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Indictators of talent in creative writing

There are many talented writers, but many people still argue whether it’s nature vs. nurture. Is being a good writer a mix of the two, or is it solely based on talent? Also, what are some signs of talent or potential in someone’s writing?

  • It can be a mix of the two or one or the other. Personally, I showed a talent in writing from an early age. I passed with flying colors on literature and writing exams, and was always nominated to participate in school spelling bees. As I entered college, I tried pursuing the sciences, but that eventually led me back to writing. This is a great topic, but I feel as if there isn't a particular answer simply because it varies from person-to-person. Some individuals don't realize their talent until much later in their lifetime, where as for others it can be during adolescence. – Marina 5 months ago
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  • Very true. It is a mix of both talent and hard work ethic. – Afanos 5 months ago
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  • The answer is fairly simple - it's is a mix of both nature and nurture. Understanding the answer is a little more difficult. Writing is a hard skill and can be taught to just about anyone. However within this hard skill are many soft skills like creativity and problem solving which can not always be taught. That's why the degrees of good writing vary so widely and why we cannot say for certain that everyone is good by nature or even that everyone can one day be good by nurture. – ashleyab 2 months ago
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  • Some is definitely nature; I've loved books and words since I was a little kid. But no writer ever reaches his or her potential without mentoring. Additionally, writers are always going to have different sub-gifts. One might be gifted at dialogue while another is better at setting, or one writer's talent might lend itself to poetry over fiction. Much of what is considered "creative writing" can't be taught strictly speaking, but can be nurtured. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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  • Both Stephanie M. and ashleyab have very good points. I think the experience varies from writer to writer and each person contains a slightly different nature to nurture ratio. Personally, I have always been attracted to rich stories. Creating characters, scenarios, and dialogue seemed to come naturally but I had to be taught to write it down effectively. – ReidaBookman 2 days ago
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How travel can inspire writing (Both fiction and non-fiction)

When suddenly placed in a new location our brains tend to do funny things. We inhale air we have never tasted, brush our fingers along foreign rock, and bath our eyes in completely new sights. Something about travel bungles our minds. It’s as if we’ve received an electric shock and our neurons have gone nutty, rearranging themselves to create new thought patterns. Of course this doesn’t literally happen but change in environment and routine can cause us to think differently, making new synapses in our brains. Travel can introduce a new perspective, one we’ve never thought of before, or provide fascinating characters that we never would have found from our couches. When we find ourselves somewhere new we tend to pay more attention to everything around us. Our heightened sense of awareness reveals things we might not have noticed if we lived there. Travel can perhaps be described as shock therapy. Removing oneself from an everyday routine can be utterly refreshing, especially for a writer.

    Taken by Mariana Aramburu (PM) 5 days ago.
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    Does Writing Fiction Ruin the Experience of Reading It?

    I am a fiction writer and voracious fiction reader, so I like this topic. Yet I feel like I shouldn’t write it since it would be in first person, so it’s up for grabs.

    Do any fiction writers out there find their craft ruins the reading experience? For example, do you catch yourself zeroing in on when an author tells instead of shows, or when characters are undeveloped? Do books you once liked become tedious? If yes, how do you–and we as writers–cope with that? Is there a way to keep one’s craft from ruining reading? Conversely, does writing make reading a great book even better, and does it enhance one’s taste in literature?

    • I love the topic! I also write myself and I do often have this issue of honing in one possible mistakes or weaknesses in stories (writing- or even story-wise) that my friends miss. But I also think it's given me a higher appreciation for works I do love and that are written very well. Of course, this would be a subjective topic for anyone to write, but I do think you're onto something. – Karen 2 months ago
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    • I love this topic. I think some solutions should be addressed to help writers read without criticizing. – DB752B 2 months ago
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    • This is a great questions. Fiction has long been a part of literature and who knows if it has its own downsides. – BMartin43 2 months ago
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    • I like this topic, and I think it could be written with an open-ended conclusion. I.e. writing might "ruin" reading in some ways, but it vastly improves it in others. I do find that as a writer, I notice weak plot devices or predictable character development far more than I used to or than other readers. As Karen noted, however, I also appreciate some things more, like artfully dropped foreshadowing, beautiful symbolism, or unique scenes. For me, these positive results outweigh the negative, but this could be argued either way. I also think it can relate to tv (I can't stand some shows just because the script is poorly written, while my friends are able to excuse that for high quality acting and cinematography) but it's up to the writers discretion to note this or not. – EmmaBeitzel 2 months ago
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    • I definitely agree writing fiction gives you a better eye for good books, although what is "good" remains subjective. I've also noticed it gives me a better idea of what I want my writing voice to sound like, so whoever writes the topic could discuss that if they wanted. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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    • I love writing fiction too, and I like see it all as a learning experience. I ask myself if these lacking characteristics of the book tie-in to the narrative, and whether or not my dislike of it is just a personal opinion. Then when I write my own works, I am sometimes inspired by these elements and then I deviate or incorporate them in a way that reflects me as a writer. – RadosianStar 5 days ago
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    • I think reading fiction will always be food for the imagination. If you are a writer reading the work of others allows you to discover your style. If you are reading a work of fiction and discover something the author could be doing differently you will make a mental note to avoid doing it. Conversely, if you find something you love you can further explore that pocket in your own writing and others. Even what you consider to be bad fiction can be educational. – ReidaBookman 5 days ago
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    Recovering from rejection: A writers journey

