Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#21

Localforeigner Wrote: Talent isn't really a thing. Skill is developed through practice and study. 

Put it like this, could a child write story? Yes. Would the grammar and structure be any good? Probably not. They develop those skills from practice and study over years of training in schooling. Without those skills, their writing would be unreadable by anyone but their parents probably.

Learning story structure is similar. Granted, self-training can help learn story structure, but then you are copying rather than understanding what you are doing.

I think that people who have a talent for writing and are willing to work hard and improve their craft have a great chance of success. 

But most likely, the lack of talent and creative thinking can not be compensated by a large number of exercises in writing texts.

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#22
Oh, I think talent is a thing.

I can think of many examples of two people who work as hard or put as much effort into the same thing and yet one is much better than the other.

In general, I think it's an ego issue. Writers tend to bundle a great deal of their self-worth into their stories, and so being more talented or less talented when it comes to elements of fiction writing is easily interpreted as being a better or worse author or having better or worse stories.

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#23

SJ Wrote: Oh, I think talent is a thing.

I can think of many examples of two people who work as hard or put as much effort into the same thing and yet one is much better than the other.

In general, I think it's an ego issue. Writers tend to bundle a great deal of their self-worth into their stories, and so being more talented or less talented when it comes to elements of fiction writing is easily interpreted as being a better or worse author or having better or worse stories.


I agree, that it's "an ego issue")) And as you've mentioned,  results really differ ))))

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#24
Some people do have a natural talent for things, but you can't rely on talent alone. You still need to practice, you still need to want to learn about the thing you are doing. A talent can atrophy like a muscle. If one isn't out practicing and exercising their skill, then the person who persisted and went on will be better and more skilled. Talent might help them when if they get started again, but like everyone else, they still have to practice. They have to work their skill back to the way it was before and go beyond that.

And also, saying one doesn't have talent is an excuse. In past communities, a lot of aspiring writers would make posts and many of them had the same thing in common where they would mistake not being practiced with talent. Many seem to believe they should be an expert wordsmiths right off and are surprised with how inarticulate they are. Then they go lament about how talentless they are because their first paragraph wasn't comparable to that of the likes of *insert any excellent famous writer.*

Then there were the ones who believed if they read every book on writing. I mean all of them. Read every advice blog out there, eventually, that book knowledge would make them a good writer. You know how many stories or novels they have written to that point? Zero. You know how much writing practice they've done to get them to help them reach their goal? None. They are just procrastinating.

That being said, I don't think you can full get away with not learning anything about writing before you write a book. However, if you sat in an English class and learned from it, that is enough to get you started. You don't need to go to a college program and get a degree in creative writing. You can teach yourself about writing doing something a writer should be doing anyway and that is reading. You should be reading books if you want to become a better writer. And as a writer, you should strive to always be learning. The lessons do not stop you got a degree in English or creative writing or published something. They don't stop because you wrote millions of words on a writing platform and everyone loves your work. Any skill, any art, and any craft relies on the creator's willingness to learn.


Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#25
I think it requires study to master the mechanics of writing. Things like grammar and story structure aren't things we inherently know. However, I don't believe the story telling aspect can be taught. That's a product of each person's imagination. Imagination is something we all possess, but not everyone chooses to make use of it. The willingness to embrace one's imagination is the basis for all creativity whether its expressed through art, music, or writing. 

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#27
Silvia Wrote: What about people who want to write books, but hesitate, because of doubt that they have any talent?


Well, when you look at it - what is doubt? Doubt, in itself, is uncertainty - which causes us to hesitate. What's great about recognizing doubt, is that you know there is something you aren't 100% certain about. If you can analyze what is causing the doubt, then you can delve into whatever it is, learn more about it, the become certain about it. The more certainty you gain, the more able you become. The more able you become, the fewer barriers present themselves, and so on.

As painful as it is to say, there are always going to be people who are 'better' and have more 'talent.' But I am an avid believer in deep diving and discovering what it is that those talented people have that I don't have, and building it for my own. Once you discover the successful actions, you can duplicate, and create your own talent. 

