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spugh2
11-06-2009, 12:46 AM
Grad student looking for a few published authors to answer some questions, as per the requirements of the class. If you're up to, then just respond to this thread. Be sure to let me know what you've published and in what genre, and thanks, thanks a ton.
I'm compiling the results for a presentation to other wannabes.


1. What sort of education do you believe best prepares someone for a career as a novelist?
2. What are your work habits like? Are you a ritualistic writer who rises at the same time and works no matter what or do you create as the mood strikes you?
3. Under what conditions do you work? What’s the ideal atmosphere for your creativity?
4. What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far?
5. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

timewaster
11-06-2009, 01:02 AM
1. Any education or none. I have a degree, a teaching qualfication and an MBA but none of them have helped much. You can use whatever experience you have.
2. I write regularly - ie every day when I am working on a novel and not otherwise.
3. When I have a book to write I can write anywhere and in any atmosphere. I have an office at home and I either work there or on my lap top. When I need to work I do.
4. I have always worked part time - taking off whatever time I've wanted to be with my kids etc. It is hard to make enough money to justify it as a full time job.
5. Write because you enjoy it and for no other reason. If you are anxious for fame, fortune or even a living wage it is probably not for you.

I'm UK based and have published eight YA novels and eight books for younger children. I mainly write fantasy/SF.

Mumut
11-06-2009, 02:49 AM
1. I woke up to the benefits of education late in life. I passed my highschool exams at age 30 and finished my degree at 52 (very slow learner). I only did this because the formal quals were vital for getting the jobs I needed. But I've found life experience the greatest benefit to writing. I've worked on a cattle station just north of the Simpson Desert in Australia, I've been a district officer in Papua New Guinea, I've parachuted and scuba dived - these are the things give me the most understanding of life and I write YA historical fantasy with lots of action so that's what I need.
2 I don't write every day but I do writing-related work. At the moment I'm emailing every secondary school (if I can find an email address!) in Canada after emailing every library. So I don't have time to write. My inner feelings dictate whether I write, edit, market my books etc.
3 Probably linked to the last answer. I write when there's nothing pressing on my mind. I'm retired (read full-time domestic servant) so I finish the housework then start writing - usually in the afternoon and into the night.
4 At the moment, finding time for everything. I've about 25 book signings between now and Christmas, one group of stores three hours drive away so I'm staying in a resort for the week. I'm four chapters into my next book (#4 in the series - the first 2 are published and the third at the printers as we speak). I've just had 10 days in hospital where I don't have the internet. I have weeks of emailing to do for marketing. So I just don't have enough time and don't make enough money to employ a secretary to do the marketing for me. (My publishers market my books but I can't stand back when I have great ideas to do it better).
5 I agree with timewaster. Enjoy writing. My wife wanted me to write a romance novel but I can't write about something I've had no experience in whatsoever. So I stick to my adventure stories.

Best of luck with your assignment, spugh2. If you want any further details, just PM me.

nconner
11-06-2009, 08:37 AM
1. I think it's a combination of life experience and reading, reading, reading. You don't have to major in English to be a novelist, but you do have to read both broadly and deeply. I believe that novelists develop an "ear" for what a story sounds like by reading everything they can get their hands on. (I have a PhD in English, but I don't think it's necessary to get an advanced degree--or any degree--to learn how to write. For me, the advantage of a grad program was spending all those wonderful years reading and thinking and talking about books.)

2. I'm a full time author but not yet a full-time novelist. I write nonfiction during the day and fiction at nights and on weekends. I try to work on my fiction every day. If I take too much time off between books, I lose momentum and it's hard to get started again.

3. Usually I write either in my home office or on my laptop in a coffee shop. Because my husband and I both work at home, we like to get out in the evenings. I take along my laptop and try to crank out a thousand or so words. I prefer my writing atmosphere to be relatively quiet, but when the writing is going well I can focus despite distractions.

4. Time, like the others said. After working on nonfiction all day, some evenings I feel like I've run out of words. But I keep going because this is what I want to do.

