Having spent far too long on the student reviews of a manuscript for my class recently, there was one thing that really struck me. Grad students seem to think that science writing should be dry.
It's been a while since I thought this way, but I can remember a time when I viewed science writing as an exercise in "just the facts". Granted, one can write that way and publish just fine, but there was a string of about three or four papers I read as a graduate student that made me say "I really enjoyed reading that". At first I wasn't sure exactly why. The science was decent, but nothing that knocked my socks off. In rereading the papers I realized that the writing was just good. It was still to the point and delivered the gory details, but in a way that was nice to read.
From that moment on I looked at writing scientific papers a little differently and I have no idea why it took me so long. Perhaps it is the way we have students write in their undergrad science classes. Maybe it is that science students often forgo much of the literary training that many other students get, I don't know. But what I see before me is many graduate students who confuse a complex sentence for a run-on, who get tangled up in a misunderstanding of punctuation and, most of all, want their sentences broken down into the tiny morsels one might feed to a child getting their first meal.
What are the papers that you most enjoyed reading in the last year. Go back to them and see if it was just the sexy data or if, by some chance, those data were also wearing some snappy clothes. Science writing need not have the lack of texture akin to a government report, despite what you may have been told.