- Emergent: I want to be able to absorb the emergent communication, and not get stuck on the underlying words that formed it. For me, good writing is not noticeable. I find it just as frustration when the writing is bad (clunky, bad grammar, repetitive) as when the writing is good (big words, fancy, attention seeking). Ultimately, I just do not want to notice the writing; I want it instead to only communicate to me the emergent idea.
- Imagery: Good writing, as it absorbs me, should also create pictures in my mind. The better the writer, the better are the images. Its a painter taking hold of my imagination and filling it with his ideas rather than my own. A bad writer cannot achieve this simply because he focused on the words or failed to project the imagery for some reason. Sometimes, a story is only half-seen in my mind which means it was “blotchy” in imagery. This is OK, but good writing is rich and complete. I feel like I have been to India after reading Shantaram.
- Emotive: Good writing should make me feel something. So, its not just creating pictures, but creating feelings. By far the best emotional writer (for me) is Andre Aciman whose book: Eight White Nights just got under my skin and had me not only caught in the imagery but also in the feelings of what he was describing.
- Engaging: Sometimes I wonder if good writing is independent of good subject matter. In other words, I wonder if it matters whether its a “good story”. The first thing that springs to mind here is JKRowlings’: The Casual Vacany; I felt it was good writing (emergent, good imagery, emotive) but a sort of boring subject matter. I enjoyed the book; I wouldn’t read it again or recommend it. So, I just decided, I want a really juicy story.
- Memorable: Every now and again, good writing should elicit a wow. Either that’s from an idea introduced, the plot, the imagery, or the emotional experience. I suppose I want it to be a little bit cleverer than my own mind, so I am stretched to somewhere new.