1. Write their truth without censuring themselves for fear of causing offense. Which is why I admire the brutal honesty of Paul Theroux and V S Naipaul. I wish I could be that brave but I’m constantly holding myself back. In a vacuum I wouldn’t. I’m too afraid of how I’ll be judged or how I’d hurt someone.
2. Deeply personal and with emotions laid out bare.
3. Where I am taught something new, for instance about a different culture.
4. For a blog post, short and sweet rather then rambling. For a novel it can be long if every word is essential, for instance ‘In Cold Blood’ or The Grapes of Wrath’.
5. There is a pleasing rhythm and flow to the writing. For instance in a Murakami novel. Not much of a plot, but the style alone, gives you a kind of serenity.
6. I admire and enjoy wit, like that of Bill Bryson, Peter Mayle and David Sedaris.