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Joycecwilliams
06-12-2008, 09:28 AM
I've been working as a reporter for 10 years (total).. and I love it. I love interviewing people, writing articles that call attention to an issue or inform the community.

Tonight I was talking with one of my colleagues and asked him if he ever wrote fiction. He said he tried many times, but never finished the pieces. He went on to explain that his brother has written several novels and is currently working in publishing.

As we talked he told me he took all journalism courses and not many English courses... and fiction writers have to read alot, which he does not do, he loves writing news stories. In fact he just gave up an Editor position to return to reporting.

What he said is so true. Writing fiction requires a lot of reading fiction.

Are there anyother writers here that write for newspapers and write fiction?

Joe270
06-12-2008, 10:09 AM
Wow. Long time, no replies.

Perhaps you should open up you question a little, to something like:

Has anyone here ever made a dime on writing fiction?

EriRae
06-12-2008, 01:22 PM
Hi Joyce,

I wish I had majored in journalism, rather than English teaching. I wouldn't be in insurance right now (at least, I hope not).

I read my daily newspaper, my bi-monthly Writer's Digest (Jenna Glatzer has an article in the August issue--WOOHOO) and I'm trying to read 36 books this year, mostly novels, but I have read one play and one memoir. I'm on #21, so I hope to surpass 36 before the end of the year.

And I made $100 on a paper I wrote in college. That's it. I was going to say I haven't made a dime writing anything, but alas, there was that one paper on banned books that I entered into a writing contest. And it was non-fiction. So I haven't made a dime on fiction.

Hope you get more answers!

KTC
06-12-2008, 02:57 PM
I freelance when I feel like freelancing... which admittedly is not very often lately. I've written for a few newspapers (from local to national). I enjoy interviewing too. As I do this as a hobby, I can afford to be selective about the jobs I take on. I love taking on issues that are important to me... that's the greatest benefit. I know in my head that journalism and fiction are different monsters... but I am passionate about every kind of writing I do. When I'm tackling journalism I want the reader to forget that they are reading journalism.

I didn't major in anything. I didn't go to school. I got into writing through the back door. I got into newspapers through an even backer-er door. My first publication was in a national paper... but it wasn't journalism, it was memoir. I was able to use that to get my first journalism gig.

I read a crazy amount of fiction... I think it's the most important tool to writing good fiction. It's the real book learnin'.

Hobbes
06-12-2008, 07:31 PM
I started off in college as a journalism major thinking I'd write for a newspaper while I worked on my book(s). Switched major to tv production and minored in English Lit. so now I write and produce commercials (kind of like fiction :D) and love to read while writing my book(s).

Does any of that count?

Mela
06-12-2008, 07:55 PM
Hi Joyce! I was a newspaper reporter/editor for 15 years - right now I'm a magazine editor but I also write articles for my 2 publications.

I think what it came down to for me was, I had/have done everything I wanted and there's very few career moves I could make right now that would give me satisfaction, partly because of my age (I'm not that old but being 48 does make a difference, especially here in NJ, where Gannett just laid off about 50 editorial workers) and partly because of where I live (long commute from western Jersey to where the bulk of the desirable jobs are: NYC). So I said the only thing left to do that could challenge me would be to write a book.

I have been writing fiction actively for the past 3 years (nothing published yet). And yes, it does involve a lot of reading and since I read a great deal on my job (when I'm not on AW!!) it's hard to read outside of the job. It just took me a year to finish WICKED.

I do have a few non-fic ideas kicking around right now, for the first time. But I came into journalism many years ago as a fiction writer, turned away from that and now I'm a sort of a hybrid. I think you do whatever suits you now: fiction, non-fiction, newspaper reporting, etc. Someday you may want to expand or you may remain content with what you're doing. But you can certainly spin a journalism background into fiction - wasn't Hemmingway a journalist?

Joycecwilliams
06-13-2008, 05:51 AM
Erinmiller77

I wish I had majored in journalism, rather than English teaching. I wouldn't be in insurance right now (at least, I hope not).

