What Makes a Good Writer

It is a cerebration of one’s brain that a respectable piece of workmanship should abstain from pretentious exhaustion of diction. Get any of that? What I meant to say was if I’m ever going to understand some writing I would prefer not to be attacked with a swarm of long words that hurt my brain long before I can begin to understand them. Rather, a good piece of writing should ideally stand as a clear representation of the writer’s thoughts.

No I do not want to read a plain monosyllabic piece of writing that lacks colour and personality, nor do I want to sift through whatever word vomit that has resulted from thesaurus overload.
There is nothing wrong with using big words as long as they are balanced out with clarity. While most of Nick Coleman’s work utilises this balance appropriately, a part of his 1993 article on Kate Bush seemed to me like the very attack of long words that I do despise – “as each new album appeared, invariably accompanied by a slew of visual appendices demonstrating a heightening taste for sub-literary interior fantasy, Bush acquired the imprimatur of an authentic English auteur-eccentric”. Nevertheless the concept is not too hard to grasp, despite almost reaching that swarm of long words Coleman is lucid in what is he saying. As a result, I am able to make sense of his words and learn from them; a good writer doesn’t set out to show off their extended vocabulary but to expand that of their readers.

Originality is key so when we greeted with the same old cliché it is hard to identify the masterminds from those who fancy a stab at ‘that writing malarkey’. Reduce, reuse, recycle. These are all good concepts until you relate them to writing. The Stool Pigeon’s A-Z ‘Guide to Music Journalist Bullshit’ provides a humorous insight into what we really mean when we repeat things like “infectiously upbeat” and that saying a piece of music has tribal rhythms is really just saying that it just sounds like Animal Collective (if you’re unaware of this band they are a deconstructive pop group, and if you’re unfamiliar with this term, it means they sound like Animal Collective). Yes comparisons are good, but please, spare me my sanity and just tell me exactly what it is about the two artists that are similar, after all, as John Harris says, “how is it that writing about music now is everywhere, and yet seems to be nowhere at all?“


Coleman, N. (1993) Kate Bush: Daft As A Bush. By Nick Coleman : Articles, reviews and interviews from Rock’s Backpages.. [online] Available at: http://www.rocksbackpages.com/Library/Article/kate-bush-daft-as-a-bush [Accessed: 14 May 2013].
Harris, J. (2009) Don’t look back. [online] Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jun/27/music-writing-bangs-marcus [Accessed: 14 May 2013].
Thestoolpigeon.co.uk (2013) The Stool Pigeon Guide to Music Journalist Bullshit | The Stool Pigeon. [online] Available at: http://www.thestoolpigeon.co.uk/features/news/an-a-z-guide-to-music-journalist-bullshit.html [Accessed: 14 May 2013].

Author: Samantha Mae

Hi! I am a music and lifestyle blogger based near Margate, UK. Forever keeping an ear out for new music, particularly anything of the indie persuasion and always willing to spout on about life in general. Open to collaboration and new ideas, get in touch!

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