    It’s happened to us all. We received an email from an editor that dashed our hopes and dreams against the rocks. Rejection is a fact of life and even the most successful of writers have gone through it several hundred times, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and E. E, cummings to name a few. Today’s publishing market is not as ridged as it once was. Now there are other avenues for writers to seek publication such as online-only publishing, self publishing, or paying to publish but the old publishing houses remain and rejection letters are still given out in healthy doses. An interesting topic to explore might be the sudden drop and forced recovery after receiving a rejection. You could use numerous examples of people who have survived and give helpful hints and tips for those feeling discouraged. In the words of Sylvia Plath "I love my rejection slips. They show me I try."

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      The Art of Trolling

      Internet trolling has become an even hotter topic in the wake of the 2016 election and the rise of the "other" Alt-Right. Explore the roots and history of trolling. Is it the legacy of Socratic rhetorical styles meant to expose societal hypocrisy or just plain bullying.

      • I wonder, however, if there is much history to this phenomenon yet. – mmastro 3 months ago
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      • There is. As you will note from the topic it arguably goes back to Socrates. – Christen Mandracchia 3 months ago
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      • Whenever someone has an idea, there will almost certainly be people waiting to tear it down...The internet made it worse because it allowed anyone with internet to become a critic. – MikeySheff 2 months ago
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      • MikeySheff,true. Opening access causes problems, limiting access causes others. The dilemma recalls Madison's yin-yang-like result of securing specific Constitutional rights: allow gun ownership, reap gun violence; ban gun ownership, risk totalitarianism. True too of free speech allowing far-right and -left perspectives, freedom of religion allowing Branch Davidians, Jonestown, etc. Even the double-jeopardy protection for the monsters who murdered Emmitt Till is understandable vis-a-vis the certain damage that would occur were that protection removed. – Tigey 2 months ago
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      • I would love to read an article on this topic. Perhaps another avenue to explore might be the historical appeal of trolling. If we view it as a satirical approach to modern debate then what makes it so appealing? Is it human nature to troll? Does exposing certain societal hypocrisies result in the rise of newer hypocrisies?Another point of interest that I am curious to explore is the advocacy of alt-righters. Often people associate this movement with a new sort of radical dissidence. They call the alt-right a "punk movement." Is it punk though? Or is this indoctrination of supposed punk ideologies merely used as a ploy to appeal to a youthful audience yearning for any form of subversion? – DrownSoda 2 months ago
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      • Just because someone says it goes back to Socrates doesn't mean it does. Just like to point that out. Socrates didn't promote trolling anymore than Jonathan Swift did. – wolfkin 4 days ago
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      • That's why I said "the legacy of Socratic rhetorical styles" and not "Socrates said so." Hence, writing an article about the topic. – Christen Mandracchia 3 days ago
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      The Constant Quest For Immortality

      In 1818, the theme of immortality was considered by novelist Mary Shelley. Today, science has nurtured the desire to prolong life, with Cryonics. In between, the film industry thrives on the possibility of advanced human existence. From the earliest civilizations, the theme of longevity has been pursued and immortalized in monumental structures, lore, and ritual. A variety of human achievements can be traced from these contributions to reveal a long-standing preoccupation with thwarting the inevitable termination of life.

      • I just was rereading Frankenstein! It is an amazing piece of writing and the themes of the story translate incredibly well to discussion about modern science and technology as they related to life and death.I would love to see some dive deep into this topic, it would make for an exciting and fascinating article. – SeanGadus 3 weeks ago
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      • Already written, just waiting for more audience reaction, and for the Pending Review to open the gate, so to speak. Be on the look out, it won't disappoint, lots of food for though. – lofreire 3 weeks ago
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      • This is one of the broadest topics I've come across. So fascinating, because you could apply it to a whole hosts of works - but where would it end? (no pun intended!) – Luke Stephenson 2 weeks ago
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      Can You Teach Someone How To Become a Writer?

