The ability to express what resides in one’s head in a manner which grabs and maintains the interest of the reader is, in my opinion what makes a good author. Many people have interesting things to say but most of those never go on to write anything or, if they do their work remains unpublished.
As pointed out above it is the capacity of the writer to express himself in an interesting manner which makes a good teller of tales. However in many instances the good author is also marked out by his ability to conduct high quality research thereby rendering his books believable.
I set my long short story, Samantha, in the city of my birth, Liverpool, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Samantha-K-Morris-ebook/dp/B00BL3CNHI. Despite my familiarity with Liverpool it was still imperative that I conducted thorough research. For example part of the action is set in a Whetherspoon pub in the city centre. I have visited the place on several occasions but not being able to recall the name of the pub or it’s location I visited JD Whetherspoon’s website to ensure that my portrayal of the place was accurate.
During the course of Samantha Sam is subjected to a rape. In order to ensure her compliance Sam’s drink is spiked with a date rape drug. Knowing nothing about such drugs I spent some considerable time on medical sites and forums (the latter warnn women about the dangers of date rape), in order to ensure that my description of how Sam was drugged and the effects of the drug where accurate.
While research is vital it can be the lazy person’s excuse for failing to express themselves with originality and flair. I recollect downloading a book from Amazon which purported to be an examination of a particular subject. Having downloaded it I found that the work consisted almost entirely of citations from Wikipedia. As you can imagine I was far from impressed and returned the title to Amazon for a full refund! Anyone can quote chunks from Wikipedia, it is the ability to use source material with discrimination which separates the effective researcher/writer from the lazy so and so who just wants to make a quick buck or book!
For my Amazon authors page please visit http://www.amazon.co.uk/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0