What makes a good writer? I was thinking about this today because of my favorite place for breakfast. This place usually serves fluffy omelets loaded with diced ham, baby shrimps, mushrooms, chopped celery, parsley and sweet onions alongside a generous portion of chunky panfries--the kind that's crispy golden on the outside and tender on the inside--plus the ubiquitous thick slice of toasted nutbread, pat of butter and mini-pot of peach jam. Needless to say, my friends and I had our mouths and stomachs ready for this memorable feast, starting with the generous cup of fresh-brewed coffee. The sign on the window should have warned us: "Under New Management." Our highly anticipated breakfast was "memorable," just not in a good way.
Which brings me back to my original question: "What makes a good writer?"
I think even a well-established writer can have an "off" day. I enjoy reading books written by a familiar name because I expect these books to be a few hours or days of wonderful "escapism." How disappointing when you anticipate a good--no, a "great" read--and it isn't. There should have been a warning on the cover: "Under New Management." I like to think even best-selling authors/writers can have a bad day at their computers. I feel it makes them more human, even a tad more humble, because the stress from their readers' expectations must be horrendous. I like to think that the not-so-good pages that were painfully filled that day would be ruthlessly re-read the next and just as ruthlessly shredded. And, if the manuscript miraculously made it to the editor's desk, then that person should have been honest, not awestruck, and sent it back.
Readers know what they like. It's no surprise that we are loyal to their authors and if we have to wait a year or two or even three before the next book, then let's make it a worthwhile wait. I appreciate the hours spent putting the right words together--it's not easy. To be able to grab the readers by the eye-balls with the first few sentences; to maintain that level of expectation we seek from that author; to satisfy our long awaited anticipations and having that great feeling of wanting more when the last page is read--then, My Friend, that is a truly great writer!