I read my daily newspaper, my bi-monthly Writer's Digest (Jenna Glatzer has an article in the August issue--WOOHOO) and I'm trying to read 36 books this year, mostly novels, but I have read one play and one memoir. I'm on #21, so I hope to surpass 36 before the end of the year.

And I made $100 on a paper I wrote in college. That's it. I was going to say I haven't made a dime writing anything, but alas, there was that one paper on banned books that I entered into a writing contest. And it was non-fiction. So I haven't made a dime on fiction.

Kudos to you. Non fiction does seem to pay better than fiction but I'm sure the fiction will pay off for you. ;)


KTC wrote:

I know in my head that journalism and fiction are different monsters... but I am passionate about every kind of writing I do. When I'm tackling journalism I want the reader to forget that they are reading journalism.

I didn't major in anything. I didn't go to school. I got into writing through the back door. I got into newspapers through an even backer-er door. My first publication was in a national paper... but it wasn't journalism, it was memoir. I was able to use that to get my first journalism gig.

I read a crazy amount of fiction... I think it's the most important tool to writing good fiction. It's the real book learnin'.

Journalism and fiction are two different monsters as you say and I am like you. I love writing, any kind. Okay I'm lying... I don't writing the minutes from minutes although I try to be creative but you can only go so far without people getting mad. :)

I am like you. I never obtained a degree for journalism, got in through the back door.. and I am grateful.

I worked for 6 years at the paper and left for several years. I noticed that I didn't write the entire time, except for business letters and such. When the paper had an opening I went back. Not so much for the money, but I knew it would give me the disipline needed to get back into writing. I have been back with them four years.

Thanks for your insight..


Hobbes wrote:

I started off in college as a journalism major thinking I'd write for a newspaper while I worked on my book(s). Switched major to tv production and minored in English Lit. so now I write and produce commercials (kind of like fiction ) and love to read while writing my book(s).

Yeah I think that counts. Isn't your book being published? Did you not like journalism?


MeowGirl wrote:

I majored in engineering, so I'm pretty much a self-taught writer.
I'm impressed. Ever write any tech articles on engineering? Just curious.


I was a newspaper reporter/editor for 15 years - right now I'm a magazine editor but I also write articles for my 2 publications.

I think what it came down to for me was, I had/have done everything I wanted and there's very few career moves I could make right now that would give me satisfaction, partly because of my age (I'm not that old but being 48 does make a difference, especially here in NJ, where Gannett just laid off about 50 editorial workers) and partly because of where I live (long commute from western Jersey to where the bulk of the desirable jobs are: NYC). So I said the only thing left to do that could challenge me would be to write a book.

I used to live in NJ... and it doesn't matter where you live, or what you do there is a lot of age discrimination and it's so difficult to prove. I've heard this from everyone, and have experienced it myself.

Thanks for the insight.

I think you are right Hemmingway was a journalist and O'Henry worked for a paper. I love both their writings, perhaps that is why.

Bubastes
06-13-2008, 06:24 AM
I'm impressed. Ever write any tech articles on engineering? Just curious.


Aw shucks, thanks! :D

No, I haven't written any tech articles. I'd rather walk on hot coals first.

ETA: Believe it or not, I don't write science fiction either.

Carole
06-13-2008, 06:41 AM
My mother would have been so proud if I were a journalism major in school. She didn't go to college, but she was a proofreader for a newspaper and loved every bit of the work and the atmosphere. She remembers exactly where she was the day President Kennedy was shot and how they all worked like mad to rework the front page because it had already gone to press when the news came in. I remember the ticker machines and how her boss used to let me play with the streams of paper that filled the baskets.

I don't write fiction, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for good fiction writers. There's nothing I love more than being sucked into a novel to the point where I can feel my surroundings in the scene. I write non fiction, though. I've had so many neat fiction ideas, but it always comes out so incredibly lame and forced. To-date, I have earned exactly $100 with my writing, and that came from one article.