What is meant by quality writing, and why should we, as writers, aspire to write quality?
To me, quality writing is about checking and editing it to ensure the message we wish to convey is apparent to us and other potential readers. Checking and editing can be done at the appropriate time.
We should aspire to write quality to avoid vagueness and having to clarify something. When we’re not clear with our writing it can waste time trying to get our message across, with the discussion of errors, and it can confuse other people with possible double meanings.
What do you do, specifically, to improve the quality of your writing?
The first thing to do, for me, is quite simple. I take a break from it after I’ve written something. This works wonders in giving me distance from my own material. Then, I think about anything I may want to add, in the next few hours, or the next day.
If I think it’s almost complete in its content I’ll leave it for a few more days, then I’ll give it a final proofread or make minor additions or changes to the text, to avoid the possibility of introducing further error.
When did you start focusing on the quality of your writing?
When you’re a writer, you’re usually at least slightly conscious of the fact that somebody else may be reading your writing, if not immediately, then in some point in the future. I think this was the same with me, and I made minor changes all the time to improve consistency or the way the text was presented.
A more concentrated effort to improve the quality of my writing probably came with the realisation that I could improve my writing, after repeated first drafts and enough time reading back my own work. This happened during 2016, I think, as I was trying to ‘write better novels’ and it’s a process that has lasted to Summer 2018 so far.
Do readers judge writers on the quality of their writing?
That depends. Friends or readers who are more interested in supporting you as an author than giving critical reviews won’t judge the quality of your writing in their reviews. They may privately have thoughts relating to the quality of your writing, and if you notice a lot of readers don’t read further books in your series this may be a sign, but more often than not it is normal for friends and writer acquaintances to read just a single book of yours.
Reviewers are another matter. If more than a few reviewers have been unhappy with the quality of your writing, and they’ve said as much then it’s a sure sign that readers do judge writers on the quality of their writing. There are a lot of discerning reviewers out there too. Sometimes it’s personal opinion, but more often than not there is truth in personal opinion, if it’s constructive.
What can writers do to be conscious of the quality of their writing?
I think this doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult.
1. Keep writing.
2. Read and edit.
3. Look at your writing from different angles, using different methods.
4. Keep your plans simple.
5. Take a break.
6. Get feedback.