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Objectively determining writing skill

Objectively determining writing skill

So by what standards would one qualitatively (but objectively, meaning that multiple people can arrive at similar conclusions) determine the quality of a written work?

What things do you look for?

By separating the story and the writing. But if you're doing that for prose you've somewhat missed the point really. Not to mention someone can have amazing writing skills but completely fail at telling a story, while someone else can tell an amazing story but their punctuation could use some work. The first one would be the more skilled writer, but the second one is the one you'd keep reading or listening to.

Usually the best way to accurately qualitatively judge writing is through the use of multiple judges. Most standardized tests that include writing portions have multiple people read and review the essay, to make sure an accurate and roughly universal judgement is reached.

I would say you can only truly say you can determine the quality of a work based on its grammatical correctness

There is no true way to objectively assess a written work. As a human being, you will be biased in some way shape or form. There is no escaping this fact. Therefore, there is no way you could look at something with complete objectivity. Language evolves just like culture. I suppose you could base your assessment on the current acceptable standards, but why would you? AgOoDwRiTeRmAyCoNfOrMtOwHaTiSwIdElYaCcEpTeDaScOrReCtBuTaGrEaTwRiTeRkNoWsThAtThErEaReNoRuLe StHaTcAnNotBeBrOkEnUnDeRtHeRiGhTcIrCuMsTaNcEs

In my opinion it is the message that is more important than the medium, but then again, the sentence above made me want to gouge my own eyes out, so I'm probably just full of crap.

Originally Posted by LucianV View Post
AgOoDwRiTeRmAyCoNfOrMtOwHaTiSwIdElYaCcEpTeDaScOrReCtBuTaGrEaTwRiTeRkNoWsThAtThErEaReNoRuLe StHaTcAnNotBeBrOkEnUnDeRtHeRiGhTcIrCuMsTaNcEs
Very true. Mind you, most of what makes that writer GrEaT is that they can identify tHeRiGhTcIrCuMsTaNcEs, which is an important skill.

I don't think writing skill is about spelling and grammar, although (tHeRiGhTcIrCuMsTaNcEs aside) good spelling and grammar is a prerequisite to good writing. Mind you, there is such a thing as style in grammar.

I think writing skill is very much about how they can tell a story - or, if it's an essay, convey an idea. Unfortunately, that simply isn't objective.

I think that it depends highly on the style of writing in question. What makes for good poetry is entirely different from what makes for a great short story.

Still the real question at hand becomes "Is it possible to objectively determine the quality of a written piece?" I don't think it is. I could give you my personal opinion of a work, but that is hardly objective. I have my own ideas about what is "interesting", what "makes sense" and even "what is acceptable by today's standards" that hardly makes it right to anyone but myself. I guess we might as well argue about what the best color is...

Originally Posted by Naleh View Post
I think writing skill is very much about how they can tell a story - or, if it's an essay, convey an idea. Unfortunately, that simply isn't objective.
True, Naleh. But aren't we talking about objective analysis, rather than subjective? Does that mean the mechanical nature of the story alone, and not the emotional part of it? I don't know, myself. If so, then the discussion boils down to analysis of punctuation, spelling, grammar. If not, the subjective part would be the reaction to the story and how well its written. there may be a few cross-overs, such as tempo and logic that may exist.

I'm with LucianV here - there is no way to call written work good or bad objectively. There is, in fact, no way to assign value to anything and call it objective. By definition, it is not.

I had a creative writing professor tell us than any story or work that was good enough that he forgot he was reading school work would get an A.


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