Readers often wonder what good writing is all about and maybe think that it is no big deal. When you read Time magazine or even Newsweek, nothing strikes you as quite extraordinary. Perhaps the political slant may seem startling but that was the newsworthy stories and not the writing itself. We do admire the skill of writers in literature when the pages reflect seemingly impossible to document feelings and emotions, the purple prose and the like.
What is a good piece of writing? Perhaps the phrase ‘style and substance’ sums it all up. Content wise or the substance part of it should be pithy enough. Without appropriate matter, the best of writing would seem to be quite superfluous. The best substance, of course, would differ according to whether it is political, social, religious, and satirical or amusement. Why do millions flock to humor sites like Cracked.com? Perhaps they do combine the two elements well.
Most good writing includes a bit of personal experience besides the humor element. Excessive seriousness would destroy even the best of writing intentions. The ‘I’ often makes a great difference and brings in life to an otherwise drab piece of writing yet research writing shuns it. Since information is often the reason writing exists at all in a range of subjects as diverse as commerce and philosophy, make sure adequate quantities of up to date researched information is included. Names of people and places do spice up writing at the very mention.
Media has nowadays caught up with the age old practice of including pictures and videos along with the text. Consider YouTube as an outstanding example. A good grammar book besides a thesaurus and a style directory would all be essential tools to hammer out a good piece of writing. The plan is essential of course and the usual how, who, what, where, when and why approach is even taught in primary school. Drafting, rewriting and finally editing your own work is crucial to reach that streamlined phase of tight expression with no unnecessary words.
The Expression would be so markedly different between business writing and creative writing. British and American English have their differences too, but finally it is a happy marriage of style and substance, ideas and meanings besides sentence making and practice. Enjoy the ride!