Is quality of writing subjective?

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Decoy Elite

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Edited By Decoy Elite

Let me first say that this is really two questions, the first, "Is writing art?" is simple enough to answer and I'd wager most(myself included) would say yes.  
 
Then comes the second, "Does this make the quality of writing subjective?" is a bit trickier.  
 
You see when I see people discuss drawing or music or other arts they all end up saying that while they like something it's more about personal preference, that the quality is at the end of the day subjective. And I wonder that if writing is an art then isn't the same true? Doesn't taste have as much an influence as actual writing skill? For instance, I know plenty of smart people who like Twilight, now I haven't read Twilight but that's because I am convinced the writing is crap. But is it really? Or is the problem that it's simply not the kind of story or writing that I enjoy? There are plenty of examples of this sort of thing, one that comes to mind is Dan Brown's stuff. I tried reading his books but I couldn't stand them at all, I felt like the writing was just the worst and yet I've heard plenty praise him as an author.  
 
Personally I'm leaning towards quality of writing being subjective to at least the point of drawing. There's still an overarching "quality" to a given style but preference seems to be important too.  
 
So anyone else got an opinion on this? 

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Billy Batson

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#1  Edited By Billy Batson

I've noticed on CV that some user praise certain writers, not naming any, while on the other hand I have found those writers being just okay. So yes, it is.
BB

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texasdeathmatch

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#2  Edited By texasdeathmatch

Eh, I mean I enjoyed Hunger Games, even though the writing wasn't phenomenal. 

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TrueIlluminatus

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#3  Edited By TrueIlluminatus
@Decoy Elite: People tend to praise Dan Brown for the extensive research he does before, and during the writing of his novels. Also, because he is quite adept at creating compelling characters, even though the dialogue often falls flat in his books.
 
He's an excellent storyteller, but his execution isn't always top notch.
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Jonny_Anonymous

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#4  Edited By Jonny_Anonymous

I would say almost ever thing in life is subjective and I have read Twilight and although it's not as bad as what every body makes it out to be (beacuse it's apparntly cool to slag it off now) the writing did come across as some sort of wish fulfilment/fan fic deal 

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renchamp

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#5  Edited By renchamp

I don't think any art form can be purely subjective. There still has to be some objective merit, too. I can't stand the writing of Loise Simonson, but I can appreciate what she's done for the comic medium. Why? Because there is an objective consensus on her writing. I can see the good qualities despite my subjective disdain for her style. I'm not answering anything with this post...

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LONGTIME

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#6  Edited By LONGTIME

Yes./thread

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Magian

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#7  Edited By Magian

Of course it is subjective, up to a certain point.

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PowerHerc

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#8  Edited By PowerHerc

Yes. Writing is completely open to interpretation.

Liking or disliking something once it's read is opinion based on the likes, dislikes, background of, experiences of and the mood (at the time of reading) of each individual reader.

Writing is not objective. It's not " 2+2 = 4 ." Which has one correct answer and should turn out the same no matter who interprets it.

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Steps

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#9  Edited By Steps

@ComicMan24 said:

Of course it is subjective, up to a certain point.

I'd have to agree with this, because I can't see how anyone would consider Austen's handling of Nightcrawler quality

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cyberninja

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#10  Edited By cyberninja

Yes it is. 

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SC

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#11  Edited By SC  Moderator

Cool thread - I'd say yes to first question, but then again i think their is an art to everything if you do it right.  
 
Then subjective? Well sure, but like most things it depends. In the same way that everything is essentially different, everything is also essentially the same. So you can gauge or measure something based on its differences (Hulk is in this comic book, so its better) but also similarities (this comic book was better because most comic books have words and the words in this book told a story and the other books words were vomit inducing) but then you can also deconstruct what's worth valuing as far as either and so I mean, why did I single out words with the similarities instead of paper quality, and also why did I imply vomit inducing as a negative? Might be a positive.... so finding people that roughly agree with you on what qualities are worth valuing helps. So thus I personally see it as both. Sorta depends. As well as a persons independent ability to actually identify what they actually like and dislike about things.  
 
Like I know some guys who read Hulk just because they like living vicariously though Hulk and project into the comic and blue details and insert their own little understandings into the book. One of my smartest, most intelligent and well adjusted friends read the Twilight books, and in a similar way she recognized the quality of the book sucked, was more like projection fantasy scenario. Its like an old, rich vampire and a werewolf are fighting for her love and attention and what did she do? Nothing. Then again, if you imagine the vampire is Selene from Underworld and uh... Shakira from that video... and probably lots of guys would probably want to watch that in the whole vicarious Hulk smash... uh... sense of the uh... meaning... lol

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#12  Edited By DanialCarroll

For pre-existing characters (such as in comics), I feel it's the writer's job to simply come up with an interesting scenario to put them in as the character's personality, traits, and mannerisms are already developed. I consider someone a "bad writer" when they can't do that and feel they need to drastically change the character to suit their story.

