Another great quote from one of my favourite books, Science Fiction 101 by Robert Silverberg.

A lot of narrative technique is actually something that you figure out unconsciously as you absorb other people’s narratives; later you may consciously codify a set of rules, and later on you internalize them again so that they operate without your having to stop to think about them. At that point, you’re a professional writer.

And then later on, he says,

Of course, there’s much more to writing than mastery of technique. Technique is merely a means to an end, and in this case the end is to convey understanding in the guise of entertainment. The art of storytelling evolved as a way of interpreting the world—as a way of creating order out of the chaos that the cruel or merely absent-minded gods handed us long ago. To perform that task effectively, the writer must know something about the world. Even if what you want to write about is a planet a million light years away, you must have some understanding of this one, or the inhabitants of this world will have little interest in what you have to say.