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Is there a word to describe the gift of exceptional writing? Or, what would you call someone whose writing is well above average?

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Related, over-the-top writing could be called purple prose: "so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself." –  Patrick M Mar 29 at 3:23
    
Although it can be a bit cheesy, in English it's very common to use the two paragons: either Shakespearean or Churchillian. (Depending on poetry or prose.) (Germans might say Neitzschean, Italians might say Danteesque.) {Or, err, however you form those words in those languages!} –  Joe Blow Mar 30 at 8:01

4 Answers 4

It depends what aspect of their writing was being praised. If it's clarity, you might say articulate or lucid. If it's brevity, the art of saying the most in the least number of words, you might say economical or succinct. Or, if their manner of writing is vivid and poetic, you could call it eloquent or stylish.

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I am looking to give a compliment to a writer that delights the reader on many levels. Mostly the essence or principle of message. No matter the subject it is always delivered in a creative, intelligent, passionate, fun, funny uninhibited way. –  Petra Joubert Mar 28 at 22:50
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@PetraJoubert: If the words you've written in the above comment accurately describe your response to the writer, then why not use them? –  Terpsichore Mar 28 at 23:30
    
Thank you, was hoping for some big over the top word. English is not my first languish.:) –  Petra Joubert Mar 29 at 1:13

wordsmith

a person who works with words; especially : a skillful writer


wordsmithery

the craft or skill of a wordsmith

Example usage:

In short, his talents: expert wordsmithery , book knowledge, critical elan -- and an ability to crank out literary fretwork very fast. [Times, Sunday Times (2004)]


There are phrases like "author extraordinaire" and "wordsmith extraordinaire" also.

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Clarity and readability, to bring about communication and delight

The object of the writer is that of any other artist. It is to communicate a message and ultimately to delight the recipient; whether that be the listener, the viewer or the reader.

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Beautifully said! Thx –  Petra Joubert Mar 29 at 7:07

To describe a fine writer, I like the phrases literary artisan or literary craftsman, as in these quotes:

Two fellows whose skill I admire greatly today are Michael Chabon — a true literary artisan, and William Gibson, also a craftsman - though perhaps not as widely recognized as such.

A literary artisan, Muckle's carefully crafted descriptions that create the setting of 1980's London allow readers to witness an England on the brink of a globalizing era.

Saul Bellow, a master storyteller, literary artisan and Nobel Prize-winning author whose work reflected the comic, the tragic, the absurd and the mundane in the personal odysseys of the 20th-century Everyman, died yesterday at his home in Brookline, Mass.

Their lead article for this volume is by John Rateliff, and it’s an appreciative and thought-provoking look at Tolkien as a literary artisan highly conscious of every word he put to paper.

From a paper entitled, Lincoln: A Literary Craftsman – Judged on their own merit, many of the Lincoln items would hardly be worth inclusion among the works of America's greatest writers. But the best of his expressions cast a kind of glow over the rest. And practically all exemplify literary craftsmanship of a high order — nothing fancy, just strong declaratory sentences and always le mot juste.

I think of wordsmith as more of a person who is good at putting words on the paper quickly and prolifically, but not necessarily in a manner that would be considered fine writing. And then there's this Urban Dictionary definition, which supports my thought that the word has come to have this kind of meaning:

wordsmith — One with the ability to effortlessly string together words, no matter their actual meaning, in an instance and in such a way it brings a smile to the faces of those listening, sometimes often laughter or tears of admiration for having heard someone with such an amazing skill. Often one to spawn many a catch phrases or wicked new taunts and subtle insults, as well as song lyrics, raps and strange and often disturbing stories that make little sense.

The wordsmith's job is to make up bullshit on the spot.

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