There are people who like quick no-brainer-action-shoot-em-up styles movies and there are people who like slow, ...intricate, moving dramas or even nature films. There are some that like both equally and some that only like one or the other. If you think in terms of writing styles there is just as much of a variety because for each of those movies, both fast passed and slow detailed- is a writer who has to write in that particular style. For writing that is not for a script, we are left with an even greater amount of styles to pick and chose from. What can happen is that people who are accustomed to quick and dirty sound bites are even more quickly annoyed with anything that takes longer than 20 seconds to scan through. That doesn’t mean that what they are reading is not good, or that by something being longer it makes it better. It comes down to what you are reading and also why you are reading it. If it is a movie review a collection of 2 line punny reddric may be enough to sway you into watching this movie over that movie or not going to see it in theaters at all. Or it could be the case that you are writing a paper about a particular film and how it compares to the novel or something where you want as many details as possible. So in that case length – or the amount of information about it is a good thing and something short and simplified is not as helpful. There are other times when you are reading something for something specific and you just want one piece of information and the rest doesn’t matter. So we are left with a problem of either the over abundance or lack of available information – and the clarity to know what it is you are getting into before taking the time to read the entire thing.
A lot of times people will click on something or come across a page of text and if it is too long, like more than 3 sentences – they won’t even read it at all – not even the first 3 sentences. This can be a reflection of their mood – maybe they are scanning through tumblr so quickly – not necessarily looking for something in particular – just to kill time – that they don’t realize that the text which they perceive to be “Too Long” would have been exactly the type of thing they would have liked to have spent their time with. Would seeing pokemon or pictures of starbucks cups and anime and weird shoes really be more significant than a piece of writing that could have something significant to your life hidden within it?
What happens is that in school we were conditioned that reading was something you had to do and not something that you wanted to do. We were only given poorly written, information based books that threw facts at us written by, well, probably boring teachers with groups of people having to edit and approve it before it got to your classroom. They argue over the wording of each sentence and it’s largely political. Similar with the news – but what makes some news-ish stories differ is that they are trying to sell you words/ stories and they do this, often by exaggeration and misleading you with weirdly worded headlines and then fail to deliver a worthy punchline or climax to the story.
There is another type of writing that is probably the most real – it’s something that is written with the intention that the reader(s) want to hear the story, are interested, and it doesn’t take any selling or manipulation in either the presentation or style – it’s similar to a letter to someone about what something you want to know or “tell me what happened I’ve been waiting all day, how did it go?! Did he ask you out, tell me everything!” and in these cases there is not as much of a fine line between choosing your words, their structure, or being politically correct. This is also where it is most evident who is good at story telling, and who is a good writer – and who is a real writer. What I mean is that just as two people could have the same story and both tell it accurately but one can be much much more interesting than the others' – in the case of writing styles this is also the case. You could ask for directions and one person will give you too much details, the other not enough, but then there are others who have a little extra, experience, in that they, by trial and error and telling the same thing so many times – have developed a way to convey the information in not only the most accurate but the most efficient and exciting way. This is most evident in people who are considered really good instructors or teachers who are able to convey information in a way that seems fun, but also sticks and is as accurate if not even more than others teaching the same thing. Driving teachers, music teachers, - there are some people who are just naturally much better at certain things and others who have developed a perfected system through experience – these can also be combined together in what we would consider the best way to communicate something.
Imagine there was a competition being held to tell the story of the three little pigs in the best way possible. Both in person and then in writing. They would be much different and in the writing category – especially if given a certain number of words – only a certain number of ways to tell the story. It could be mostly agreed on which was the best, most entertaining, most dramatic, most efficient, the shortest etc.
We have to differentiate good writing in both style, function, and then structure. Being able to write ‘right’ or with the proper grammar and spelling is only one dynamic to good writing and anyone is capable of it – but also everyone is prone to making errors – which doesn’t make them ‘bad writers’ but only, simply, that they made errors. In my case every error i make was intentional and has some deep meaning you have to read between. Sike,
There is another connotation to good writing in that it is most clear and concise so that it relays the information in the most efficient way – meaning that it is easy to read and understand and also that the information itself is correct. Is what they are writing true? Are they being biased or did they fact check – how thoroughly? Etc. Then there is a ‘good writing’ in the sense that the other bases are covered and it enters the realm of more subjectivity and where style is more in line with good or bad music – or in car design or paintings or photography – sure there is ‘I like what I like’ and a level of subjectivity that stems from a personal preference or taste – but let us not forget that there is also, more often than not a sense of better than, or knowing if something is good in a more objective way. You could put two cars next to each other and 90% would agree that one has a better style over the other. Or a photograph of the same exact thing could be better in one photograph than the other – even though both serve their purpose of getting you from point a to be and seeing what it photographed clearly. This is where the style of writing can be objectively good, or better, than something else – or even when not compared to something else writing – and hence the writer – can be a “good writer’ in that they are good enough with structure and spelling – that their information is accurate and clear but then they also have a jenny say qua quality about their writing that either comes from experience or a natural talent – or in rare cases – both.
