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I want to be a writer: How can I stand out? Watch

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    You're probably ****.










    Right. So be prepared for a lot of this. And also be prepared for a lot of rejections as well. The problem with Creative Writing degrees, is that they don't necessarily teach you out to write well enough to stand out. They can show you what good writing constitutes, and how you can imitate that, but pure originality (in terms of style/ideas) can't, IMO, really be taught with a degree.

    I'm a strong advocate of doing something else whilst writing. Sure you love writing, I love writing. Yet I'm also, applying, to do medicine. It gives your life something different. Since you're not only going to be writing metafiction, having something else there can both be invaluable for your writing, but also support you if writing does, unfortunately, fail.

    Second point is start writing. Everyone's first novel is crap. That's a given. What genre do you like to write about? What things? You need to churn out a good number of writing if you want to get anywhere, since the only way to improve in writing is writing and then retrospection. Write various genres and styles as well. Easiest thing to start at the moment would be short stories. Start to write those and then send them out in their hundreds to different publishers. Anywhere that'll take you. New Yorker, Paris Review, some crappy church magazine. All good. Enter competitions etc... and hopefully if you can pin down your name to as many things as possible, people will know about you. Or when you do decide to find an agent/publisher, you have a CV of already published work.

    Yet at the same time, try to steer away from self-publishing, blogs, anything that asks you for money to publish, because a) the latter are usually scams and b) there's no mediated control. Getting published on lulu is very different to getting published under Penguin or something like that.

    Make sure you read more than you write :ahee:

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    i wanna be really nosey and read your work :ninja: :P
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    (Original post by ArcadiaHouse)
    You give a brief description of what happens in every scene, from beginning to end.
    Ok. Have you written one before? If so, do you have a sample?
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    Think about joining a writers group. Not necessarily one where everyone shares their work, but where you meet to talk about your writing/how you write etc.

    There are a lot of competitions out there, just google.

    Reading is important, as is writing different things in different genres.

    You could always keep a blog private so only you can see it - you could use it as somewhere to do writing exercises or something.

    Have a look at the books available about writing. I have a very basic poetry one and it is good because you need the basics before anything else.
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    BE original. =)
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    (Original post by maskofsanity)
    You have reached the limit of how many posts you can rate today!
    sad times.

    are you a writer yourself?


    OP: If you're looking for very serious writing groups/sites, then I recommend (being a member of both) this site for learning how to write. Don't be put off by other teens. There are some real talents there. And then this one for learning how best to publish. The latter is a much larger site though, and it's easy to get lost amongst all the age-groups.
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    why will your writing benefit me?
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    (Original post by Doke)
    My main aspiration in life is to be a professional writer, hopefully at a good enough level that I might earn a decent income from my efforts. As far as education and personal involvement goes, I believe that I am heading in the right direction and, hopefully, am not doing anything to detract from my goals. I am taking subjects that I have been informed are relevant (aside from the obvious English Language and Literature, I am also studying Media Studies and Philosophy and Ethics) and I am applying in 2011 to study Creative Writing at a number of universities that, after much research, I have determined to have courses suited to my tastes in the area. I write a lot in my free time to hone my skills so that if the time comes that I might offer my work professionally, I will have developed my talent to an appropriate level. I mostly write fiction and have made considerable advances over the past decade in my abilities in terms of style and detail. I hope that I will be able to one day earn a living from this as it is something that I love and do so very much.

    However, I am aware to the point of crippling fear that the entertainment industry is very competitive and, if anyone can help me, I would like to have some idea of more ways in which I can be noticed as a writer. I know fully that writing alone when all of my work stays on my memory stick where no one will see it will never be particularly fruitful, no matter how much I practice or how good (or otherwise ) my work might be.

    I have been advised that I should write a blog, and I am in the process of looking into this option, but the vast number of blogging sites available make it hugely confusing. I want to stand out and not just be another random blogger with no readers.

    Realistically, what can I do to make me stand out more? Is there anything I can do to catch the attention of people who can really make a difference for me in this regard?

    Thank you in advance for any help you have to offer, as well as apologies for my long-winded request. I just like to make sure I've covered everything that I do not cause confusion.

