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s/o So what are the characteristics of a great writer?

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I'm looking at the Harry Potter thread and realizing I truly don't know what are the specific ways good writers use language. Someone mentioned Jane Yolen's criticism about the overuse of adverbs. What are some other things that define good vs poor writing? I don't necessarily mean, "good plot, good characters;" good is overused and not specific enough! I mean, can someone define the technical aspects of "good" writing?

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Effective imagery, unusual use of plain language, unique perspective, excellent eye for detail, ability to make the familiar fresh.


Joyce Carol Oates, for example (although I'm not crazy about her stories in general because they're kinda dark). Any given paragraph of hers will have some amazing writing.


Also, their descriptions have purpose. A mediocre writer might describe a sunset for no particular purpose. A good one will always be setting a particular tone, or foreshadowing something.


Just for starters.

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I am so not qualified to answer this, and can't believe I'm doing so in the presence of the truly qualified people here. But I really enjoy writers who can communicate ideas in a simple (clear and probably somewhat short), original way. I like works that make me question my previously-held points of view (prejudices). I really like to put a book down and say, "Wow. Maybe I've been wrong about that all these years." Or, "Wow. I never thought about that. I guess that really does change things!"


So that probably doesn't address your question on the technical aspects at all. Sorry!:)

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