location: Somewhere
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#7 Post by KomiTsuku » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:29 pm

KimiYoriBaka wrote:
Anybody can string a sentence together then get out the thesaurus
lol, I think the moment a writer reaches for a thesaurus is the moment you can cancel them out from being a good writer. A thesaurus is only really practical for a crossword puzzle.
I'm afraid that I must severely disagree with this statement. There are times when a word just doesn't work in the sentence and nothing is coming to mind. It is an incredibly useful book, if used sparingly. When you try to beautify every single word you come across, then all you are going to do is confuse the reader.

Personally, I don't have any particular viewpoint towards "good" writing. If it does what it is supposed to do with the target audience, it works.

pondrthis
Veteran
Posts: 265
Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:20 pm
Completed: G-Senjou no Maou Translation
Location: Nashville, TN
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#8 Post by pondrthis » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:05 pm

KimiYoriBaka wrote: In the case of amateur vns, the number of ellipses seems to be a good indication of the quality of writing. then again, perhaps that just my impression after reading certain stories...

The ellipses are to copy the feel of Japanese writing. In 90% of cases, this is a bad idea, but it can be done in a way that isn't horribly awkward in English.

User avatar
EzzyAlpha
Regular
Posts: 84
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 5:32 pm
Location: Portugal
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#9 Post by EzzyAlpha » Mon Apr 25, 2011 6:58 pm

pondrthis wrote:
KimiYoriBaka wrote: In the case of amateur vns, the number of ellipses seems to be a good indication of the quality of writing. then again, perhaps that just my impression after reading certain stories...

The ellipses are to copy the feel of Japanese writing. In 90% of cases, this is a bad idea, but it can be done in a way that isn't horribly awkward in English.
Well, sometimes ellipses are needed. Shy characters practically require them.

User avatar
Tachyglossus
Regular
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:43 pm
Projects: Sprite Art for: "Final Banquet", "365 Days"
Location: British Columbia
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#10 Post by Tachyglossus » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:06 pm

EzzyAlpha wrote:
pondrthis wrote:
KimiYoriBaka wrote: In the case of amateur vns, the number of ellipses seems to be a good indication of the quality of writing. then again, perhaps that just my impression after reading certain stories...

The ellipses are to copy the feel of Japanese writing. In 90% of cases, this is a bad idea, but it can be done in a way that isn't horribly awkward in English.
Well, sometimes ellipses are needed. Shy characters practically require them.
Either that or my mother is featured as one of the characters.

She ALWAYS uses ellipses when speaking via text, but she is NOT shy.

On to the actual topic, good writing to me is someone who can write with character, even in the narrative. Someone who has a destinct style. For VN's I also appreciate them to give quirks to their characters, and not just make their characters defined by their profession or hobby, IE the Jock, the Doctor, the Nerd, etc.

User avatar
Suikama
Regular
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:38 pm
Completed: Down on the Corner
Projects: Stories of an Eastern Paradise
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#11 Post by Suikama » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:47 pm

Good writers have good control over words. An amateur writer simply puts words on a page without another thought, while a good writer carefully picks every word to try to express thier ideas in the way they want. They also have good control over economy (only using needed words), directness, detail, and voice.

User avatar
Tachyglossus
Regular
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:43 pm
Projects: Sprite Art for: "Final Banquet", "365 Days"
Location: British Columbia
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#12 Post by Tachyglossus » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:03 pm

Aaaah yes, word economy. That is something I have yet to master.

User avatar
Suikama
Regular
Posts: 119
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:38 pm
Completed: Down on the Corner
Projects: Stories of an Eastern Paradise
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#13 Post by Suikama » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:12 pm

Same here. It just kinda feels natural to be a bit wordy when you're talking, but then when you look back at what you wrote you notice there are a whole bunch of words that weren't needed.

At least you get to forego economy (to an extent) when writing dialogue :lol:

User avatar
Tachyglossus
Regular
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:43 pm
Projects: Sprite Art for: "Final Banquet", "365 Days"
Location: British Columbia
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#14 Post by Tachyglossus » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:14 pm

Yes.... especially if you are writing a character who tends to be needlessly wordy. I like to feature one or two of those so that I can let loose and not restrict myself so much, but then I have to include some people who speak laconically to contrast so it doesn't just look like bad writing.

User avatar
Sapphi
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1685
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:31 am
Completed: Boku no Taisetsu na Yumeko
Projects: Twelve, PAW ★ PRINTS
Organization: Kitsch-soft
Location: Illinois, USA
Contact:

Re: What do you consider to be good writing?

#15 Post by Sapphi » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:03 pm

My dilemma... the character whose point of view in which the story is written is the wordy sort. >O<
"It is [the writer's] privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart,
by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride
and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."
— William Faulkner
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬..+X+..▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
Image

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users