Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#178) -- Craftsmen & Artists

You've said that there's a difference between writing as a 
science and writing as an art? What do you mean by that?

You know, with the "e" at the end.
I've long believed that anyone can learn the skill set needed to become a writer, but not all who can learn to write (and even write well) have it in them to become an artist with their words and stories.

Anyone who can be taught to do anything else (fix a toilet, change your oil, knit a scarf) can equally learn how to write.For example, non-writers can learn the following skills and become writers:

  • how to plot
  • how to subplot
  • proper grammar
  • spelling
  • research
  • developing characters
  • etc. 

But there are writers who have a special knack and way of seeing and hearing the world around them that allows them to elevate the simple act of writing to something more. For example, they tend to understand intrinsically:

  • the power of word choices
  • how sounds affect readers
  • how to make their characters "real"
  • how stories flow
  • voice and tone as a natural rhythm
  • etc. 

It's doesn't make one a better "writer" than the other. It makes them different kinds of writers. It doesn't mean one is in a better position to be a profitable writer. (I daresay the more of a "writer" than an "artist" a storyteller can be, the better his or her chances for being a financial success in the business.)

I address this more in the article "Two Spectrums of Writers," also posted here on the blog.