    Doke x

    P.S., I am aware that this thread is also in another part of the website, but I accidentally posted it in the wrong area and will not try to make any excuses for my mistake.
    No, no, no, you can't create real art militantly like that. You write from the heart, not from some textbook burned into your head from three years of study. I might be being unrealistic, but I don't think art should be undertaken with the goal of money/professionalism in mind.
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      (Original post by x-friends)
      Ok. Have you written one before? If so, do you have a sample?
      I have, but I did it incorrectly. You can Google how to do it properly. Sorry, I'd be more helpful but I'm ill. :emo: Is it for a stage play or screenplay?
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      (Original post by maskofsanity)
      I've written a couple of (very) short stories and a chapter of an adaptation of American Psycho based in '90s London; just as a little writing experiment, but nothing to shout home about. I never seem to have time to begin a real novel :'(

      Yourself?

      Has anyone written a novel here?

      Would be interesting to read
      then kindly place them in my shunned thread down yonder
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      DOS.
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      The only people I know that write to make money are miserable, cynical old sods who don't have very much money. (These people kindly deterred me from a future in journalism. I spent Christmas with one, it was a barrel of laughs...) Whilst I'm sure this is by no means true in all cases, it seems to be a bit of a trend. Still, if it's what you really want...

      1. Get an agent. You're unlikely get anywhere without one nowadays.
      2. Read. Study literature as much as you can. Whilst I see that you want to study straight Creative Writing, keep in mind that a Literature + CW course will most likely make you a better writer at the end of it, increase your future job prospects, and generally just be a more worthwhile course for your money. UEA have a very well renowned course, as do Warwick.
      3. If you blog: follow other blogs. Comment on other blogs. Be a really active blogger to get more publicity. Choose a focus for your blog and stick to it. (e.g. cooking, other literature, current affairs, whatever. Don't make it a jumble.) Be as concise as possible.
      4. Enter as many competitions as you can. The more prolific the better. You'll have to spend quite a bit to enter most of them though, be warned...
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      (Original post by maskofsanity)
      I've written a couple of (very) short stories and a chapter of an adaptation of American Psycho based in '90s London; just as a little writing experiment, but nothing to shout home about. I never seem to have time to begin a real novel :'(

      Yourself?

      Has anyone written a novel here?

      Would be interesting to read
      I've written one and am writing another one at the moment if you're interested...
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      (Original post by Miraclefish)
      The first thing you need to work out is what kind of writing you want to - initially - do. Saying "I want to be a writer" is like saying "I want to be famous". It's neither here nor there.

      Once you've picked your favoured field (be that because it's the one you want to work in, are passionate about or, simply, think there's more chance of getting paid work in, then you have to become very, very proficient at writing. Really churn it out. The path from brain to book is a long and arduous one. You have to become skilled at distilling your thoughts onto paper (or indeed screen...).

      And these test works should likely never see the light of day. You want to, you need to, refine your writing style, discover your natural prose and start to iron out your bad habits. Do you use the Oxford comma? Are you hyphen happy?

      You then have to develop a very thick skin. When you start trying to get noticed you'll likely be ignored by magazines, editors, writers and publishers. Why? We get lots and lots of prospective submissions which are high in enthusiasm and low in quality or, in some cases, reality.

      If you're really lucky someone will read your work and offer some constructive criticism. Lap up every word of it. Everything that anyone ever advises you to do has the potential to make you a better writer. Use it. You need a thick skin and a small ego.

      Once you've honed your skills and really, really stuck at it, it's time to try and get noticed. Write letters to magazined for publication, offer short stories and submissions which you've created yourself. Never, ever write and ask 'can I write for you?'. Always create something and say 'I've written this for you.'

      Eventually, if you're very lucky, you'll catch somebody's eye and they'll decide to take a risk with you and give you a commission or a bit of work experience or simply their patronage.

      A journalism degree, indeed, any kind of degree is absolutely not a requirement. A natural flair with words, affinity with the English language, willingness to work for pitiful wages and work very, very late (sometimes you'll get Chinese food if you do, mind...) especially on press day.

      Never give up, never stop trying. There are fewer journalists in the UK than there are professional footballers (both careers have 'leagues', funnily enough...) and every single job and freelance penny is hotly contested. If you don't try hard, you won't make it.