      I have recently been faced with this question and I find that my response is not as black and white as I had originally supposed. Yes, you can teach someone the fundamental aspects of writing: thesis, introductory paragraph, syntax, diction, body paragraphs, topic sentences per paragraph, and a conclusion. But what about teaching someone to think like a writer? The love/hate relationship with writing that leaves one elated or deflated? Do you believe being a good writer is an innate gift, or something that can solely be taught? I do understand that some people need to be pushed to realize they do have the gift for writing, but what if it is not there, can it be induced?

      • As with any subject you can't teach someone who doesn't want to learn. You can teach someone how to achieve the goals of their writing. I think this idea of a good writer is an idea that has to be revisited in light of medium. Certain platforms are more conducive to various types of writing. I favor helping someone to develop their unique voice. Just like speaking and any form of communication, it is important to reach the audience that you want to reach. When rap first came on the scene, critics did not consider it to be music. Now it is accepted worldwide. Going back even further Beethoven's work was considered to be a cacophony, Picasso underappreciated etc. Digital communication has changed the status quo on traditional rules of writing.I think there are three basic guidelines for effective writing:Who is your audience and does your piece reach them in an authentic and meaningful way? Are your ideas strong and expressed effectively? Have you remained true to your voice?I recognize that sometimes people feel frustrated with editing errors but writing should be done with heart and while writing conventions can be taught, I think that transmission of ideas are the most important part of communication. Generating ideas can happen when people research their topic thoroughly and gain knowledge by examining all sides of an issue or genre. It is like movie making. When you look at a movie like While You Were Sleeping, it is a pretty conventional rom-com. But it was a hit because all the conventions were well played. It is bringing the writing conventions together with great ideas that make for effective written communication. – Munjeera 8 months ago
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      • Good to whom? I love Vonnegut and shake my head when I see Catch 22, which I despise, recommended for Vonnegut lovers. I love Bob Dylan's writing and roll my eyes when someone brings up Jim Morrison as a poet. I'm intrigued by John Calvin's views on predestination, but laugh when Oliver Stone "implies" - well, what word do I use for that heavy-handed hack? - the fatalism of Nixon's paranoid megalomania through flashing microscopic cells on screen. One man's meat is another man's organically-fed vegan pet. – Tigey 8 months ago
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      • In all honesty, I did NOT want to use the word "good," but if I didn't, I felt as though people would just focus on the fundamentals of writing, and then think if course this could be taught. – danielle577 8 months ago
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      • Sounds good. – Tigey 8 months ago
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      • There are whole books dedicated to this notion. Academics like Peter Elbow and Stephanie Vanderslice have committed large chunks of their career to exploring this thought. I don't know that a single web article can give this subject the attention it needs. See Elbow's "Anyone Can Write" or Vanderslice's "Rethinking Creative Writing." – Tarben 8 months ago
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      • Danielle,You pose a timely question. If you put it in the context of what challenges writer face today and what advantages are present due to online writing I think you may have a topic someone will pick up on as a compare/contrast piece. I find writing today much more enjoyable as I can reach a large audience, in real time and it is not impossible to get published. I also try to have a fun voice, academic voice and a persuasive voice depending on who I want to reach. Let me know what you think. – Munjeera 8 months ago
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      • While I don't know how the writing experience can be taught, I think a good source for showing aspiring writers what works and what doesn't would be the book "How NOT To Write A Novel," which humorously gives examples of bad writing - from poor grammar to inappropriate use of certain tropes in fiction - and explains why they're bad. Awareness of what doesn't work could be an excellent tool for bettering a writer's work, even if they feel they have no talent. Even if the writing is nonfiction, writers could still benefit from some of the advice the book has to offer (such as "don't use words you don't know the definition of," "Don't be repetitive," etc.). Sometimes common sense isn't all that common. – PressXToNotDie 6 months ago
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      • I do think with effective work and communication teaching writing styles can get better and more efficient for new writers. – sadafqur 6 months ago
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      • Teaching someone the framework to write with is the easy part. Teaching someone to express themselves effectively? I think not. Perhaps they teach themselves as they go along, practicing the act and acquiring the skill. – nwh52 6 months ago
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      • I think everyone can write. But, it really comes down to whether people want to stick with it. Like all things in life, some people are just don't match with certain things. However, I do think that writing is one of those things that people convince themselves that they can't do. It takes dedication and time to learn writing as a craft. Outside of the just grammar, I think we can encourage people to be open to writing and foster an environment that allows them to find their own desires to write, but I think that's about it. – eugeneleec 6 months ago
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      • Not to be over the top, but I think you'd have to question what it means to be a writer. You can teach someone how to write, sure. You can teach them how to write stories, articles, screenplays, etc. However, I feel like that just makes them someone who writes, not a writer. Writers want to express themselves and you cant teach someone to want to express themselves through writing. – elisetheastronaut 5 months ago
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      • There are so many ways in which one can be a writer. Anyone can learn to write well. For some, writing is not difficult to grasp. Others have a harder time with it. Then there are those with a special gift or an innate need to write. For me, writing is survival. – ajforrester75 5 months ago
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      • Thinking like a writer can totally be taught. I learned. Before I was taught I just looked at the story to determine if a book was good. Since I learned how to think like a writer, I've started to look at the craft of the writing even more than the story. The elements of writing can be taught, but I do not think the artistry can. – good1bl 2 months ago
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      • I believe a talented writer is someone who have loved writing for many years. It takes alot of skill and imagination to become a writer and it can be taught but to be a unique skilled writer you need prior experience. – bdh202 3 weeks ago
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      Social Media: Is it an advancement in communication or is it holding us back from having meaningful conversations?

