"If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed. If he has a talent and uses only half of it, he has partly failed. If he has a talent and learns somehow to use whole of it, he has gloriously succeeded and has a satisfaction and a triumph few men ever know." - Thomas Wolfe
"Everyone has a talent. What is rare is courage to follow talent to dark place where it leads." - Erica Jong
Funnily enough, I don't believe there are any magic 'secrets' to writing success. If so, I'm still trying to discover them. So I'll cover this subject very briefly, because I don't know answers. It's really all common sense, following your basic instincts and having a bit of fun at same time. Just BE YOU and write what your heart, your imagination tells you to write. The writer or author is a puppeteer, moulding clay through words that you choose. You weave strands of article or story together, through use of your creative imagination.
You start your article, short story or novel with an idea. You decide HOW you will start: "Once upon a time". (This could be little child emerging from depths of your soul). Sounds very "airy-fairy" that, like many "arty farty writer types"!
You perhaps got plot from a television programme or a newspaper article. The plots of some of my novels came from newspaper articles.
Then you make choices as you go along: to base your story upon fact or fiction, or faction (a mixture of fact and fiction - I like that genre (impressive word that - must use it more often!). You choose track. You are director, producer and actor: YOU set scene, decide whether it is to be local or foreign. It's up to you HOW you describe landscape or surrounding environment.
You decide on characters and how you will describe them. To let them live or die? What immense power you have to determine destinies! Whether to have a happy or sad ending? "And they all lived happily ever after...."
A few short words of advice to end off this lesson... Make your writing FUN and get readers (and editor) "hooked" with a good opening paragraph and an even better opening line.
What do you think of this example by Charles Dickens from "A Tale of Two Cities"?
"It was best of times, it was worst of times, it was age of wisdom, it was age of foolishness, it was epoch of belief, it was epoch of incredulity, it was season of Light, it was season of Darkness, it was spring of hope, it was winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct other way - in short, period was so far like present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in superlative degree of comparison only."