What is good writing?

Updated: Aug 22

The best writing draws on both the individual and the universal

Lawrence Goodstone

At first glance this statement appears erudite, but stripped down it is possibly nothing more than a pretentious declaration of the bleeding obvious. Any analysis of writing could be approached from either end of this dictum.

If a writer’s schtick is characterisation, then it is through characters that universal truths or observations are transmitted to the reader. Obvious examples abound in Shakespeare’s plays where characters loom sufficiently large that they have become standard fare for signifying human strengths and weaknesses. The counterpoint to this is that Shakespeare deals with human behaviour and action, be it individual or collective, using his characters as the vehicles for displaying common personality traits.