Angela Carter paraphrasing Michael Moorcock’s advice on how to write fiction:
Industry, application, technique. How do you acquire industry and application? By doing it. What about technique? You acquire that by reading. If you want to write a novel, you really ought to read one, first. Read several. Read history, geography, anthropology. Read ancient epics, myths, romances. Read cigarette cards, the backs of cereal packages, yesterday’s newspapers. [Moorcock] himself emerges as an omnivorously well-read man, but the inexhaustible curiosity that lies behind all that is something that can’t be acquired, is something you are born with.
He doesn’t give anything away, because it isn’t possible for him to do so. There are no real trade secrets. Fiction is as individual as a fingerprint, even if all the history of storytelling is somehow involved in every story.
(Angela Carter, review of Colin Greenland’s Michael Moorcock: Death Is No Obstacle, 1991)
No trade secrets: learning is by doing. By doing the work that’s yours alone to do, you commune with all the rest.