Common Attributes of Great Writing

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

Writing that moves us contain common traits that create pure magic for the reader. Here’s a few of the most common attributes that I teach in my writing workshop “Creating Magic.”

Common Attributes of Great Writing

  • The language is clear, concise, logical, and uses economy. Clarity of writing equals communication because the writing is specific, to the point, and organized. Remember in your writing:  Less is more.
  • The focus of a piece never waivers. Each word contributes to the writer’s overall intentions, and the reader never questions the focus of the piece.
  • The reader understands the writer and wants to know more. Unlike spoken language, which gives immediate feedback, writing gives delayed reactions. But the writer must engage the reader enough to read beyond the first word, the first sentence, and hopefully the first paragraph.
  • The writer conveys passion. When writers write from the heart, the writing becomes vigorous, interesting, and engaging. Many experts say, “Write what you know,” but I believe you should write what you “feel.”
  • The writer becomes the reader. The writer understands exactly what the reader needs and conveys that through the writing. Step back from the writing and imagine you are reading it as an impartial observer. Never forget what the reader needs to know to understand, but also never condescend to the reader by telling them the obvious.

Read this letter written by Queen Elizabeth I to one of her bishops who refused to sell property to one of the Queen’s friends.

You know what you were before I made you what you are now. If you do not immediately comply with my request, I will unfrock you. By God.


This piece reflects clear, concise, logical, and economical language, with a very clear focus. The reader understands exactly what this writer means. Passion oozes off the page, and the writer of this note knows exactly what impact the words will have on the reader.

This three-sentence note contains all the components of great writing. The Queen created magic with her words.

What makes a piece of writing magical for you?

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