"Next to an utter lack of ability, the worst flaw I can think of for a would-be writer is ignorance about literary history.
It's absurd to imagine a brain surgeon who doesn't know the history and principles of brain surgery, yet many aspiring writers assume that because words fall out of their mouths every day, they need no other qualification to write fiction.
Obviously, not everyone has the time and money to get a collage degree in literature. But lists of important literary works are readily available."
Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing: A Novelist Looks at His Craft by David Morrell