This Is Your Brain on Writing

New York Times article by Carl Zimmer on the neuroscience of creative writing.

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

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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.

If, of course, an index of ‘creativity’ were possible to conceive - which it almost certainly isn’t.

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.” :open_mouth:

I adore that. Thank you for sharing it!