‘Well-written’ – what does that actually mean to us? 1

A very short and sweet* musing from the Ink monkey.

We see the term ‘well-written’ banded around in reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, Shelfari, all over the place in fact, but what does ‘well written’ actually mean to Kristell Ink?

Well, firstly, a quick search on the internet pulls up the following definition:

composed in a competent, and often entertaining, style (http://www.thefreedictionary.com)

I think this sums up what we’re after here in the office. Nowhere does this definition state that you have to use every modifier you can think of; or have to use a thesaurus to come up with an alternative because ‘oh God, I used the word coat earlier in this paragraph’. Good writing is honest writing with a purpose. Each word should be there for a reason. Each section and chapter needs to bring something to the book.

(We don’t believe in the strict ‘no adverbs’ rule either. Sometimes those –ly words are perfect to convey your message/emotion/action. It’s all about balance.)


*yes, sweet.

One thought on “‘Well-written’ – what does that actually mean to us?

  • colin smith

    The word “well-written” has the same basic meaning as when “well” precedes any other past-participle. What isn’t so clear is that the degree to which something is done “well” is wholly reliant on context. If you work for Rolls-Royce then your “well-made” had better be damn near excellent but if you work for Honda and take the same degree of care as if you worked for RR you’d be time-wasting and out of a job.

    Of course, if you work for RR then you’re likely to have the skills to work for Honda but not everyone who works for Honda has the skills to work for RR.

    Call me arrogant, but I like to think if RR were to employ a novelist I’d be in with a chance.

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