I have come to understand writing as an extension of a conversation. Good writing should not be a burden to the reader. When a writer is able to take a complex issue and explain it in a way that the reader is able to clearly understand the point and its examples, well, the writer has done a good job. Here is the kicker, good writing does not necessarily need to be easy writing.
Whatever the author is trying to get across should come naturally, but that in no way means that the author needs to sacrifice style or grammar. Conversations would be hardly worth the effort if all conversations consisted only of Orwellian “newspeak” (I am very glad for his rule to break rules). To this end I believe that authors such as O’Brien, Orwell, Tolkien, Joyce, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Bulgakov are all able to write (granted fictional stories) in fairly complex language but have their meaning and intention develop naturally to their audience. Put plainly, they make up the best examples of writing that I have had the chance to read.
This is all to say that the best academic writing I have ever read does not feel like academic writing. It presents the facts in a way that makes them easily recognizable and digestible. It is also a writing style that interacts with other authors as though they are having a conversation, or formulating arguments based upon older conversations, incorporating all the necessary information into the body of the text. I also prefer it when the author is able to maintain a minimal number of voices in the overall work (being that they are able to engage with other authors in a way that does not distort the flow of the work).
I do believe that is all for now.