What is good writing?
That is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it.
--Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Good writing takes many forms. A good letter, a good novel, a good poem, a good magazine advertisement, a good newspaper article, a good scholarly essay, a good speech, a good instruction manual, a good catalog description, and a good piece of college writing will not possess identical qualities. College writing - the kind of writing The Guide is designed to help students do - can itself be good in different ways. No single description can capture the varied features of a good lab report, a good piece of historical or sociological or psychological or anthropological research, a good literary or artistic analysis, a good business memo, and a good philosophical essay. Yet if the details of good college writing differ from one discipline to another, a few broad features mark good writing in every discipline. Like Conrad's Kurtz (who is not to be admired for much else), a good writer has something to say and says it. More specifically, good writing