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#30

LadyAnder Wrote: Some people do have a natural talent for things, but you can't rely on talent alone. You still need to practice, you still need to want to learn about the thing you are doing. A talent can atrophy like a muscle. If one isn't out practicing and exercising their skill, then the person who persisted and went on will be better and more skilled. Talent might help them when if they get started again, but like everyone else, they still have to practice. They have to work their skill back to the way it was before and go beyond that.

And also, saying one doesn't have talent is an excuse. In past communities, a lot of aspiring writers would make posts and many of them had the same thing in common where they would mistake not being practiced with talent. Many seem to believe they should be an expert wordsmiths right off and are surprised with how inarticulate they are. Then they go lament about how talentless they are because their first paragraph wasn't comparable to that of the likes of *insert any excellent famous writer.*

Then there were the ones who believed if they read every book on writing. I mean all of them. Read every advice blog out there, eventually, that book knowledge would make them a good writer. You know how many stories or novels they have written to that point? Zero. You know how much writing practice they've done to get them to help them reach their goal? None. They are just procrastinating.

That being said, I don't think you can full get away with not learning anything about writing before you write a book. However, if you sat in an English class and learned from it, that is enough to get you started. You don't need to go to a college program and get a degree in creative writing. You can teach yourself about writing doing something a writer should be doing anyway and that is reading. You should be reading books if you want to become a better writer. And as a writer, you should strive to always be learning. The lessons do not stop you got a degree in English or creative writing or published something. They don't stop because you wrote millions of words on a writing platform and everyone loves your work. Any skill, any art, and any craft relies on the creator's willingness to learn.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I love to read and reread such detailed, sensible, and inspiring answers.))

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#31

boenapplet Wrote: Personally, I feel that writing, like drawing, is a technical skill. My characters live in my head, and their "thoughts" do help dictate how I write, but knowing the technical skills of writing (outlining, dialogue, descriptions, etc.) makes it easier to bring everything out of these characters without the story being an unhinged mess.

Most often, the more a person writes, the better they do it.

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#33
There's a lot of ways to answer this. The simplest is to just say try reading a few things about whatever type of writing it is you do, whether short stories, fiction, novels, whatever, then decide if it helped you.  There are seminars as well if you like, a few on you tube if you specifically search for them in the query box.  I don't think looking at any of that will "contaminate" you.  You can philosophize over it based on nothing but air all day long, or you can try it and decide if it does or not.

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#34

Silvia Wrote: Do you think it is necessary to study specifically in order to learn how to write good books or is it an innate talent?

Honestly, I think this is a stupid question. 

Yes, you need to learn. I will give you an answer in two parts: 

Part One:
When you decide to write, when you decide to pick up a pencil and draw, or paint, when your hands hit the clay or when you pick up the instrument with a desire to play, understand that you're going to suck. 
Your art is going to suck. 
Your music is going to suck. 
Your writing is going to suck. 
You have to remember though that you have to get all the bad out before the good can begin. 
Eventually you'll make magic, but first you have to suck.
People always say, "I can't write, I can't draw, I can't play guitar." Sure you can. You totally can. 
Just after you struggle through the shit. 
A fat person can get healthy. 
A janitor can be a poet. 
You can draw, sing, paint, write, sculpt, whatever. 
Just understand that it's going to suck until it doesn't.
Your opportunity to master something in life largely depends on how long you're willing to suck at it.


Part Two:
Learning to write better specifically involves cultivating a rich vocabulary, understanding story rhythm and pacing, building characters, constructing narratives, and then fitting it all together in a way that captivates the reader. 

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#35
I've spent about 20 years studying all the different theories and techniques of writing fiction.  (This is a hobby, I do it because I find it fun in a scholarly kind of way.)  I think the sheer variety of such techniques disproves the idea that they could somehow deprive books of individuality.  Even the single technique where authors freewrite their first draft and then outline it for revision allows for as much individuality as if no revision was done.  All such techniques can be freely modified by their users as well; unless you do something like paying an editor or you have the misfortune to have a friend who is really obsessed with one specific novel-writing method, there is no one who has any interest in making your book fit some specific template.  Maybe you like the snowflake method's basic concept that a story periodically has "disasters" which the characters react to, but you don't like its assumption that there should be 4 of these in a novel, and your story idea has 6.  Okay?  Go for 6 if you want.  Call each one an act, or don't, as you please.  Maybe you like the idea of a contagonist character as described in Dramatica: A New Theory of Story, but you hate the idea of plot throughline domains presented in that book.  Okay?  No one says you have to take all or nothing.

