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frankiebrown
09-22-2012, 07:42 AM
I am a college student, currently studying exercise science. My curriculum in exercise science hasn't done doodly-squat for my writing, but I was a journalism major once upon a time, and I know that helped to expand my "writer's consciousness" simply by forcing me to write about things that would have otherwise bored me to tears.

Just a matter of curiosity - what's the highest level of formal education you've endured, and has it helped to develop your writing?

quicklime
09-22-2012, 07:54 AM
PhD in bio, and yes, it helped, but not because it reinforced "good" writing habits.....it taught me something close to a parallel language, and being aware of that instead of changing everything completely was what helped.

Beachgirl
09-22-2012, 07:59 AM
Bachelor in Environmental Science. I think my experiences since then have helped my creativity more than the actual education. For instance, my current series takes place in and around the Everglades. I would never have even thought about using it as a location without having spent time working there.

CrastersBabies
09-22-2012, 08:00 AM
M.F.A. (fiction) and M.Ed. (Adult Ed / focus on narrative theory and transformational learning).

The M.F.A. helped, sure. The M.Ed. Naw. Mostly just project planning, curriculum creation, educational theory, etc. If anything, the M.Ed. has helped my writing by forcing me to write something truly dry and ultra-academic. It makes me crave creativity so that by the time I got home from class, I had to crank out some words for myself.

frankiebrown
09-22-2012, 08:20 AM
Awesome, thanks for the input y'all.
I guess if I'm honest with myself, my education in exercise science has done a lot to teach me about kinesiology and the mechanics of the body. It comes in handy during action scenes where the push and pull of muscle takes center stage.

Beachgirl
09-22-2012, 08:26 AM
Awesome, thanks for the input y'all.
I guess if I'm honest with myself, my education in exercise science has done a lot to teach me about kinesiology and the mechanics of the body. It comes in handy during action scenes where the push and pull of muscle takes center stage.

Action scenes aren't the only kind of scenes where that can come in handy! *wink, wink*

gothicangel
09-22-2012, 12:33 PM
I have a BA (Hons) in English and Scottish Literature. I think it taught me a lot by forcing me to widen my reading range, and discovered some amazing authors.

And I'm just starting a second undergrad in Ancient History and Classical Archeology. I'm currently studying Latin which is teaching me a lot about English grammar, and reading history books are teaching me a lot about human nature and psychology.

mccardey
09-22-2012, 12:39 PM
I didn't finish High School - but I read a lot.

Fallen
09-22-2012, 12:57 PM
I didn't finish High School - but I read a lot.

Always the best form of education.

BA (Hons)in English Language / Linguistics. It's helped, yeah, but once you've found your comfort zone with a particular genre, reading works in that area is your best source. :)

blacbird
09-22-2012, 01:05 PM
B.A., in English, M.F.A., in Writing from U. of Iowa, B.S. and Ph.D. in Geology from U. of Iowa. The latter two founded a career, the M.F.A. has, after many years, allowed me a part-time teaching position.

As for success in writing? I'm not sure Ray Bradbury even got a high school diploma. He . . . kinda . . . done . . . better than i have.

caw

Joanna_Kaary
09-22-2012, 01:14 PM
Many of my most intelligent and informed friends didn't graduate high school... and then I have friends who went to college and struggle to communicate even a simple idea. Reading definitely makes the difference. I finished high school and I'd say that school helped my grammar, but reading probably helped it more.

fireluxlou
09-22-2012, 01:16 PM
Currently a BA Honours in English with the O.U. which I've done more writing for than I ever did at college.

At college I did 3 BTECs at different levels in Art and that's just mainly lots of painting and projects and portfolio work.

I left school with 4 GCSEs at D and 2 at C grade. So I'm not the smartest academic but I've only hit my stride in academia writing in past 3 years.

fredXgeorge
09-22-2012, 01:29 PM
Finished secondary school and am nearing the end of a BA in History. It's really interesting, but I don't think it has affected my writing. That might change when do my Greek/Roman mythology subject next semester (actually the whole reason I chose my course) which is what I base a lot of my writing on.

Anninyn
09-22-2012, 02:09 PM
A levels. I am studying for a degree through the OU but thanks to finances it has to go on the back-burner until I can sort out money/loan for it.

