I tell newbie writers that talent will only take you only so far and that it is in learning the skill, the art, and the craft of fiction-writing techniques and devices that enhances the talent they have. Some are gifted writers. Some struggle with just understanding what a sentence is. However, both have stories they want to share with others. And then, last month, I came across this phrase by author, screenwriter, and game designer Chuck Wending:
Talent dies without skill.
That struck me as so profound. After all, what good is having a writing talent if you cannot communicate ideas, characters, and stories to another human mind using words strung together in coherent sentences? Words that help a reader form a movie in their mind of exactly what the writer envisioned?
And then I recalled the words of author and writing teacher Janet Burroway “…the desire to write in all its modes…bears no relation whatever to ability.”
Over the years, Burroway has seen students with talent who never follow through and become authors. She’s also seen many more students who have seemingly little talent, but who cultivate that talent, who learn the craft, who learn the skills of using words, and who communicate with a reader. Those are the ones whose desire, coupled with perseverance, enables them to become the storytellers readers look forward to reading.
For writers to succeed in today’s ever-changing publishing world, it means honing skills to enhance talent and to write well and tell a story well.
After all, even a world-class gourmet chef had to learn to boil water before they tackled a souffle. Why should becoming a writer or author be any different?
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