      Social media has evolved quite swiftly. We are able to watch the news on Facebook, while also reading and analyzing the opinions of others. On Instagram, we are able to view our favorite celebrities and their daily lives. Then there’s Snapchat, which has become a new medium for communication, interaction, and pointless "snaps" of our activities taking place at an exact moment.

      Is this a good or bad thing? Have we grown closer to one another through the advancement of this form of news and communication or are we simply becoming obsessed, lazy, and judgemental?

      • No matter which direction the writer chooses for this I think it's important to talk about the impact of social media on long distance friendship. It may draw us away from people in our present space, but at the same time it allows us to maintain some sort of connection with the people we've had to leave behind as our culture becomes more spread out and even globalized. There's also the facet of this topic that could explore friendships which actually begin online. Are these any less real? – Mariel Tishma 4 months ago
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      • I agree with this topic a lot. I do not have ay form of social media, so when people want to get to know me more that ask to talk to me on SnapChat or Twitter. It is crazy how they are talking to me and telling me these things, then they can take 5 minutes out of their day to talk to me more. Some people do not like to talk directly to peoples faces, so I think they use this as a cover up. – aliyaa19 4 months ago
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      • With truth in reporting laws gone, we have a new problem of self-referential media. It's always been a problem in academia that academics have tried (and often failed) to be aware of... but now it's become a machine. Not sure how we break the chains... – staceysimmons 4 months ago
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      • I agree with a lot of this, but I feel like it could boil down to just being condescending towards millennials (Please don't! My intelligence isn't determined by my birth year!).Also, I think you discredit a lot of the positive aspects of social media. Pinterest is great for recipes, and rarely vapid or narcissistic. Twitter can be stupid, but it can also be humorous and effective in promoting social movements. And as much as I absolutely abhor Instagram, I have seen many younger people take an interest in legitimate photography (and not just 'selfies') because of it. Social media probably does more harm than good, but there are definitely positive aspects.But yeah, I have no defense of Snapchat, ha. – m-cubed 4 months ago
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      • There's definitely some potential to this topic. A cost/benefit argument can be made regarding social media. Whoever chooses to tackle this article should weigh the pros and cons. The benefits of keeping in touch with friends or family members who have moved hundreds of miles away is invaluable. Additionally, the ability to create a professional network can make or break some newly graduated or licensed professionals in their careers.That being said there are considerable cons to the prevalence of social media that could be addressed. Most notably, and already mentioned, the epidemic of fake news in today's society. As opposed to real journalistic integrity of obtaining sources and fake checking those sources, today's "media" relies on gotcha headlines and three degrees of hearsay to sway an audience into believing something that isn't true. – rtpnckly 4 months ago
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      • From a PR standpoint, social media is a great tool for storytelling. The ability to share one's experiences instantly (such as on Snapchat or live video) is valuable. Other platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are also great creative outlets for both everyday users and content creators. While there are disadvantages, such as the proliferation of "fake news" and cyberbullying, social media allows us to learn from one another and stay connected. – AaronJRobert 1 month ago
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      • I believe that this would be a valid topic to address and that there is a large amount of truth within this statement as well. It would be beneficial to prepare some subtopics to address with in this umbrella of information to better craft your argument towards specific objectives. I think this is a great topic to address, however, I do not see how well it fits into the more broad, categories Artifice offers for writings. – mmmarino 4 weeks ago
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      • Every new advancement in communication causes this response. People worried about newspapers, comics, telephone, the radio, etc. Maybe we are still humans. – lmunson 4 weeks ago
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      • Whoever writes this topic should check out the book Hamlet's Blackberry by William Powers. It has a lot of interesting background on the development of different technologies and how people have adapted them, as well as his own commentary on what social media is doing to us as a society. – itsverity 3 weeks ago
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