What makes good writing? Are there universal features of good writing that apply to all forms and fields of discourse? Is good writing in one field “bad” writing in another? Is good writing in the eye of the beholder and entirely subjective?
Good writing presupposes domain of written language. This does not come suddenly, but through discipline during years and years of school, including studying grammar, reading, writing and being corrected etc.
Different forms and fields of discourse imply different features. What might be read as “good” in one field, like poetry in literature, might be read as “bad” in another field, like science.
Writing is an activity performed to the reader, that is to say, readers will define if the writing is good or bad.
Thinking specifically about academic and scientific discourse, good writing presupposes Introduction, Development, Conclusion, Citations and References, besides following rules like the ones described by the APA Manual.
Can we say that: good writing = succinct writing?
I have studied Philosophy as an undergraduate and philosophical writing is usually not succinct. Even though, I feel a sense of flow when reading great philosophers, although they write long paragraphs, complex syntax etc. I believe philosophical writing is probably one of the great challenges to the succinct definition of good writing.
Probably because I have always enjoyed reading philosophy, my writing was not that succinct when I started writing. However, as I started to publish and read a little less philosophy and literary criticism, naturally my writing became less complex. The way we write (independently if it is good or bad writing) depends on what we like to read and our audience.
What do you think?