On the true definition of good writing.

-Speaking in terms of what the writing is able to accomplish.

A good piece of writing is simply writing that does what it is intended to. Writing that has the intended effect.

The reason why truth is stranger than fiction is because fiction has created laws for itself in order to make sense while truth doesn't necessary need to have a logical construct. This is partly the reason why some works of fiction have gone unheralded during their time and have been celebrated at a much later time.

We have created bounds for what is acceptable as "good writing", so our definition of a well written story is usually that which is relatable, has acceptable shock value, or has mystique. There is a lot of inconsistency in real life that doesn’t cross over into fiction.

For fiction, there are many ways writers try to be consistent, whereas such consistency doesn’t exist in real life. Problems such as learnt techniques and templates for what is the "ideal" story in an ideal genre, or why a book has to fit into an existing genre at all. Characters with impeccable English and perfect logic are less common in real life than in books. Writers should have also observed that people do shit for the weirdest reasons in real life. But the books are always trying to explain themselves.

That is one of the limitations of generally accepted good writing. Real life characters do shit for reasons they dont know why but somehow characters in books do shit for reasonable reasons.

Once in a while I read a brilliant piece where the author tries to paint a picture of the non linear thought process of the human mind. Bravo!

If writing does what it is intended to, then it is good writing.

For example, an apology letter that only infuriates the recipient can be termed as poor writing by those who assess it. But what if the real intention of the writer was to rile the recipient? Hasn't the writer suceeded in his aim?

One would argue that a letter written to apologise only serves a purpose if the apology is successful. But who can best describe the intent of the letter?

There are lots of wonderfully written articles with lots of buzzwords and catchphrases that do not make any point, but merely go around in circles. This is common in some movements gaining ground recently.

I think they are well written because they get the intended results, riling up their audience, fueling outrage, bile, toxicity and vitriol. Lots of people consider those articles to be badly written.
Critics should realise that good writing can be employed to deliberately misinform people, twist facts and more importantly, sell a false narrative.

I have seen the proliferation of lengthy articles that talk about nothing and answer no question. Do they serve a purpose? Yes. Sometimes, these pieces are written to keep a controversy going or to keep an issue fresh in the minds of people. Just that.

If you look beyond the dazzling array of buzzwords and jargon, you will see that the article does what it is intended to do all along, keep the conversation going. Is it a stupid article written by an idiot? Yes, probably. But it could have been written by someone who knew fully well what they were doing, with the sole purpose of misinforming lesser minds.

We need to look beyond the construct of the writing to the intention of the writer, and the effect the piece we are reading has upon us.

Let me put it this way.

If the writer intends to make us angry, and the writing does make us angry, then it is definitely a good piece. It achieved what it set out to achieve.

The true measure of a collection of words is not in its syntax or obvious semantics. It is in the effect it has on us.




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