More notes on effective writing
Our class brainstorm came up with the following list:
stays on topic
is very detailed
has direction and something to say
includes lost of info and description
uses correct grammar
has VIVID imagery
the reader can SEE what is going on
draws out emotion (positive or negative) from the reader
the reader wants to keep reading
reader can FEEL the story
there is a freshness of ideas or expression
My personal definition of effective writing
So, today is our first full day workshop after a round of Visiting Writers. I want to begin the morning with a brief reflection on what for us defines effective writing, that is, what should we be striving to accomplish in the workshop session and how (if ever) will we know when it is time to stop tweaking and publish. So, in class we will brainstorm a collective list, but here are some personal thoughts on what makes for effective writing:
- there is a freshness of expression or of the ideas. Ideally there would be a freshness in both, but if its really good in just one of these areas I'm happy.
- I don't have to struggle as a reader to follow what the writer is saying. Now by that I don't mean I shouldn't have to work. I should have my brain expanded and I have new thoughts as the result of a great piece of writing. What I shouldn't have to do is struggle with misspellings or basic grammar problems. I shouldn't have to try and guess what the writer intended to say. It should be clear how ideas are connected because of the solid and clear transitional expressions and other sign posts marking the trail.
- There should be a clear sense of audience. The writer knows exactly to whom he or she is speaking, and modulates his/her tone, word choice, and attitude accordingly.
- I have a clear sense of the writer and her/his personality and sense of style.
- Something significant is being said in an interesting way
- I leave the essay feeling I am less alone, that I've learned something about what it means to be human.
Okay, so these are just a few items on my list and its not comprehensive. I'm anxious to hear what you all add when I get to class!