It can be that they can write something that you would like to read – no matter what it is about in the same way that you would like to hear someone talk – no matter what they were speaking about. This quality is something that can be learned, but it’s not something that can be taught. It’s something you have to be able to perceive between the lines – which other people can recognize but most are unable to understand enough to implement themselves. You can tell when someone is a good story teller or is good at jokes but you may not be able to comprehend what it is enough to absorb it and use it in your own stories or jokes. So where as comedians are able to learn and absorb style and jokes and mannerisms and such from each other and implement it into their own ‘act’ or characters – so can some writers.
If you get your influences form a lot of different sources and also have a foundation in your own unique style from experience or natural talent you can grow as a writer as comedian becomes more funny through experience in real life and through influences of other comedians. If you do it right you should get funnier with age. If you’re a good writer – you should become better, consistently as you write more. Compared to learning how to talk and to write to begin with, from sounding out each letter and word to your first sentence to your first paragraph to creating original sentences – and your first paper and your first poem, lyric, story, chapter, book, book series – blog, etc etc etc It’s a skill set, and it’s one, like art – that is best evolved not through refine of a single type but through the proliferation of as many sources as possible to pick and chose from. The best writer is not one who can write poetry better than anyone else, or someone who can write fiction, or a love letter, or a script, email, text message, or a sitcom, or science fiction novel or a short story – it’s someone who is capable of writing as many types as there are – well – and in doing so realizes and allows each separate style to augment their own. The height of this would be the emergence of their own, unique style that hybridizes everything they have read and written and that has come before them but is, through their individual experience and natural talent – becomes a new recognizable style that may or may not be adopted or attempted or possible for other writers. We see it in artistic styles, the types of painting styles, the trends in photography etc – all the time. New styles emerge and are emlimated in such a way that whoever it was that originated it cannot be easily differentiated from those who came after him. (or her?) There is a culmination to all that I have just rambled on and up to and that is the epitome of an individual’s artistic accomplishment – and that isn’t the perfection of one particular style that was already in extant, but the creation of a style that is both classic and instantly recognizable as that artist – which cannot be rivaled by another in that style because it is not a style at all but more so an identity.
When you see a Leonardo da Vinci sketch – you both know that it is good and that there is something special about it even if you know nothing about art, and if you do – you immediately can recognize that it is his. It’s also nearly impossible to duplicate the style itself – you can copy or trace it but to create a new sketch of something he did not in that style – is very very difficult. The same could be said for Stanley Kubrick – you can tell they are both well made and that there is something special about them – that also cannot be duplicated. It’s interesting to note that neither went to traditional colleges and were largely, although not entirely, self taught. They had the basics but learned through experience –each part and essential task of their respective fields. Sound, engineering, photography, editing, story etc – they didn’t specialize in just one aspect but had a firm grasp of each aspect enough to fulfill it independently and as a whoe – as the director.
As a writer what we should strive for is a very knowledgeable foundation about the mechanics and proper structure of the craft. Then we bombard ourselves with what others have done from as many styles and sources as possible. Then we write. We write. We write a lot in different styles, about different topics, and we fail – and we write badly, and we experiment, and we repeat this process until the act of typing and forming sentences comes to us as naturally as our fingers can type or our pen can move across the surface of a piece of paper. And then we forget all of the rules and what we were taught and what we have experienced and we write more until we do not even realize that we have become so good, so very good, that we forget it. So that when we go back and re-read what we have written, and unlike all the times we have in the past and felt disappointed we will forget that it is ourselves that even had written it and it will happen. You will realize how good you are. You become good enough to be the writer that you wanted to read. That you are capable of producing writing that you so desperately seek in other people, and other books, and cannot get enough of that you do not want it to end. Unfortunately/ fortunately – that is also the precise moment where you have to/ get to begin all over again, because what is that moment of your highest achievement if you are not dead? It’s the weak and untalented that say the only place to go from there is down. Your peaks will become your new troffs. I don’t even know how to spell troughs. Troughs? I don’t know that I’ve ever written that word! Your peaks become your valleys! Whatever.