Thursday, February 21, 2008

Trying Again

Ok, if you are looking to leave comments about what makes good writing, let's try this again! Sorry for the confusion! I still don't know how that happened with no comment section on the last post-- I never claimed to be a techno dynamo!

Some wonderfully devoted readers sent me comments via email, which I am going to include here just to get the ball rolling... I hope this will inspire some of you to add to the discussion-- no answer is too silly! I mean seeing as how mine is "including scenes with food!" Ü

Here is Bonita's:
I can't get your blog commenting thing to work today so I'm sending my comment here. What makes good writing? I have to divide it into two categories.

Fiction- NUANCES! It's all about those little subtle things the characters do that make them the individuals they are and all the little social things that happen when they interact, things that are usually under the radar. So, when it comes to fiction I'm all about people, people, people and how they interact with others and how they think in their minds.

Nonfiction- Tell me a story from real life! I cannot stand preachyness which is why I rarely read books written by clergy or T.V. preachers. I want to hear a story that shows how something applies to real life. This also helps me identify with the author. I want to be able to say either, "Me too, I'm just like that," or "Wow, this author is really different from me."

Patti said:
I was reading your most recent post and wanted to share my comment about what I find most interesting in writings...I love to learn about people and how they "tick" so when a writer describes a person so that I can visualize their expressions that keeps my attention. Not a profound answer by any stretch but maybe this will get the ball rolling for others to comment??

So writers and readers out there-- what say you??
Pin It!


Marybeth said...

Yay! My comments are working again! Ü

Karen said...

Delurking to say that I agree with your comment about food. Now that I think of it, many of my favorite books include lots of food scenes. I like the way one commenter divided her thoughts into fiction and non-fiction. For fiction, a strong female character appeals to me. Also, authors that challenge me with new vocabulary words -- or old ones that I just don't use very often. I don't want to feel as though I'm reading a thesaurus, but the way words are spun together can make it or break it for me. As for non-fiction, I like a conversational tone and a human element. Doris Kearnes Goodwin is one of my favorite non-fiction writers. Great question!

Lisa B @ simply His said...

Hey Marybeth,

I'm with Bonita and Patty -- if I can relate to the character by reading her thoughts, or the little things she does, that makes for a good book. Or if she'd do things I'd never do, that can be interesting as well -- but the characters need to show they are not perfect, because we are not :)

As far as your other post not allowing comments, go into Blogger and edit the post. There should be a header "Post and Comment Options" with a little arrow next to it. Click the arrow so it's pointed down to show the form. Make sure that Allow New Comments on This Post is set to Yes. That may have been turned off somehow. Weirder things happen with computers as you know from your laptop experiences!

Alyce said...

like you, I love the parts about food..and the experiences ppl have..are they together at the kitchen table or are they out on the beach for a picnic, what are they eating/ drinking...are they in a swanky restaurant (like my hubby took me to this weekend)

Valerie said...

I kept looking for the comments button, but I've been too busy writing "I get paid for this" stuff. (I'm taking a little break before I dive back in to meet tomorrow's deadline.)

I like books that present real people, thinking and acting like real people. A lot of authors get trapped in people's heads and never get to the action or they try to make *every* *single* *thing* have 20 different profound meanings. I admit to skipping long descriptions if they don't seem to have a direct effect on the story or give valuable character development. Of course, I do tend to prefer a lot of juvenile fiction, so that may tell you something about my character :-)

I *just* got the email with the marketing stuff for my *first published piece*! I'm so excited I can hardly breathe!

Celly B said...

As writing seems to become more important again on an informal level now that people are using blogs and email so much, I think good writing entails being concise and to-the-point (which yours, Marybeth, always are!). I hate reading a piece that is intended for an audience but is vague and dances around a point but never quite gets to it. If a writer hasn't quite figured out what to say, she should write in a journal first--that is what they're for!

Sorry for the negative slant there! It's just a pet peeve of mine.

As far as formal writing goes, I love great description and an intertwining theme or motif throughout a novel. In nonfiction, I like to see how a real-life experience has prompted a lesson.

Thanks for the post. This is an interesting topic!

Kelli said...

I agree with what others have said about developing a good character and what makes them tick.

I also love it when the writer gives you very detailed scenery! It makes me feel like I'm right there. For instance, if they describe a cozy cottage in the hills of Ireland. When they give all the little details of what is around them and what it looks like, I feel as if I am right there with them :)

That was a fun post, Marybeth!


Laura said...

I love writing that stirs my know makes me laugh or cry. I love to cry!! Is that a girl thing?

Anonymous said...

I love it when you read a non-fiction book and you feel like you're on the listening end of a good conversation. The book isn't written in a "formal" format. It seems to have the comfortable feel of a conversation with a friend. It's real, believable and honest.

Laura said...

I love to read everything from fiction to non-fiction. If it moves too slow though, I will put it down and not finish it.

I like things that challenge me and make me think through what I believe. It makes me consider if I believe this way because the bible says it or because that is the tradition of my denomination.

I love fiction that both develops around a character and intrigues me with their life. Again - if it takes to long for me to connect with the character, I'm out of there.

sarah said...

I love books that can combine both suspenseful fiction and deeper truthes. Kind of like - "Circling like a hungry shark, her eyes devoured the feast, aware her selections would be scrutunized by every other woman sitting around her. The eyes won. She however left slightly hungry which served her next adventure well."

Okay - I just made that up but you wanted creative. I definitely like authors that incorporate such tension that you are drawn from page to page, investing your thoughts and feelings into those of the characters. You know a good book when you are left with a sense of loss when the book is over and you crave the next interaction.

I also find that authors who have done their history and can cleverly hide it behind the intricately woven characters and their interactions also make stories richer and leave you feeling more "full."