What Do Others Say Good Writing Is?

What do others think good writing is? I immediately reflected on my academic writing career and all the papers I have written for teachers and professors. Starting with my fifth grade English teacher Dr. Dick Duffany and his infamous 700 paged textbook often referred to as “the Bible,” I learned to compose essays following strict rules and principles. I never enjoyed writing these essays; I felt I lost my creativity following rubrics to try and receive the best grade. However, the first day of my senior year, my English professor handed out copies of The Elements of Style that completely changed my approach to writing. Although his book is a set of rules, Strunk connotes that the established rules of grammar can be challenged, and he acknowledges “the fallacy of inflexibility and the danger of doctrine.” Good writing has style that is developed “from attitudes of the mind” and “extends the spirit of a man.” Style allows writers to be creative and to push boundaries to enlighten the reader. Good writing creates an experience between author and reader, and a good writer will know how to challenge the reader’s opinions and how to help guide the reader through his thoughts.
Source: Strunk, William, Jr, and White, E.B. The Elements of Style. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print.
Andrew Fitzgerald’s TedTalk discusses how Twitter’s 140 character limit has created a new frontier for creative experimentation with writing. During the digital age, there has been a renaissance of new mediums and formats to express storytelling. These new mediums give writers more building blocks and structures than traditional writing to create more spontaneous and creative works. For example, Fitzgerald describes the success the New Yorker has had with live storytelling via Twitter. Readers can tune into a live feed of a short story, creating a new experience between the author and reader.
Source: Fitzgerald, A. (2013, July). Andrew Fitzgerald: Adventures in Twitter fiction. Retrieved from: http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_fitzgerald_adventures_in_twitter_fiction 

2 Responses to What Do Others Say Good Writing Is?

  • richardcolby says:

    Those were very good summaries, Creighton. I appreciated the integration of quoted material along with the overall “point” of each. It’s interesting that you tapped into the “fallacy of inflexibility” of Strunk that White describes in the introduction of that book. Some have felt even The Elements of Style is a bit too stodgy, and books have been written in response to it such as Adios Strunk and White.

    You mix APA (Fitzgerald) and MLA (Strunk and White) style in your citations. It’s a good diea to be consistent. Also, when writing for the web, it’s best to use hyperlinks rather than have URLs (you broke the design with your nonbreaking URL).

  • Lixinting2012 says:

    Yes Creighton I do agree with you about rubrics taking away all the creativity that goes into writing. The flip side of that is that all those rubrics make writing, good. Hooray for your teacher who introduced you to, “The Elements of Style.” You are spot on when you say, “Good writing creates an experience between author and reader, and a good writer will know how to challenge the reader’s opinions and how to help guide the reader through his thoughts” I couldn’t have summed it better. Good writing leaves the reader wanting more. A good writer knows how to make the reader want more. I enjoyed what you wrote about Twitter and the story telling. Thank you for sharing.

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