Re: student writing proficiency

Subject: Re: student writing proficiency
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 19:59:44 -0700

Sean Hower wrote:

Does that mean that someone without the talent can't write as well as someone with the talent? Depends on how motivated the person without writing talent is.

Sean's comment reminded me: I know of at least two successful writers who were diagnosed as having little writing talent when they took creative writing in university.

The essayist and fantasist Harlan Ellison was told by a university teacher that he had no future as a writer. According to Ellison, for years, he sent a copy of everything he published to this teacher in revenge.

Similarly, the novelist and screenplay writer William Goldman suffered through a nightmarish class in which he was the only one who really wanted to write and was the only one who couldn't get a B or an A in the course.

I don't know about Goldman, but I know Ellison's work fairly well, and there's no doubt that he has improved vastly as a writer since his first sales. Generally speaking, his first sales seem barely adequate for publication. However, by the time he had been writing for about a dozen years, he was starting to be an outstanding writer in his fields.

The trick, of course, is that only the highly motivated are willing to spend a dozen years perfecting something with only limited encouragement.

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"But the price that we would really pay,
I didn't see it then:
March until your feet get sore,
You never dance again."
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RE: student writing proficiency: From: Sean Hower

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