Is writing great fiction innate or learned?
January 6, 2013 12:12 PM Subscribe
Writing fiction: is it the sort of thing where you either have "the gift," or you don't?
posted by indognito to Writing & Language (38 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
I'm curious, because so many of my favorite nonfiction authors (David Sedaris, Merrill Markoe and Chuck Klosterman among them) seem to produce uninteresting fiction. Uninteresting to me, at least. Conversely, there are authors such as Haruki Murakami who write amazing fiction, but his running memoir seems bland by comparison. (I still enjoyed it, because I like running and I like Murakami, but I certainly wouldn't have sought it out otherwise.)
I spent years writing for several hours a day, and never produced anything other than mildly humorous personal-experience essays. I was always very interested in writing fiction--anything from literary to horror short stories--but I would inevitably freeze up, unable to think of what could possibly happen next in the story, and finally abandon it in defeat.
Can writing great, readable fiction be learned? Is there a special elusive something that successful fiction writers have that is simply out of reach for others, even the best nonfiction writers? (and vice versa?)