Many of us will have read a book that you just can't put down until you are at the end. This is the sign of a good story. A story that takes over your thoughts, puts you right in the midst of the battles, or love triangles, or captaining a starship. A story that allows you to experience something new. In most cases these stories are written by natural born story tellers with years of experience in writing. But this doesn't mean that the rest of us can't learn to write like them.
My experience in writing comes from High School, initially, then reports, essays, a couple of attempted novels, and scientific research papers. For the last couple of months, and the next couple, I am writing my PhD thesis. As I write my thesis I often stumble as I try to express what I have achieved over the past years in a research style of writing. This stumbling is because I continue to forget one thing.
All writing, no matter what it is for, is built on the same principle; Telling the story. Novelists tell stories using language that evokes emotional responses, to hook us into their worlds and drag us along as we seek to find the answers. A research paper does the same thing by evoking curiosity in the reader and making them want to know the answer to the problem you've been working on.
It is the art of hooking a reader into your writing that makes a good story. I have read many books and research papers of varying degrees of the english language. But the complexity of the language doesn't gauge how powerful a piece of writing is. I have read some papers, and novels, that use high level english that didn't engage. I have also read some papers and novels that use a lower level of english that I relished reading. I have seen the opposite as well.
When it comes time for you to write something, a report or novel or research paper, look to the writing that engaged you. Read between the lines to understand how the story is being laid out for you. Notice where facts are stated and questions answered. Keep this in mind as you write so that when you read it you are engaged. If you can engage yourself in your own writing, you can engage others as well. By understanding other writing you can learn to become a great writer yourself!
I may never be able to transport my readers to the plains of the galaxies I study, but I can try to bring them into my world with enthusiasm and curiosity. I am, after all, using the art of writing to tell my research story.