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The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird

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Part II

The Ultimate Story Checklist

True story: On the first day of my MFA program, a scowling professor walked in and announced, “I don’t know what the point of this is. I can’t teach you any of this stuff. Either you have talent or you don’t.” Unfortunately, we were paying him a fortune to teach us everything we needed to know. It was not money well spent.

And he was dead wrong.

Of course talent can be taught. Not easily, no, but nothing valuable is easy, or we’d all be rich. You most certainly can be taught how to develop talents you don’t have. Or, even better, you can teach yourself.

How can you be sure that this is true? Because otherwise nothing good would ever get written. Every writer learns to write. Nobody relies entirely on natural ...

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