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All Things Writing & Publishing > Can training beat talent?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments We see in sports, that some are driven by talent, while others by exhausting trainings and those talents can beat hard-trainers and the other way around too. Talent + hard-training is probably = genius/exceptional level.
Writing is an art, which still rests on fundamentals. What, in your opinion, is the weight of talent and what of training/skills in writing success?


message 2: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Training is for the mediocre! Lol not the geniuses.


message 3: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7093 comments Talent goes to having something to write about that other people will want to read.

Training goes to improving the execution of the writing.

That's the product side - you still have to market...


message 4: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7093 comments Einstein said 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

Talent is unrealised ability until trained,


message 5: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Graeme wrote: "Einstein said 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.

Talent is unrealised ability until trained,"


Some people don't study at at all but when given a problem say mathematical, it takes them 5 min to figure out what takes 50 years for others. There are examples of these kind of geniuses too.


message 6: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7093 comments Hi Mehreen,

Their are savant talents for sure, and sometime high-functioning savant talents.

There is also the rare genius of a Newton, Mozart, or Einstein.

But what does it matter? Zilch.

I care about what I can do, I focus on what I can achieve, on what I can learn and how I can improve.

I spend almost no time worrying about talent or training - I focus on building actual real world ability that will make a difference for achieving my goals.


message 7: by Zee (new)

Zee Monodee (zee_monodee) | 0 comments I think hard trainers can do the same thing those who have talent do ... but those with the talent might do it more easily/have it come to them with more facility.

I was discussing this same topic with one of my surgeons one day, and he kept telling me he cannot string two words together. I told him I cannot remember two body parts or more at a time to save my life, so to each his/her own, right?


message 8: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9250 comments You obviously have to have ability, but much of the rest comes from experience, and also a desire to improve. There are many people who have, nominally, a high IQ, but all it seems is they have the ability to score highly in IQ tests. If you look at someone like Beethoven, and look at the very early stuff (if you can find it) it is fairly formulaic, but what Beethoven did was essentially force his determination onto composing, and as he aged, the output changed dramatically.


message 9: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin When it comes to writing, I believe that the most important factor is imagination. I have read many novels written in apparently perfect or near perfect prose and grammar, with lots of sophisticated words, yet were boring as hell. A good author captures the attention of the reader by entertaining and captivating him/her, not by giving lessons in grammar. Yes, writing in decent, correct grammar and ortograph is important, but an imaginative and captivating plot is much more important. Having a vivid imagination and being able to translate it to paper is what I call talent (for writers of fiction, of course).


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Michel wrote: "When it comes to writing, I believe that the most important factor is imagination. I have read many novels written in apparently perfect or near perfect prose and grammar, with lots of sophisticate..."

Agree. Talent is and always will be about satisfying the reader. Some writers do this with a technical precision that is sublime while other writers do this with a discernable lack of it but to the reader who loves what he/she has just read - that writer is a phenomenal success.


message 11: by M.L. (new)

M.L. Work beats both!


message 12: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Michel wrote: "Yes, writing in decent, correct grammar and ortograph is important, but an imaginative and captivating plot is much more important...."

That's probably another interesting and arguable point: what's superior plot or delivery/writing?
For sometimes you can have a very banal scene written in an extremely engaging way and something phenomenal happening in another book, yet evoking no interest or feeling whatsoever...


message 13: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9250 comments The test for me here is how well does the writing achieve the purpose of the scene? If the scene has no purpose in the book, it merely annoys me (although, of course one may not know the purpose when reading it.)


message 14: by Michel (last edited Oct 05, 2016 08:29PM) (new)

Michel Poulin What makes a plot/delivery/writing a superior one will depend on which genre you are writing in. What will make a romance novel superior (making readers shed tears, raise their emotions or make them long/sympathize with the protagonists), will be different from what will make a spy/military/geopolitical thriller stand out (springing unexpected surprises, keeping the readers on the edge of their seats, excite them). The important point is to capture the attention of the reader and pull it to your book. It takes true talent to do that, along with an appreciation of what the readers expect from the genre the book you write belong to. One example of a talented writer turning a banal scene into an interesting one for the readers would be when an assassin is depicted preparing his supper at home and making THAT scene both interesting and entertaining for the readers. Let's not forget that fiction books are meant mostly to entertain the readers and make their minds wander and reflect on things.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Michel wrote: "What makes a plot/delivery/writing a superior one will depend on which genre you are writing in. What will make a romance novel superior (making readers shed tears, raise their emotions or make the..."

Personally, I think this is why I think it is gratifying to write within a genre. It may be challenging to do your best work but you at least clearly know the expectations of the reader.


message 16: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan | 7093 comments Love the comments above.

I really relate to M.L. work is king.

I love working in the genre I'm in, Action, Suspense, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, because that is what I'm attracted too and have the most feeling for.


message 17: by Marie Silk (last edited Oct 06, 2016 05:58AM) (new)

Marie Silk | 1020 comments My theory is that there's a reader-author connection, which might be a subconscious element of the talent.

Some books are magical to some readers and not others. I don't connect with Tolkien at all, but I've read some travel guides that filled me with wonder, made me cry, and changed my life. What happened? Did I tune into the magic of one book and not the other? Is there a psychic link between author and reader that can affect how deeply the book touches you?

I enjoy the works of Emmanuel Swedenborg, which were written in the 1700s and then translated into English. Each page is tedious and repetitive, yet each page blows my mind. I can't picture myself reading a similarly boring book by any other author.

There's an element in raw writing (magic?). I don't think it can be replicated with formulas from training. Training can certainly produce a more polished book. But does it have the same potential to connect with readers on the same levels?

