Saturday 1 August 2020

What Makes a Good Writer? (originally written by Zadie Smith)

Third part now.

What writers know

First things first: writers do not have perfect or even superior knowledge about the quality or otherwise of their own work — God knows, most writers are quite deluded about the nature of their own talent. But writers do have a different kind of knowledge than either professors or critics. Occasionally it’s worth listening to. The insight of the practitioner is, for better or worse, unique.

(Click here to continue reading)


  1. Thank you for this series which I have found fascinating.
    'A writer’s personality is his manner of being in the world: his writing style is the unavoidable trace of that manner.' particularly interested me. I suspect it is true of all artistic genres and not only writers - which makes me wonder about works created by artists who also commit acts I find morally repugnant. Can you separate the artist from his/her work? Should you?

  2. I can understand this idea of a writer's style as being a personal necessity. Interesting questions posed by Elephant's Child, too...

  3. Looking forward to your book!Nice reading !


  4. Good writers, like any good communicator, worry about one thing and one thing only: connecting their audience to the story. Good writers construct their writing in a way that's understood by their target audience. Big words, little words, made up words and even text speak are all up for grabs

    Tu eres un buen escritor, escribes simple claro interesante y corto fundamental para ser un buen blogger.
    El blogger no escribe largo, no se tiene tiempo ,de ir de blog en blog con un libro a cuestas para leer otro libro
    Un abrazo regresa siempre

  5. I agree on that about different kind of knowledge than either professors or critics.

  6. Writers who use pen names often go unnoticed and unrecognized for periods of time. Agatha Christie created detective novels and short stories, but few are aware she also wrote six romance novels under the pen name Mary Westmacott. Stephen King wrote seven novels using the name Richard Bachman. Most know Mark Twain's real name was Samuel Clements, but Clements used a variety of other pseudonyms, as well: Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, Sergeant Fathom and W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab.

    I am not certain how the personalities of these writers left an unavoidable trace of their manners of being in the world. Perhaps, they actually were split personalities so there would have been multiple traces?

    Sort of teasing, CiL, but this series requires some serious thought ....

  7. A good thought.
    I also believe that if a writer has a different level of intelligence than other writers in concocting a topic, it becomes more interesting to read.

    Greetings from Indonesia.

  8. Would you like to share something about writing in what is not your Mother´s Tongue? Or did you grow up with it?
    My parents did not speak English and I live in Germany, sadly, still and can only visit Perth every two years (thanks to that darn virus who knows when again).

  9. What a purrfect description of style, Mario.

  10. I think I can write when it comes to personal experiences, but I will never be able to write a book, to invent a story.
    Take care!

  11. Nice link of a graphic image to the essay. Zadie Smith's words never expire.

  12. Oh thank you so much for this. I have found that it helps me immensely in understanding my own rather amateurish scribblings. Quite often, I finish a poem or piece of prose and find myself wondering "where on earth did that come from?"😉
    And now here is my answer!
    Thank you much.😊😊

    Have a great day.

    Greetings from Hampshire.

  13. Me gustó tu forma de ver las cosas, la conciencia es lo necesario y eso es el estilo, tener bien educadas las emociones. Gran serie vas llevando a cabo y felicitaciones por los artículos. Saludos desde El Blog de Boris Estebitan.

  14. Very interesting!
    Stay safe and well, Mario! Fortunately the weather there looks to be cooler now.



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