PDA

View Full Version : Your favorite pot stirrer here... (moved from Newbie forum)



Corinthianblue
01-02-2010, 01:22 AM
Okay. So recently I had begun redoing my whole manuscript into something else and I had a friend tell me that my style was like that of Terry Goodkind. (Forget about all that you have read because it's a dead thing now). I knew Terry Goodkind from the Legend of the Seeker TV series and had been thinking about picking up his books. I've got a few now and been reading them and I see the likeness I have with him. I figured, if I've been compared to an author, I may as well get to know him. Then I learned of Mr. Goodkind's education. He was a college dropout, suffering from dyslexia. That REALLY surprised me to be honest. So then I got a question in my head that won't leave.

Do you even need a $100,000 sheet of paper (a degree) to push through your works? True, Mr. Goodkind waited quite a few years before writing Wizard's First Rule.

So what are your thoughts on education and publication?

mscelina
01-02-2010, 01:27 AM
There's no such thing as too much education. Period.

Stew21
01-02-2010, 01:30 AM
Talent, practice, determination, and education (whether you educate yourself with reading at the library or you are educated at a university) are your friends if you want to be a novelist.

Welcome to AW!

This is also a great place to supplement the other educations you achieve.

Shadow_Ferret
01-02-2010, 01:54 AM
College degrees and publication have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

That said, being a well-rounded learned individual can only help in a writing career. But the most important thing to being published is just practice, practice, practice. Writing begets better writing.


Legend of the Seeker TV series

I had to Google this, I'd never heard it before. Is it still on?

Darzian
01-02-2010, 02:33 AM
http://www.wilsoninfo.com/welcome/welcomeclipart6.gif

Education doesn't really matter, though workshops are often helpful.

jvc
01-02-2010, 03:12 AM
Although these are the types of conversations that occur more often than not in the Newbie forum, I'm going to wiggle my nose and port this thread over to the AW Roundtable, where, I'm sure, it'll get more commas, as everyone likes commas, yep, they do, because they're so good, and brilliant, and perfect for a quick break, like this, in a sentence, however, you may not know this, but some people can, yeah, it's a bit unlikely, but, still, they can over use the comma, so, make sure you don't, as, sometimes, it can get freaking annoying.

Anyways, this is going over the Roundtable where it'll get more ...

something.

Mr Flibble
01-02-2010, 03:27 AM
You need to have a wide ranging knowledge I think, but whether college taught you or you taught you doesn't matter. Read widely, fiction and non-fiction, observe human behaviour wherever you go. That's all the education you need - except maybe grammar....:D


But the most important thing to being published is just practice, practice, practice. Writing begets better writing.

Da Ferret is right.

gothicangel
01-02-2010, 03:28 AM
You don't have to have a degree, but it's interesting to see how many of the biggies have MA's and PhD's.

Good points of a degree [English Lit]: you'll improve your grammar, you'll read authors you would never think of; writing to strict word counts so every word does count [no woolly ideas allowed]; writing to strict guidelines; when discussing a novel/short story you'll have many 'eureka' moments; and you'll study how the technical stuff works.

Yes, I wrote a 2500 word essay on the function of first and third person in Joyce's Dubliners - and I loved every moment! Learned a few tricks too. :D

Polenth
01-02-2010, 03:57 AM
You don't need a degree, but education is handy. I have a science background, which is great for writing science fiction.

Degrees can also help you get a good day job.

Terie
01-02-2010, 11:18 AM
As others have said, formal education isn't at all required for writing.

But it's awfully helpful for getting a day job, which you'll probably need, since the vast majority of writers don't make enough money to live on. When you walk into a bookshop, most of those books you see on the shelves were written by folks with day jobs. And in a tough economy like this one, whether you have a degree or not will often be the first cut when they're looking through resumes. (It's not fair, and I hate it that it's like that, but it's reality.)

So if you can get a degree, I think it's a good idea for this reason (and many others). But if your circumstances are such that you can't, that won't hold you back from being a successful writer. It's other things -- like the quality of writing and storytelling, not to mention persistence and patience -- that are more the determining factors of whether you'll get published; it's not have a degree hanging on your wall.

(I didn't finish my degree until I was almost 40, but I was getting bits and pieces published more than 10 years before that.)

Corinthianblue
01-02-2010, 04:55 PM
From what I've heard from my friends who have gone to college and pursued either English backgrounds or did that as a minor, it's mostly just reading other authors' stories from a wide range of subjects. So I do get that a degree is important, but not a necessity for publication. I can't go to college right now due to financial matters, but I will in the future. I was jsut curious what everyone thought.

Stew21
01-02-2010, 05:08 PM
Ray Bradbury educated himself at the library. Three hours a day for many many years.
And years later, he was given an honorary degree for it. :)

Education comes in many forms. Even if you can't afford to go to school now, the library is free. Take advantage of the resources you've got. Commit to never stopping the learning process. And read and write as often as you can.

Tara Stone
01-02-2010, 07:40 PM
None of the college writing courses have helped me nearly as much as the studying and practicing I've done on my own. Depends on who you are though. I know some people get a lot out of college classes. I tend to learn better on my own no matter what the subject, so it's no surprise that I work that way for writing too.

Jamesaritchie
01-02-2010, 08:18 PM
No, you don't need a 100K degree to be a successful writer. Hemingway never even attended college.

But this in no way means a degree is not an advantage. It is. Go down the bestseller list at any given time and check for writers with degrees. It's eye-opening. It's easy to say you can educate yourself to the same level. It's certainly possible, but the fact is darned few people manage to do so.