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Decoy Elite

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#13  Edited By Decoy Elite
@Danial79 said:
For pre-existing characters (such as in comics), I feel it's the writer's job to simply come up with an interesting scenario to put them in as the character's personality, traits, and mannerisms are already developed. I consider someone a "bad writer" when they can't do that and feel they need to drastically change the character to suit their story.
Eh, I'm not sure. I think a character should still develop even if they're pre-existing, although I agree that making too large a change isn't a good thing. 
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DanialCarroll

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#14  Edited By DanialCarroll
@Decoy Elite Character evolution is fine. I'm talking drastic changes like making Sentry an agoraphobic or Moon Knight having Multiple Personality Disorder.
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thephantomstranger

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Everything is quantitative when using the proper scales. Someone judging a piece of writing simply has to recognize any form of bias they have and take that into account. If Twilight, I have never read it, truly is an escape fantasy about getting into a relationship without any effort and getting mad at your dad when he gets you a car then it could simply be a well written one of those stories. Of course from most accounts it is not well written but of course that could mostly be from people who do not classify it in such a specific category.

Another example, the G.I. Joe sequel does not look like a very good war movie and if I were to compare it to the Hurt Locker it get thrown off a ledge and into a waterfall but if we go by the scale of insane nonsensical, ninja, action, Bruce Willis, etc. then it's chances of impression rise. Simply identify what the audience is and judge it by it's goals. If you are not in the target audience and cannot put yourself in their shoes then simply pay it no thoughts, either positive or malicious.

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#16  Edited By Swedberg

bloodymore _ writemyessays said:

It rather depends on the tastes. Then it seems to relative: tastes differ, but there're readers with poor tastes and good tastes too, as well as there are authors whose writing is good and those whose narration is rather poor.

Even more: there's a huge difference between writing for creative fulfillment and writing for a publication. There can never be a sense of total “rightness”. That's a fact.

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Swedberg

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#17  Edited By Swedberg

I wrote RPG stories and other stuff, but are all of them too good? Mike Duran: Good Writing is not Subjective - several examples of good and bad writing.

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Lan_Fan

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@magian said:

Of course it is subjective, up to a certain point.

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SentryVoid7

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#19 SentryVoid7  Online

No.

Whether someone likes or does not like an artwork it has nothing to do with its quality.

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Windshieldwiper

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@billy_batson said:

I've noticed on CV that some user praise certain writers, not naming any, while on the other hand I have found those writers being just okay. So yes, it is.

BB

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FaradaySloth

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Yes it's subjective.

For example, I don't find Eiichiro Oda that great in terms of writing to be honest, he's incredibly inconsistent, while on the other hand I find Sarah J Maas to be underappreciated in her novel series Throne of Glass.

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#22  Edited By Necromancer76

No.

When it comes to movies and TV shows, writing has both objective and subjective elements. My go-to definition is this:

Objectivity: The idea of explaining what happened and how effectively it was achieved in its craft without influence from emotion.

Subjectivity: The idea of explaining what it made you think and what it made you feel, and if you can, explain why it does that for you specifically.

You can enjoy a poorly written movie/show and you can also dislike a well-written movie/show

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ReaperTheGrim

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No something being objectively good is different from you liking it

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Lunacyde

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#24 Lunacyde  Moderator

Writing has both an objective and subjective component. Grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, etc are objective. Writing style, word usage, storytelling, etc are largely subjective.

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ANTHP2000

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There's an objective side to all different kinds of art, which is why there's respective academic studies regarding the construction, examination and reception of each of individual art (theatrology, philology, musicology and so on). But at its core, art is largely subjective, and by extent so is literature.

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SpareHeadOne

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Either lots of people subjectively love it or not many people subjectively love it.

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KillerQueen

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Absolutely.

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Buckwheat

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@decoy_elite: Writing are subjective yes it are hence why you are not to judge a text but instead of that you are to judge the person who will taste is like.

If you don't think that the sentence above is rubbish, no matter the personal preference of the rider, you are right: writing is subjective.

(It's not.)

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snicker-snack

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Logical consistency isn't subjective and that's an important part of writing.

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SocaJunkie

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Writing is objective: grammar, punctuation, pacing, character development, dialogue, world building etc even story and plot are somewhat objective in quality to a degree. The only subjective thing about writing is the enjoyment of the literature.

Fifty Shades of Grey has objectively mediocre writing yet it’s incredibly successful so there’s a lot of subjective enjoyment.

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ninetoadclown

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Yes writing is an art.

Writing can be subjective based on subject Or entertainment value but can be objective if we are talking mechanics of writing.

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OrangeVegeta

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Writing has objective qualities, but how important those qualities are too you is subjective.

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OrangeVegeta

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Writing has objective qualities, but how important those qualities are too you is subjective.