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Website of author and professional editor Rachelle M. N. Shaw. Find information about her books, her editing services, and her blog, From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing.

From Mind to Paper: On Writing and Editing

From Mind to Paper is a blog for writers, editors, and those interested in the English language. It covers a multitude of writing topics, from punctuation and grammar to plot development, character development, and world building. In addition to in-depth articles about various writing topics, this blog also has a number of series posts, which are currently being transformed into a nonfiction series on writing.

"Why Good Writing Matters" Series: Introduction

Rachelle M. N. Shaw

During the next week or so, I will be making posts on my first blog series, "Why Good Writing Matters." Each blog will address one aspect of writing and why it is important for making a book a fine piece of literature. What sparked the idea for this series? After skimming down the pages of various websites, I noticed that there was some controversy by posters as to whether or not so-called "good writing" was essential for a story to be deemed enjoyable. I then scanned some writing websites, seeing if the controversy carried over to a more specific audience. My findings confirmed the theory that there are several people who believe such skills aren't that big of a deal and have little influence on whether a book was good or not. This got me thinking. Why do some readers and authors care very little about the mechanics of the writing, so long as the story (plot) is good?

After some quick conversations with a few of my non-grammar-loving friends who enjoy reading, I discovered that this was actually a rather in depth issue. It seemed that the degree of interest the individual had for the level of writing skill was dependent on several factors. It mattered how much the individual read on a regular basis, what types of books and genres they enjoyed, their familiarity with a wide range of literature, and how much they cared about the English language (grammar and the like) in general. The differences from one individual to another were astonishing. Two people that seemed to like the same genre could actually have a very different viewpoint when it came to a specific work of fiction based on their experience and interests in other areas.

My conclusion? I'm not sure there is a definitive answer as to why some people care more about the mechanics of writing than others, or even if there is a right or wrong answer as to whether it's totally necessary. For me personally, I'd be hopping on the train for those who believe good writing absolutely matters, but I do still respect those who have a difference of opinion and are solely reading for enjoyment, having no interest in discussing the details of the writing craft itself. However, for the sake of this blog (and my editing career), I'm going to take a stance on this one and make a case for the side that proclaims not only does it matter, but that good writing is what makes a good book, a good book!