Good Writers

Are Good Writers born or made?

I ask this question because it seems everyone I talk to, once they know I’m working on a novel, seems to think they, too, could write a novel. In fact, they tell me, they have a Great Idea. This Great Idea would be a best seller. You know, if they ever got around to writing it. Or writing at all.

You see, people seem to think writing is simple. Come up with a concept and write about it.

One problem? You have to…um…actually do the work. And I’m not talking about simply sitting at a computer typing away, because that’s only half the battle. There’s learning about voice, characterization, dialogue, pacing, plot, conflict, POV, the three-act-structure…I could go on and on.

On the other hand, there are writers who have studied how to write and yet can’t seem to grasp the balance of it all. Their writing is stilted. Forced. It might be they need more practice, or maybe creating a story is not one of their innate abilities (though maybe they can sink a putt that puts Tiger Woods to shame).

The truth is, sometimes writing is difficult. Even Good Writers have a tough time spending 300 or more pages with characters of their own making.

I don’t know if Good Writers are born or made, but I do know a Good Idea isn’t going anywhere if you don’t spend a decent chunk of time on both learning the craft and getting your butt into a chair and writing. So my question to you is: were you born with it? Or did you have to learn it? Or a little of both?

-K.L. Gore

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Good Writers

  1. I heard it said once that everyone has an idea for a novel, but they are the only ones who can write that story. I heard also from the same author that he takes it as an insult when people tell him they have a good idea for a story because he feels as though they think he can’t come up with his own ideas by telling him that. The fact is, everyone has a story, and they could, if they put in the hard work to write, could write it. Whether it could be a best-seller, well that depends if they are in fact, good.

    • K.L. Gore

      Yes, Jason, and in my opinion it also depends on if they are willing to put in the time to develop that story into a best-seller…plus do the marketing! Thanks for responding, sorry it’s taken so long to respond to you. I’m just getting my feet wet with wordpress, here. 🙂

  2. Well, that begs the question “Am I a good writer?” No, but I am getting better. My improvement is a direct result of work, critiques, and my willingness to admit that I may, on this one topic, not know everything. “Read.” “Read.” “Read.” YES. And as you get better, you will recognize where others have not done the story justice. (Be very careful re-reading favorite books after you become a better writer.) Also, you will also recognize when you are reading a masterful effort. That is learned.

    I have been told that I have some talent in what Orson Scott Card calls a “Wise Reader.” I catch errors in logic. If you say the car is blue on page 43, I will notice if it suddenly become a blue truck on page 158. It is very easy to confuse me, so if your prose isn’t clear I will know. (If were going for a reference that only a PhD in philosophy would catch, I will call you on it.)

    I do believe Wise Readers are born, not made.

    (Now that I gotten you to read the long answer, the short answer is both.)

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