• Great discussion. I wonder where you place imagination on the talent-work spectrum? Does imagination go hand in hand with talent or are there some would be writers with great imagination, but who cannot put their ideas to paper, and are there excellent word smiths who don’t have very much original to say?

    • Ron Cooper

      Thanks for reading, Peter, and good questions. I would say that imagination is part of talent, and many young people think of imagination as the essential ingredient for good writing, forgetting that craft and style come only with many hours of toil and some wise guidance. Nothing is more humbling than any college student’s first composition or creative writing class and getting back that first paper! Sometimes the only somewhat positive thing that can be said about a written assignment is “imaginative,” which can also be a backhanded compliment. Many of the authors who top the best seller lists have wonderfully imaginative plots but can’t write one lyrical sentence, and that’s usually the big difference between them and literary fiction writers. Poetry might be the best example of the wordsmiths who have little to say. We don’t read poets for ideas (and they usually don’t want us to) but for their linguistic magic. Thanks again. Ron