I can attest that anyone, even those without musical talent, can master a musical instrument. At one time, I could play the trumpet remarkably well. No matter how hard I tried, however, I was never going to be great. I was good (for my age), but no amount of practicing would make me great.
Amidst cooking dinner and chasing after Son #2 last night, I tried reading more of Linda Seger’s book on creating characters. One thing she said that struck me was that writers must “feel the rhythm.” Ms. Seger referred to dialogue. She believes great dialogue writing is innate, but that good dialogue writing can be acquired.
Trumpet players learn the keys for each note, how to breath, etc. Like with playing the trumpet, the secret to being a decent author is to know dialogue writing’s proper techniques. Ms. Seger instructs writers to remove all fluff, limit each character to two or at most three sentences, and utilize conflict.
Ms. Seger hasn’t yet said anything about how to hone those techniques she mentions, but I already know the secret to becoming better. I recall the answer from my trumpet playing days. Those of us who don’t readily “feel the rhythm” have to practice and practice and practice.