Is it necessary for me to pursue a degree in writing to be a successful fictional writer, or can I practice writing on my own?

Chris Snyder

Chris Snyder

Répondu il y a 66w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 860 et de vues de réponses 1.2m

I agree with M.Lackey and others that a fiction writer does not need a degree to become successful, but that does not mean that they don’t need to be constantly educating themselves. As I don’t have a budget for buying books, I’ve been reading lots of free e-books on Amazon, and the quality varies drastically, sometimes the writing is so bad I can’t plow through it, and it is not from my boredom ( I have a high tolerance for dry verbose material), but from the ignorance of the writer. Sometimes their language skills are so bad that you can’t even guess at the meaning of what they are writing. Or they get elements of this world that they have set their work in factually wrong in a terribly obvious and embarrassing way.

Successful writers probably spend at least a third of the time that goes into their writing either researching the details of the world they are creating, or editing and revising their work, catching typos, wrong word choices (often computer “auto-corrections”), grammar errors, errors in their timelines/plot details, details of science and technology, incongruities and inconsistencies with what they have already written, inconsistencies in motivation and psychology, basically trying to catch all the flaws that a professional editor would catch, even if they do in fact have a contract with an editor. M. Lackey is very good at this herself, but not so many of the beginning writers putting out free e-books.

So if you need to take the low cost path to writing success, by all means write and self publish, but get yourself a circle of beta readers with great editorial skills to vet your work, check your ego at the door, and make sure you understand each and every one of your mistakes so that you can avoid them in future. Also, read as much as you can on how to write, and also do the research that is necessary to make your current story fully fleshed out and completely plausible, down to the tiniest details.

One of my favorite writers both for her masterful storytelling and research of the smallest details, once described in “Prodigal Summer” the symptoms of Benign Positional Vertigo that she gave to one of her characters so well, that I realized that I had been struggling with it for years myself. Not only that, but without bogging down the story flow, she also concisely described the physical therapy cure for the problem so well that I was able to perform the Epley Manuever exercise myself right then and there, and cure my own problem, and have been able to relay the info to several other sufferers so that they could cure themselves, too. Now that is great attention to detail worked into masterful storytelling!

Learn how to write, learn what you are writing about, write to learn, learn without ceasing, and you too can become a successful (self-taught) writer, and perhaps even more masterful than if you had the writing degree. But I suspect you will find that getting a writing degree probably would have been easier (if not as effective) than disciplining yourself to learn everything YOU need to know for YOUR projects as you go. Best wishes for your success.

Laurel Gale

Laurel Gale, author of DEAD BOY and MONSTER, HUMAN, OTHER (Random House)

Répondu il y a 70w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 162 et de vues de réponses 36.5k

You don’t need a degree in writing to become a successful writer of fiction, but it is one option.

Some aspiring writers go to college to earn an MFA or other degree in creative writing. They might do this because they thrive in the academic environment or because it’s an important step toward becoming a professor of creative writing, and this is another goal of theirs. Assuming the program is decent, they should learn a great deal of helpful information. They’ll practice and receive feedback. They’ll also make some connections that may help them later.

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This is only one path to becoming a successful writer, though. I have degrees, but not in creative writing. I taught myself how to write books, mostly through practice and trial and error. I know of many other published writers who did not pursue a degree in the subject.

But here’s the catch: even if you decide not to pursue a degree in creative writing, expect to spend the same amount of time developing your skills, more or less.

In other words, an aspiring writer attending an MFA program may spend three years focusing on writing full-time. If you’re teaching yourself, plan on spending a roughly equivalent amount of time. If you can only focus on writing part-time because you need to work a job that actually pays, it will take you even longer.

This is a skill that some people go to college to learn. Don’t expect to master it overnight and start making money immediately.

Also, even if you decide not to pursue a degree, you don’t need to do everything on your own. Writing is often a solitary activity, but you can join critique groups. You can attend the occasional writing conference or workshop. Get out there and meet other writers. It will help you learn, and it will make the experience less lonely.

Jeanine Joy

Jeanine Joy, Ph.D., CEO, Trainer, Speaker, Author, Researcher at Happiness 1st Institute (2011-present)

Répondu il y a 68w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 6.3k et de vues de réponses 2.4m

When my oldest daughter was a pre-schooler her teacher said to me, “I can’t wait until she grows up and begins writing down her fantastic stories.”

Her comment helped me recognize that she was creative and not to squash that creativity.

As she grew, the stories became more elaborate and she developed excellent grammar and writing skills. So much so that I had to send her to a speed reading course before college because she diagrammed every sentence she read in her mind and I knew she was reading too slow for college. Her comprehension was nearly 100%. The speed reading did help.

She was offered a scholarship out of the blue from a college we’d never heard of because of her 99th percentile on the SAT essay writing portion that was new when she sat for it.

Off she went to college to obtain a creative writing degree. She graduated in 3 1/2 years with honors and along the way lost all desire to write.

The literary focus dissuaded her creativity.

Now, five years later, she is just finishing a 65-day solo journey through England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland during which she hoped to rekindle her desire to write.