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#36

Nestor1079 Wrote:
Silvia Wrote: Do you think it is necessary to study specifically in order to learn how to write good books or is it an innate talent?

Honestly, I think this is a stupid question. 

Yes, you need to learn. I will give you an answer in two parts: 

Part One:
When you decide to write, when you decide to pick up a pencil and draw, or paint, when your hands hit the clay or when you pick up the instrument with a desire to play, understand that you're going to suck. 
Your art is going to suck. 
Your music is going to suck. 
Your writing is going to suck. 
You have to remember though that you have to get all the bad out before the good can begin. 
Eventually you'll make magic, but first you have to suck.
People always say, "I can't write, I can't draw, I can't play guitar." Sure you can. You totally can. 
Just after you struggle through the shit. 
A fat person can get healthy. 
A janitor can be a poet. 
You can draw, sing, paint, write, sculpt, whatever. 
Just understand that it's going to suck until it doesn't.
Your opportunity to master something in life largely depends on how long you're willing to suck at it.


Part Two:
Learning to write better specifically involves cultivating a rich vocabulary, understanding story rhythm and pacing, building characters, constructing narratives, and then fitting it all together in a way that captivates the reader.

Thank you for your detailed answer ))

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#37

sunandshadow Wrote: I've spent about 20 years studying all the different theories and techniques of writing fiction.  (This is a hobby, I do it because I find it fun in a scholarly kind of way.)  I think the sheer variety of such techniques disproves the idea that they could somehow deprive books of individuality.  Even the single technique where authors freewrite their first draft and then outline it for revision allows for as much individuality as if no revision was done.  All such techniques can be freely modified by their users as well; unless you do something like paying an editor or you have the misfortune to have a friend who is really obsessed with one specific novel-writing method, there is no one who has any interest in making your book fit some specific template.  Maybe you like the snowflake method's basic concept that a story periodically has "disasters" which the characters react to, but you don't like its assumption that there should be 4 of these in a novel, and your story idea has 6.  Okay?  Go for 6 if you want.  Call each one an act, or don't, as you please.  Maybe you like the idea of a contagonist character as described in Dramatica: A New Theory of Story, but you hate the idea of plot throughline domains presented in that book.  Okay?  No one says you have to take all or nothing.

I like studying techniques too)) But, unfortunately, I'm a bit lazy to apply them to my own stories

Re: Do we need to learn how to write books?

#38

LadyAnder Wrote: Some people do have a natural talent for things, but you can't rely on talent alone. You still need to practice, you still need to want to learn about the thing you are doing. A talent can atrophy like a muscle. If one isn't out practicing and exercising their skill, then the person who persisted and went on will be better and more skilled. Talent might help them when if they get started again, but like everyone else, they still have to practice. They have to work their skill back to the way it was before and go beyond that.

And also, saying one doesn't have talent is an excuse. In past communities, a lot of aspiring writers would make posts and many of them had the same thing in common where they would mistake not being practiced with talent. Many seem to believe they should be an expert wordsmiths right off and are surprised with how inarticulate they are. Then they go lament about how talentless they are because their first paragraph wasn't comparable to that of the likes of *insert any excellent famous writer.*

Then there were the ones who believed if they read every book on writing. I mean all of them. Read every advice blog out there, eventually, that book knowledge would make them a good writer. You know how many stories or novels they have written to that point? Zero. You know how much writing practice they've done to get them to help them reach their goal? None. They are just procrastinating.

That being said, I don't think you can full get away with not learning anything about writing before you write a book. However, if you sat in an English class and learned from it, that is enough to get you started. You don't need to go to a college program and get a degree in creative writing. You can teach yourself about writing doing something a writer should be doing anyway and that is reading. You should be reading books if you want to become a better writer. And as a writer, you should strive to always be learning. The lessons do not stop you got a degree in English or creative writing or published something. They don't stop because you wrote millions of words on a writing platform and everyone loves your work. Any skill, any art, and any craft relies on the creator's willingness to learn.


I love the idea of permanent learning and hard work, of course