Before delving into the topic, I feel the need to clarify: this thread isn't the result of someone criticising my work and my bawwwing and saying, "I'm gonna whine about this in a topic." Ok, so. What is the point of critiquing someone's work? Are there truly universal writing flaws? Let me exemplify: say you have a writer who infodumps like hell. Yet I have talked to persons who more or less said, "If I don't get extensive information in a linear fashion, I'm not going to read the book. I want to know who's whom and who does what." And then you have the other guys, who baulk at so much as a line of unneeded information (i.e. me). You have people who dislike purple prose and vast paragraphs of description and bucketloads of adjectives. And then you have the others, who really do love a well-written, if flowery, passage. What to one person comes across as bad writing, sounds really good to another. Surely, things like grammar and spelling ought to be heeded by all, but what beyond that? Are three-dimensional, rounded characters imperative? Must there be action in stories? Mind, I'm not suggesting that we stop critiquing and stagnate. It's just something that's been floating about in my head. Perhaps the key to this is awareness of one's process: if you want to make flat characters, make sure they're so by design, and not because you couldn't be arsed to flesh them out. Likewise with infodumps and what have you.