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This Is Your Brain on Writing

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:21 pm
by nom
New York Times article by Carl Zimmer on the neuroscience of creative writing.
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/science/researching-the-brain-of-writers.html


Note: I wasn't sure which board to post this on, so happy for a mod to move it somewhere more appropriate.

Re: This Is Your Brain on Writing

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 3:19 pm
by Hugh
Thanks, nom - very interesting indeed. I'd also be interested in the next step Steven Pinker recommends - to compare brain images when the brain is engaged with fictional writing with images when it's engaged with factual writing.

Although... I'd contend that the 'creativity' required for factual writing - if it's to make the writing interesting and digestible to readers - can sometimes be almost as great as that required for fiction.

Re: This Is Your Brain on Writing

Posted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:40 pm
by Hugh
If, of course, an index of 'creativity' were possible to conceive - which it almost certainly isn't.

Re: This Is Your Brain on Writing

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 1:50 am
by Orpheus
Hugh wrote:Thanks, nom - very interesting indeed. I'd also be interested in the next step Steven Pinker recommends - to compare brain images when the brain is engaged with fictional writing with images when it's engaged with factual writing.

Although... I'd contend that the 'creativity' required for factual writing - if it's to make the writing interesting and digestible to readers - can sometimes be almost as great as that required for fiction.



I would suggest that it would have to be greater.

Re: This Is Your Brain on Writing

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:39 am
by devinganger
Orpheus wrote:
Hugh wrote:Although... I'd contend that the 'creativity' required for factual writing - if it's to make the writing interesting and digestible to readers - can sometimes be almost as great as that required for fiction.


I would suggest that it would have to be greater.


I would respectfully suggest that's a load of poppycock that has its roots in the prejudice some people feel against fiction. There are a lot of similarities between good fiction writing and good non-fiction factual writing, but there are differences. They are related skill sets with a lot of overlap, but they aren't the same, and the amount of creativity involved is only one factor. I know a fair number of writers both good and bad, across all disciplines. Some of the best writers are the least creative people, but they have discipline and a fair amount of self-knowledge.

Good writers will always figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are and arrange their writing accordingly.

Re: This Is Your Brain on Writing

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 1:42 pm
by Orpheus
devinganger wrote:
Orpheus wrote:
Hugh wrote:Although... I'd contend that the 'creativity' required for factual writing - if it's to make the writing interesting and digestible to readers - can sometimes be almost as great as that required for fiction.


I would suggest that it would have to be greater.


I would respectfully suggest that's a load of poppycock that has its roots in the prejudice some people feel against fiction. There are a lot of similarities between good fiction writing and good non-fiction factual writing, but there are differences. They are related skill sets with a lot of overlap, but they aren't the same, and the amount of creativity involved is only one factor. I know a fair number of writers both good and bad, across all disciplines. Some of the best writers are the least creative people, but they have discipline and a fair amount of self-knowledge.

Good writers will always figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are and arrange their writing accordingly.


I can see your point . It also reminds me of what my university math professor once replied when asked which mathematical sub-discipline (pure mathematics, applied mathematics, combinatorics and optimization, statistics...) was better? He said that there was only two kinds of mathematics: "Good mathematics" and "Bad mathematics." :shock:

Re: This Is Your Brain on Writing

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:55 pm
by devinganger
Orpheus wrote:He said that there was only two kinds of mathematics: "Good mathematics" and "Bad mathematics." :shock:


I *adore* that. Thank you for sharing it!