I hope that along the way her love of writing has returned and the shackles her college creative writing courses put upon her mind.

I don’t think the college was bad. The social experience was definitely great for her. She was just so free because of the way I raised her and they instilled unnecessary limits on her that she accepted.

I hope to see one of her books in print next year.

I believe degrees matter with many non-fiction genres but not for fiction.

Mercedes R. Lackey

Mercedes R. Lackey, 134 a publié des livres dans Fantasy and sf, Writer #1 NYT.

Répondu il y a 70w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 6.7k et de vues de réponses 18m

Don’t do this.

Sérieusement Ne faites pas cela.

If you write a good book and go with traditional publishers, not one single one will look at your book “more seriously” if your cover letter includes the fact that you have a degree in writing. In fact, this might well hurt you—there is an unspoken prejudice among genre publishers that someone with a writing degree is “precious” or “pretentious.” If you self-publish not one reader will care that you have a degree, nor will they be more likely to buy your book because of it.

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You’ll want to read this through. Mercedes R. Lackey's answer to How realistic is it to make a living from writing police thrillers as a starting author?

So what you will have at the end of getting your degree is a énorme debt you will be unable to repay on a minimum wage, and a degree that in general only suits you for minimum wage jobs.

If you are bound and determined to get a college degree, pick something you are good at that has a high probability of netting you a salary that will enable you to pay off that student loan and not have to live under a bridge doing so.

Otherwise, pick a trade—HVAC, car repair, plumbing, wiring—something people always need that cannot be outsourced or done by a robot—and get certification in that and write on the side. These jobs typically pay very well, and you’ll have a “fresh brain” to write with at the end of the work day.

Clayton James Conway

Clayton James Conway, BA Science & Business, The Evergreen State College (1982)

Répondu il y a 63w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 357 et de vues de réponses 194.5k

No. Your job is to become a master of your kind of writing that nobody else can do. You might want to understand the 39? kinds of stories that are always told over and over again. Most writers only write one kind of story over and over unknowingly.

The point of education is to meet people that will have a life long impact on you. Getting a certificate can help you get in doors that some gateways block. However, nobody is going to care if you cannot write what other people want. And their wants change with the winds. You never know when your writings will become popular or not. It took a century for “Moby-Dick” to make it and of course the author was dead by then. That is the way of most artists. A rare few make it well during their own life time. However, it is kind of like actors. A few make a good living while the rest toil on and on and cannot live well on it.

You are going to have to make a choice between writing full time or doing two jobs. Most would live better if they did something even part time that paid well and made writing their joy. I have spent my life in my joy in research. It has its rewards and lots of pain if you are trying to live a simple life. I am that uncle that the family puts up with because I cannot afford the usual working mans gifts to my brother and sisters kids when the count came to 9. I could afford 1 gift but not 9 equal gifts. Just not possible with the life style I have. The best I could do was give them some of my time.

You better marry well as in fit with clear expectations of what are likely scenarios of what life will be like with you. When you are young anything seems possible and promising the Moon is easy because you are sure of your commitment and willingness to work hard. As you grow older you find that hitting that brick wall you thot was no real block is not so easy or fun. It never goes the way you saw it in your youth. Write 2 pages of original writing a day and you will write 3 to 4 hundred books in a life time. Some days that can take you 10 minutes and other days the whole day. For myself on good days I write until the flow stops.

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Also make sure that this path is the path YOU want. It is easy to think you want to be a great writer. The idea is something you can fall in love with. However, the ideas of the world and desired status are not going to fit the real unique you. You will have to become comfortable with the real you as you get to know yourself. It can be very different kind of writing that you want to do.

If this is the long haul you want, you better get some regular routines going. Wake up and read scripture. Note I did not specify. Exercise & do yoga. The positions actually help in your mental frame. The most important muscle to exercise is your heart. Bring your heart beat up as quick as you can and then bring it down as far as you can as quick as you can. Repeat. This is what football players do and it gives you the most benefit for the bang. Your other muscles will work all day long as long as your heart feeds them oxygen. Learn to breath in thru the nose and out the mouth. Stop eating red meat.

Meditate at least half and hour a day first thing in the morning because it sets the whole day for you and makes the tasks easier. Read scripture as it reforms you like sandpaper. And stop eating red meat and you can live thru 3 centuries if the sages are correct. I believe they are.

Judy Gruen

Judy Gruen, Author of 4 books, journalist for 30 years, writing coach.

Répondu il y a 66w · L'auteur dispose de réponses 100 et de vues de réponses 84.8k

I believe the value of a writing degree is worth less and less because college curricula has been increasingly dumbed down, particularly in the liberal arts. While I earned a bachelor’s degree in English Lit, I learned far, far more about effective from the single course I took in rhetoric, which is rarely taught anymore, and even moreso from my journalism internship and subsequent journalism experience.

If you have some raw talent for writing, reading broadly, including from the classics that are too often ignored, and writing, writing, writing, is the right ticket for you.

But do make sure to have marketable skills so you can earn money while you build up your writing abilities. Also, having experience in the “real world” will also deepen your understanding of human nature and help you in creating strong and memorable fictional characters.

Bonne chance!

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