And, if nothing else, putting all your eggs in the writing basket is just not very smart. Just because this writer or that one succeeded without a college degree does not mean you will. If you're talking about earning a living as a writer, maybe one in a thousand succeed to some degree, and maybe one in ten thousand earn big money.

If the writing does fail, and you have no college degree, life is going to be far more of a struggle than it should be.

Richard White
01-02-2010, 11:15 PM
Besides, who pays 100K for a degree?

Admittedly, I went a while ago, but I spent less than $10K for a degree (over 5 years), and that was living in the dorms and going full time.

My latest associate's cost me $2600 as a part-time student.

If you want to go to school, there are less expensive schools that give damn near just as good an education as those high-priced ones and you'll spend a hell of a lot less time paying off any loans that way.

underthecity
01-02-2010, 11:49 PM
I know a man who's an extremely successful orthodontist. I was told his education, a doctorate, cost $100K. His first two years in practice paid off his student loans.

But then, he's not a writer.

I have a bachelor's degree in radio/tv engineering, but wish I had majored in something else, since I've been employed for almost one year now. (In two weeks. Wooo!)

I took the standard English classes in college and had one creative writing class.

I believe that a college experience will expose a person to many outside concepts: sociology, pyschology, philosophy, things someone might otherwise not study. Learning the basics of the various sciences while in college will help a writer in the long run. In mhy own book, I put in a few things I learned in college that I may never have used had I not gone to college.

My roommate was an English major. He might have his doctorate now. I know he teaches now, too. As far as I knew, he never had aspirations to be a writer.

Medievalist
01-02-2010, 11:59 PM
There's an interesting and stats-laden discussion of the Ph.D., with particular emphasis on the English Ph.D. in Harvard Magazine (http://harvardmagazine.com/2009/11/professionalization-in-academy).

Jamesaritchie
01-03-2010, 02:44 AM
Besides, who pays 100K for a degree?

Admittedly, I went a while ago, but I spent less than $10K for a degree (over 5 years), and that was living in the dorms and going full time.

My latest associate's cost me $2600 as a part-time student.

If you want to go to school, there are less expensive schools that give damn near just as good an education as those high-priced ones and you'll spend a hell of a lot less time paying off any loans that way.


Spending 100K on a degree is very, very easy these days. It's probably close to the norm for a college with any reputation at all. I know two of my kids cost just about 104K for four years, not counting books, not counting day to day expenses such as spending money, clothing, etc., and neither was in a Ivy League college.

And while the education might be as good at a much cleaper college, though I'd argue the point strongly, having the right college's name on the degree can make a HUGE difference with employers. The right university's name on a degree can pay back student loans almost before you notice you have any.

Corinthianblue
01-04-2010, 04:16 PM
Here in Albuquerque, we have University of New Mexico. A degree from there may as well be equal to one from the community college. The difference? About $50,000 in tuition. If my memory serves me (and it usually doesn't when it comes to real life), your first 2 years worth of courses at CNM (the community college) is about $20-30k. For the first 2 years at UNM, it's about quadruple that no matter what area you study.

Matera the Mad
01-05-2010, 05:48 AM
Education is something you pay a lot of money and time for. LEARNING is something you do.

Claudia Gray
01-05-2010, 06:35 AM
I paid $100K for law school, and am I practicing law? Nope.

I've often wished I had gone someplace cheaper for law school, or undertaken a different program of study altogether. But if I had the choice between doing it all again and having none of the education/experience/qualifications I have as a result? I'd do it all again.

Williebee
01-05-2010, 06:40 AM
Ditto much of what has already been said. Particularly, "Learning is something you do." One way or another, whether you make use of it or not, learning never ends.

Hey Shadow, you can find Legends of the Seeker episodes over at Hulu.com. (I haven't had time to watch any of it yet.)

Corinthianblue
01-06-2010, 12:36 AM
College degrees and publication have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

That said, being a well-rounded learned individual can only help in a writing career. But the most important thing to being published is just practice, practice, practice. Writing begets better writing.



I had to Google this, I'd never heard it before. Is it still on?

You'll have to search for it locally. Here in NM, it's channel 50.

JimmyB27
01-06-2010, 05:15 PM
Spending 100K on a degree is very, very easy these days. It's probably close to the norm for a college with any reputation at all. I know two of my kids cost just about 104K for four years, not counting books, not counting day to day expenses such as spending money, clothing, etc., and neither was in a Ivy League college.

And while the education might be as good at a much cleaper college, though I'd argue the point strongly, having the right college's name on the degree can make a HUGE difference with employers. The right university's name on a degree can pay back student loans almost before you notice you have any.
Holy moly, am I ever glad I grew up in the UK.

Corinthianblue
01-09-2010, 04:52 PM
Holy moly, am I ever glad I grew up in the UK.

I am curious. What is tuition like over there? Here, it's the worst business known to man besides law and insurance.

Libbie
01-09-2010, 07:20 PM
Do you even need a $100,000 sheet of paper (a degree) to push through your works? True, Mr. Goodkind waited quite a few years before writing Wizard's First Rule.

So what are your thoughts on education and publication?

Shit no, you don't. Who told you you need a degree to write fiction? He or she was lying to you.

Let me edit this post to clarify: Who told you you need a degree to have a wildly successful career as a fiction writer? He or she was lying to you.

There are lots and lots of creative people who are bigly and fatly successful and who are self-educated. Not only writers, but all kinds.