On “Great Writing”

As I’ve been reading lesser works by well-known authors this summer, I’ve wondered what makes a work great.  Is it imagery, plot, character development, or the ability to surprise?  Is it subtlety or precise diction?  Paragraph structure or syntax?  Is it the author’s ability to keep the reader uncomfortable yet still engaged?

I don’t know.

This article in The New York Times has an interesting take.  I like the question, “Why, for example, do the great writers use anticipation instead of surprise?”:

“How To Write Great” by Roger Rosenblatt.


One thought on “On “Great Writing”

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by the question about why one work of an artist is considered great and another is not held in as high regard. It often seems so arbitrary. I mean, why is Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath considered greater than The Pearl? Why is Rodin’s The Thinker considered greater than Eternal Springtime? Why is any sculpture considered greater than Michelangelo’s Pieta? Why is Patrick Swayze’s Ghost considered greater than Road House? Some questions cannot be answered.


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