5. Read widely, and write what you love to read. Develop a daily writing habit. Join a critique group--learning to help other writers improve their work makes you a better writer. Learn to accept criticism but don't lose your vision for your story. Persist. Have fun.

My genres are mystery and fantasy. I hope your presentation goes well!

LuckyH
11-06-2009, 12:33 PM
1. I think you need to have studied English literature at a reasonable level, not necessarily at university.



When I’m actively writing, I work something like six hours a day, usually starting before the sun comes up.




Ideally, alone in a quiet place without interruptions.




I can’t really think of any difficult aspects. Now I can, I'm useless at formatting.




Just write. If you’re a writer, you’re going to anyway.



I write crime fiction and have had four novels published.

spugh2
11-07-2009, 04:03 AM
I think these are great guys. I will pass this info along to other wannabes. Thanks!

Jess Haines
11-07-2009, 10:24 AM
If it's not too late...


1. What sort of education do you believe best prepares someone for a career as a novelist?

A study of books and resources on grammar, spelling, etc. I also recommend reviewing industry resources online, such as agent and editor blogs.


2. What are your work habits like? Are you a ritualistic writer who rises at the same time and works no matter what or do you create as the mood strikes you?

Ha! Haha. Ohh.

Yeah. I write whenever I can find the time. That's usually late at night and on weekends. I carry my laptop and a notebook with me at all times so I can take notes whenever I get an idea, or when the mood strikes me.


3. Under what conditions do you work? What’s the ideal atmosphere for your creativity?

Whatever ones are available to me. I've worked in parks, on breaks at the office, in the car, on planes...


4. What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far?

Believe it or not, it was working up the courage to persist in my hunt for an agent (before I had one).


5. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Don't give up. Be open to advice, but stay true to yourself, and your goals.

spugh2
11-19-2009, 06:38 PM
Not too late. Awesome response. Thanks a lot.

Freelancer
11-19-2009, 08:16 PM
Oh, I always loved these interview questions. :)


1. What sort of education do you believe best prepares someone for a career as a novelist?Nothing and everything. By my opinion writing requires fantasy to have a chance to create something new, something unique. If you can't imagine it, no one will be able to. As a writer one of your tasks is to create a living and believable world. That can be done without any sort of education. However writing the actual world and make it to entertaining is different. If you can't explain what you'd like to show, if you can't tell your story, you're nowhere with your fantasy. It's a symbiosis. The essence is, we writers must entertain and entertaining cannot be learned. As in real life, you must have a natural talent to entertain someone. You must be able to create and tell what is in your mind. One part can be learned, the other cannot. You can be the most educated writer with faultless grammar, the one who can create the best phrases on the world. But it's worth nothing if you can't create a world at all as you don't have fantasy.

2. What are your work habits like? Are you a ritualistic writer who rises at the same time and works no matter what or do you create as the mood strikes you?I used to setup a soundtrack list for the actual chapter and listen the tracks to get the appropriate, imagined mood. Also I used to create draws, sketches, even full illustrations to visualize everything better what I'm intending to write down. For me, creating a world is almost ritualistic. I love to create and add all the possible details to my worlds.

3. Under what conditions do you work? What’s the ideal atmosphere for your creativity?Usually at night with the previously mentioned music. Also, I prefer spring, autumn and winter as my favorite writing time. Summer is not ideal to me at all.

4. What has been the most challenging aspect of your career thus far? The hardest is to create something different, something what no one told before. Making a really long, unique and detailed novel, which is not based on the present fantasy worlds is really hard, but can be rewarding. I love the risk and I love the challenge. Sometimes this risk worth the time, sometimes not. But we never would know the result if we never try.

5. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?Believe in yourself and never give up. If you fail or you receive a critics, take it and don't play the aggrieved. Also always adhere to your world and always be ready to protect it. Always be ready to answer questions regarding your WIP. If you don't know what your world is all about, never expect your readers to know it too.