Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Talent or Learning

Okay, this will be my last cross-post for today. If you haven't seen today's post over on the BookEnds Literary Agency blog, you should definitely check it out. It's called "Talent or Learning: What Makes a Writer an Author." This is not only a sterling example of why the BookEnds blog such a great read, it's also a really well thought-out examination of the broad ingredients for a good author (or football player, as it happens). I've seen similar discussions of this topic many times before, but this particular salvo in the ongoing debate really surprised me (in a good way), and helped me to think about the whole issue in a new light. Highly recommended.


Colleen said...

Thanks for sending me to the original post. My posted comment there is as follows:

This [a discussion of what is teachable and what is not] leads to the question: what is talent? We seem to agree that talent can't be taught so, what is it? I think, perhaps, it's the ability to observe the world around us and to do so from a perspective outside ourselves -- to see life differently.

What can be taught is how to set these observances down in a way that is, hopefully, compelling.

Without the former the latter is boring and meaningless. Without the latter the former might be random and lacking and understandable form.

Christopher M. Park said...

I'm very glad that you found her post to be interesting. You make some very interesting points in your reply, making me think about this in yet another new way. I tend to think that there is some innate talent involved in "having a flair for words," or being naturally able to plot or characterize or whatever easily, but I like the way you think about the observation angle.

Very true that a writer who isn't a good observer isn't going to be able to write many books -- we can only look inside ourselves for so much. Maybe that's why some writers only have one mostly-autobiographical book in them, but no more -- perhaps those are the ones who don't have that natural talent (or inclination, at least) for observation that career writers all do.

Thanks for cross-posting your thoughts!