Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Makes Good Writing?

Last night I was reading a fiction book, and just enjoying the good writing. This particular novel has been slow moving thus far... not a lot of action but some good character development and a lot of examination of the thought life of the characters. But good writing overall. (Better than I can do!)

Anyway, last night as I was reading one of the scenes, I noticed yet again that I am particularly drawn to scenes where the characters are eating, specifically when the writer includes details about the specific foods the characters are eating. Is this odd? I have noticed it a lot when I read-- which is perhaps why I love Elizabeth Berg's writing so much. She is a bit of a foodie, and thus, her characters eat a lot. (Just read the last part of her writing book, Escaping Into The Open to understand this.)

Last night the character made some toast and slathered it with almond butter. And I sat there and wondered how many people eat almond butter on their toast. I, for one, have never tried almond butter. Is it sweet? I just found it fascinating and felt that this scene really played into who this character is-- no regular old butter for this girl! Her tastes are a bit more refined, more cutting edge. It made me sympathize with her even more.

All of this got me thinking about how I am drawn to food scenes, how I feel like it makes the writing better. Makes it stand out. And so, I am posing the question to you all. What do you think makes good writing?

Don't give me the standard "writing class" answer. Let me know what resonates with you. It can be something silly or serious. Something playful or deep. I want to know! And don't hesitate to answer because you feel like you won't answer right-- I am admitting that food scenes do it for me!
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