I am a non-native speaker, learning the English language, and I am already fairly good in reading and writing technical texts. I also enjoy reading fiction books much, but there's one thing that hits me - the language in fiction is of course different than in technical papers, and I can't seem to find an easy way to rearrange myself into writing this kind of quality texts.
I understand that composition and style are important characteristics of worthy authors and their creations, but now I want to concentrate on the most noticeable thing that I have realized for myself:
fiction texts can use lots of words that you don't ever come across in scientific literature, internet forums, newspapers, English language courses, movies and other sources. However, these words are there, and the authors seem to use them effortlessly, like if they use them every day, but as I said, you don't actually see them much anywhere else, except, probably, for a couple of times per life. And looks like an average English reader is also implied to pass on these without a question.
If I open a dictionary and look them up, they're there, but this still leaves me with no clue as to where from did the authors gather and remember all this vocabulary in the first place?
Hence my questions:
What is the typical path of an English-writing author who aims for an acceptable level of artistic description so that his texts won't be considered as "too dry" as a technical paper might be? Is school/college education enough for a native English speaker to venture into full-blown writing?
Are there any good sources on how can I enrich my vocabulary for writing fiction?
What approach could be recommended for a non-native speaker like me to expand my thinking in a way to make my texts to be less rigid, more descriptive and "alive"? What vocabular characteristics should my text possess (say, a short story), to be accepted by a publisher of fiction for native English readers?