Strong writing tells a story and contains substantial, clear detail that is not too over the top or too minimal. Writing is much like making a fajita. A good fajita is perfectly seasoned, juicy, and composed of all the necessary ingredients – never too few or too many.
Obviously, good writing does not contain any grammatical or spelling errors, but beyond this good writing is structured in a way that makes the story that the author is trying to tell make sense. When you are making fajitas, you don’t put seasoning in your pan before the vegetables, or add vegetables to a tortilla before they are cooked. If the beginning, middle, and end of a piece of writing is not clear then the reader is going to lose interest due to confusion, or, not want to eat your fajitas. According to an article by Ann Handley, “good writing anticipates questions” (Handley). Handley is saying that good writing often keeps readers on edge, wondering what is going to happen next, keeping their emotions invested as the storyline progresses. Readers should be asking questions throughout the novel, and the element of surprise is often found in good writing because it keeps the story interesting. The same goes for fajitas; if you use a packet of McCormick fajita mix, you’re going to produce a mainstream flavor that your guest has probably tasted before. When you begin to add an unexpected spice here and there, creating your own unique and robust flavor, your fajitas are going to rise above those made by the other guy who just threw a generic packet of fajita mix onto some vegetables.
Good writing is often times not extremely short, but that does not mean that it needs to be extremely long. The best writing is generally between long and short, offering up all the information the reader needs along with some additional detail. When cooking your fajitas, you don’t want to undercook or overcook your meat and vegetables, and the same goes for how much seasoning you add: you do not want your fajitas to lack seasoning, or, in turn, be over-seasoned. The perfect fajita is going to have all of the meat, peppers and onions it needs, seasoned with just the right amount of spices, (maybe even a few unexpected ones), and cooked for the perfect amount of time.
One more thing: the best fajitas are going to leave your guest wanting to reach for seconds.