I sometimes wonder what my books would be like if I had proper knowledge about writing. But since the books are selling and bringing in positive reviews, I am hesitant to go back and change anything.

That's my hippy-dippy 2 cents :).


message 18: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Maybe it's like with teachers, there it's even more manifesting, for you can take exactly same subject and one teacher would bore the class to death and/or fail to explain, while the other - would excite and deliver the point..

I also believe in 'magic' in raw/ripe writing and assume you need talent to become a magician -:)


message 19: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments In sports, training cannot be talent. In writing or any other intellectual pursuit, Im sure it can. But talent will always make training easier.

A natural is a natural. Talent rises to the top.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Michael wrote: "In sports, training cannot be talent. In writing or any other intellectual pursuit, Im sure it can. But talent will always make training easier.

A natural is a natural. Talent rises to the top."


I go back and forth on this. My husband had no natural talent for wrestling but he trained like a mad man because he was determined to excel. In his case the training made him surpass other wrestlers with natural talent. There's also the chance that he had talent that was under developed but to this he just laughs and says 'No. I was horrible but I never gave up.'


message 21: by Michael (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments Not to put your husband down, but he probably didnt wrestle guys that had real talent. I could be wrong but did any of them go professional or win Olympic gold medals?

I played basketball and football in high school. I had a little talent in basketball. In football I had to train. I had a few basketball games in which I scored 50+ pts. But I was playing against high schoolers. When I played in summer leagues - I played against a couple of guys that ended up in the NBA.

It wasnt even close. Those guys looked like they were in a different stratosphere when it came to talent. You could tell they were men playing against boys. No matter how much I practiced, no matter how much I tried, I was never going to be an NBA player. Pro-athletes are like freak shows when it comes to talent.

Thats the kind of talent Im referring to.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Michael wrote: "Not to put your husband down, but he probably didnt wrestle guys that had real talent. I could be wrong but did any of them go professional or win Olympic gold medals?

I played basketball and foot..."


He placed second in the Canadian Collegiate Championship in 1981. All of his buddies were wrestlers, two of whom wrestled in a the '76, '80 and '84 Olympics. They have hall of fame inductions, ceremonies and reunions to this day as well as seeing one another for birthdays, weddings, barbecues, you name it - and who's the big star at these gatherings? My husband lol. Why? Because he had no talent and he succeeded wildly through sheer hard work. I'm really convinced he's the exception and not the rule.


message 23: by Michael (last edited Oct 07, 2016 09:18PM) (new)

Michael Fattorosi | 477 comments He might be the exception or he really is just too modest and he is the one with the real talent... lol. If he's beaten gold medalists, he's got real talent, dont let him fool you with the "I worked hard" lie.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Michael wrote: "He might be the exception or he really is just too modest and he is the one with the real talent... lol. If he's beaten gold medalists, he's got real talent, dont let him fool you with the "I worke..."

He's very modest, except for killing everyone in Jeopardy and crossword puzzles lol. But I'm afraid I have to believe him because they still talk about it. They all had to rally around the poor guy because the coach swore he would make my husband's life on the team so miserable that he would quit. He said my husband was so untalented that he was wasting everyone's time. Well, you know what happens when someone tells you that they hope you fail lol. I was actually disappointed that he couldn't attend my husband's UWO hall of fame induction in 2010. He actually sent us a congratulatory email when we got married. Jerk.


message 25: by GR (new)

GR Oliver | 479 comments I don't think it makes any difference if you have talent or love to write. But, it does matter if you want to be a popular writer. And, it doesn't mater if you love to write if you have talent or not. To me writing is the important thing, not being popular. I'm addicted to writing. It's my passion. I have a lot to say about life and what has gone on in my nearly 80 years. I started writing because I became hooked on my first Apple Macintosh. That was in 1985. It's been a hard road, but most of all, it was a learning process that brought out my inner soul. Since then, I've self-published 6 books, and have 2 more on the way. Whether I've sold any doesn't matter to me. I got my word out. That makes me happy. And, writing, or any art craft should make anyone happy. That's what art is all about. Don't mope about if you are good or not, just write. Do your thing. Love it. Nurture it. Caress it. It will develop. Tchuess...


message 26: by Michel (new)

Michel Poulin GR, I wholly agree with you about the importance of the love to write. However, if a writer wishes to have his/her books read and appreciated by many, be it for money or fame, then that writer will need to have some talent for it, while experience never hurts. If you write fiction, then I would rate imagination as the most important thing in a writer. If you write non-fiction (biographies, history, World politics, sciences and technologies, etc), then you need to be truly knowledgeable about what you write, if you don't want to be called out about being wrong on your facts.


message 27: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments GR wrote: "Whether I've sold any doesn't matter to me. I got my word out. That makes me happy...."

Anyone, who loves writing, can enjoy the process.
I argue though that if you care to publish - it's already a call for audience. You want your stuff read and, hopefully admired. It's not necessarily sales, as Michel, for example, as far as I know avails all his titles for free.
You can play violin for yourself and enjoy, like Sherlock Holmes, but if you are doing a public concert you hope for people to come...
From what I hear, some even check how many 'likes' they've garnered on some silly pic they'd placed on Facebook -:)


message 28: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments Any fresh opinions?


message 29: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9250 comments I do not think effort can overcome real talent. From my own experience at piano playing, I enjoy playing a number of classical sonatas, but I know only too well I could never approach the great concert pianists - not by a long shot. As for writing, I am the wrong person to ask about my own writing, but I have had people tell me they have enjoyed what I wrote, and tried to persuade me to keep going, so I assume I have some ability. Of course not everyone will like it. I think it is hard to be objective about your own writing, so I keep going, in part to amuse myself.


message 30: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13109 comments So, talent or training?


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