      Sorry I can't give you a fluffy, shiny-happy response, but I'd be doing you a disservice.

      I say all this as a self-made journalist, no degree, who's travelled the world, worked for major publishers as well as been a full-time freelance writer and been published in close to ten countries worldwide. I'm offering you my hard-earned experience - if it helps you, and I hope it does, then you can buy me a drink when you get your first piece published!

      P.S. Oh, for the love of all things sacred and hold, never, ever start a blog. Nothing winds up journalists and wordsmiths more than the proprietors of half-baked internet sites and blogs calling themselves 'writers'. Wait 'til you've made a name then make a web log, it almost never happens the other way around...
      "You have reached the limit of posts that you can rate today!"

      Tomorrow....
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      (Original post by TotalLifeForever)
      Have you never heard of 'Aim for the stars and maybe you'll reach the sky'?

      You to have aspirations and dreams, they're vital in life.


      Of course they are, I never implied otherwise; but to dream without reason is to invite failure.
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      Didn't read the whole thread so this may have already been mentioned. Try following authors blogs, or aspiring authors blogs. I've read some interesting things about authors giving advice to aspiring authors. Also twitter, follow authors, literary agents, publishers. Yes there are many people with blogs, but it's another way to keep practising your writing for an audience. Blogger is a very simple blog site to use. These interviews are quite interesting, and this site is good too for tips and there are more interviews on it too.

      Get your completed stories out there, even just as a free ebook. The internet is becoming huge in publishing, so being online is very important. Authors more than ever are involved in their own publicity, by doing blog interviews, blog tours, competitions, etc. So getting yourself online is a good idea. I also found an aspiring author had read one of her stories for a free podcast you can download from itunes.

      As for the degree, creative writing is great. Have you considered a joint degree with something else though, as a back up plan. As you know, this isn't going to be easy. Are there any other careers you're interested in? Authors also don't tend to make that much money, unless you are a huge success like JK Rowling. From all the authors I follow on twitter/blogs many of them have jobs as well as writing because they can't afford to just write.

      Just keep writing, and share your stories. I love reading unpublished authors. I'm aspiring to work in publishing, so good luck to us both :p:
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      (Original post by Zebrastripes)
      Didn't read the whole thread so this may have already been mentioned. Try following authors blogs, or aspiring authors blogs. I've read some interesting things about authors giving advice to aspiring authors. Also twitter, follow authors, literary agents, publishers. Yes there are many people with blogs, but it's another way to keep practising your writing for an audience. Blogger is a very simple blog site to use. These interviews are quite interesting, and this site is good too for tips and there are more interviews on it too.

      Get your completed stories out there, even just as a free ebook. The internet is becoming huge in publishing, so being online is very important. Authors more than ever are involved in their own publicity, by doing blog interviews, blog tours, competitions, etc. So getting yourself online is a good idea. I also found an aspiring author had read one of her stories for a free podcast you can download from itunes.

      As for the degree, creative writing is great. Have you considered a joint degree with something else though, as a back up plan. As you know, this isn't going to be easy. Are there any other careers you're interested in? Authors also don't tend to make that much money, unless you are a huge success like JK Rowling. From all the authors I follow on twitter/blogs many of them have jobs as well as writing because they can't afford to just write.

      Just keep writing, and share your stories. I love reading unpublished authors. I'm aspiring to work in publishing, so good luck to us both :p:
      Cheers, this is excellent
      If you ever do get into publishing, give me a bell? ha ha
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      (Original post by KingMessi)
      "You have reached the limit of posts that you can rate today!"

      Tomorrow....
      Haha don't worry about it. I write posts because they need writing, rather than rating.
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      (Original post by ArcadiaHouse)
      I have, but I did it incorrectly. You can Google how to do it properly. Sorry, I'd be more helpful but I'm ill. :emo: Is it for a stage play or screenplay?
      It's for a screenplay.
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      (Original post by ArcadiaHouse)
      Is it possible for someone to steal your work and pass it off as their own if you post it on the site or is there copyright or something to protect your work?
      you can put copyright on it
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      Well start your own website and write there...buy a domain and start out...once you get the audience into your blogs your site's traffic will increase..then you can get some advertisements and get some money I suppose
     
     
     
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