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  1. Justin
    Justin May 27, 2013 at 7:39 pm . Reply

    “About Writing” is a great book – it’s not so much that you have to agree with it, but you have to wrestle with it.

    “Moll Flanders” is also great. I totally had a book-crush on her. God bless, her mercenary soul.

  2. Anne
    Anne May 27, 2013 at 8:39 pm . Reply

    I agree with Mr. Delaney Delany, what he says about specifics, but I wouldn’t think of it as a condition that distinguishes “good” from “better” writing… I would say it’s a basic requirement of upper-level writing in the first place. Not an option.

    And, well, in theory motivation and qualitative “inborn” talent are different, but can they ever be distinguished in real life? Most people like what they’re good at, do what they like so often that they become good at it, and which one comes first is a chicken-or-egg question.

    Also, the thing about the “qualitative thought process” is that we’re inclined to think of geniuses as born, rather than made (even self-made). A lot of the eccentricity, the “genius” level thinking that masters have exhibited at one point or another… I think it comes from a habitual tendency to both think more intuitively and be able to set up a system in your head (music, art, mathematics, law… the practice of these fields all have their own internal governing rules of logic).

    To be sure some people think like this more often than other people… and usually without anyone else’s prompting. This may be why people think that geniuses are born that way. Except, they’re not, Mozart wasn’t born knowing how to compose… he studied music theory before he was able to do that.

    One possible reason for the eccentricity is that the same degree of motivation (unlike some other qualities, it may safely be said that strength of motivation is determined from birth… it has to do biologically with functioning of the dopaminergic pathways and reward centers, which is more potent in some people than others) that urges them on to pursue their subject of choice may make them dogmatic, less inclined to adjust to other people’s ways of thinking. But it’s all a gray area, isn’t it?

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