What is good writing? To me, I define good writing as having clarity, cohesion, and coherence. (I feel like I read that in a writing book, the 3 C’s…but I can’t remember for the life of me where.) Good writing, as the title suggests, goes beyond genre. Whether it’s a fiction book, personal essay, newspaper article, email to a coworker, job application, or a doctoral dissertation, good writing can set you above the rest.
Lets break apart those three C’s (as defined by Merriam-Webster):
Clarity: the quality or state of being clear
Cohesion: the act or state of sticking together tightly
Coherence: systematic or logical connection or consistency
While similar, these three things are different. Clarity in writing is to be clear; when you read something with clarity you understand the words. When something lacks clarity, you might feel the need to reread it, or read slower.
Cohesion in writing is keeping your thoughts together and moving them along in such a way that one thought leads into the next; one thought doesn’t wander off in a different direction. All thoughts lead to the same end-thought.
Coherence is the logical pattern with which you write. Does one thought make sense after another? Coherence is logic and consistency in writing on a sentence/grammatical level as well as a plot/character level.
These three words have a place in fiction writing, but they also matter in non-fiction writing. Ever read someone’s essay and have no idea what they were talking about? How about a computer program manual? Advice on the internet? Can you believe that some people don’t use punctuation? Such a shame. Or, for fun, read the comments on a popular YouTube video. You’ll lose a few brain cells, but you’ll feel like a genius at the same time.
Point: good writing is important. The art of the sentence is dwindling in today’s world. Written and verbal communication will always be needed, regardless of how advanced or sad the world becomes. People will always talk to each other, and people will always have stories to tell and read.