The Third Pillar of a Great Writer: Ingenuity

We’re back and it’s Monday. I don’t know a ton of great Monday jokes, but those I do are sure to start productive weeks. Okay, that was actually a terrible joke, but what do you expect from a guy who doesn’t have the courage or decency to google one? Ehh…Mondays…

But hey, look on the bright side: at least you got this amazingly non-generic blog post that totally isn’t part of a completely arbitrary and cliché Four Pillars series that totally disregards human dignity in the name of sophistry. Nothing like that. We only deal in objective truth here.

Jeez…I’m rambling something terrible, aren’t I?

Okay, third pillar: Ingenuity. I alluded to this quite a few times in my most last article, but the Second Pillar of Creativity isn’t worth a hill of beans without its older brother, Ingenuity. I’ve said before that one isn’t necessarily more important than the other, but at least gasoline out of an engine has…other applications. (insert arson joke here)

But that’s not an accurate analogy: in reality, the script is flipped. Ingenuity is what you do with your creative fuel: it’s taking the raw materials mined from creativity and developing them, refining them into clear-cut ideas, plots, characters, worlds, and generally further-nuanced ideas.

You might need both to be a great writer (or all four, as is the point of this series), but I’d argue a few of these are more useful than the others: for example, the virtue of fortitude is applicable to anything that is difficult, not just writing. Creativity is helpful, but only relevant as a means to make things prettier or more attractive. Ingenuity has more to do with making things pragmatic or useful.

Odds are, the more pragmatic you are, you’d be more drawn to ingenuity than creativity. If you’re more creative, you’d see less value in ingenuity. All I’m trying to do here is to convince you that there’s real value in both, not just one or the other. Creation is the domain of creativity; creating something new, original and quality requires ingenuity.

So what exactly is ingenuity? It’s making things better. It’s taking that which is serviceable and making it something quality, something great. Through force of will, wits, and luck, you have taken your neighbor’s flyswatter and turned it into a flying automatic, solar-powered bug-o-whacker 5000 with cupholders. That’s ingenuity.

When ideas pop out of the metaphorical creative oven, they’re often disorganized and unrefined. Raw ideas don’t make good stories on their own: it takes ingenuity to refine those ideas and organize them into an actually good novel. Tomorrow we’ll tackle honesty: a different kind of virtue, but critical nonetheless.

That’s all.


Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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