I studied English Literature as one of my A levels and all it taught me was a deep frustration about reading too much into a book. Sometimes the curtains are just blue, you know? It's not always a hint towards the characters depression. But it did help me with deeper reading, which in turn helped me with adding depth to my own work.

Kathleen42
09-22-2012, 02:20 PM
Diploma in graphic design from an art college. It probably has helped the way I visualize settings. It definitely helped form my work ethic and ability to deal with criticism. Mostly, though, I've just always spent my spare time reading.

ARoyce
09-22-2012, 02:28 PM
PhD in English literature. I'm a professor at a community college--I got the degree with teaching in mind so the benefits for fiction writing were basically by accident. And I know high schoolers who are published novelists (including at least a few AWers) so higher education isn't a requirement. :)

Here's how mine has helped my writing (oh, and I didn't "endure" grad school...I loved it! I aspire to be a professional student :) ):
1) close attention to words and language--their nuances, their sounds, their implications
2) historical research (I write historical romances set in the time period that was my specialization)
3) a thick skin-- I'm fairly used to constructive criticism and happy to seek out feedback from people I trust to be critical but helpful.
4) a strong sense of organization and structure
5) strong reading and analytical skills

I'm pretty sure there are more...that's just a quick list.

seun
09-22-2012, 02:51 PM
Three GCSE's (English Lit, English Language and History); a GNVQ in Business and half an A-Level in English. For those not up to speed with the mid-nineties educational system, this equates to roughly bugger all.

My second book is published next March.

Bufty
09-22-2012, 03:14 PM
As a light aside re the usefulness of higher formal education.

Years ago, a relation with a PhD in Electrical Engineering borrowed my electric garden mower. He damaged the extension flex but re-wired it.

When I next went to use it I was astonished to see he put a male mains plug on one end and a male connector on the other.

I wonder if he was trying to tell me something -self prod :poke:

Archerbird
09-22-2012, 03:27 PM
Master in Bitch. I would say it helps - you learn a lot of psychology while doing that.

Six Alaric
09-22-2012, 03:33 PM
A-levels... sort of. I missed most of high school due to health problems, only ever got to attend it as a part timer at the final stages. My education was mostly down to home-schooling but there's no official levels or documents to that.

Studying English, media and art as A-levels did help teach me how to evaluate stuff beyond a level of just being entertained by it. Media studies in particular was a good look into how certain things appeal to different audiences. Hopefully that helps writing in some way - having some rough idea of what motivates people to relate and take interest in situations/characters/etc.

KateSmash
09-22-2012, 03:50 PM
BA in Anthropology, which is mostly nifty research information and whipping out of obscure trivia at parties. It does help with world building since I specialized in cultural anthropology, so I've got a bird's-eye sort of knowledge of how the fiddly bobs of micro and macro culture work and change around each other.

I also minored in creative writing, which taught me two things. One, I'm really bad at writing poetry. Two, workshops and criticism since the entire program was "write story, have it workshopped". Oh, I guess you could add the sting of rejection, since it was a needlessly competitive minor (that resulted in a lot of backbiting and broken friendship. Pffft). I might not write better because of it, but I am better for all the intangibles that go with writing.

Mr Flibble
09-22-2012, 03:51 PM
A levels. I am studying for a degree through the OU but thanks to finances it has to go on the back-burner until I can sort out money/loan for it.



Almost the same for me - I got my O's, then thought sod this for a game of soldiers and left school. I did most of an OU degree (in science/biology) before I had to give up due to ill health, but I don't think it's helped my writing any (at most, I don't have to research a few things cos I know them). I did it for fun anyway, rather than to get a degree.

What has helped? A lot of travel, a lot of observing people, experiencing as much as possible, reading a lot, writing a lot and a good grammar book.

Linda Adams
09-22-2012, 04:07 PM
You mean I had to pick a major? I wandered all over the place and ended up with an AA in General Education.

strictlytopsecret
09-22-2012, 04:10 PM
A Ph.D. in Psychology has been helpful to me in my writing -- in some expected ways, in others perhaps not as expected.

As you'd might expect, I did learn a good bit about different ways of being in the word, and about the ways various levels of psychopathology can disrupt life. That's pretty helpful from a character development standpoint.

Also expected, because I did a great deal of it, my academic writing was pretty sharp by the time my dissertation was done. Although that doesn't necessarily translate directly to writing fiction, it doesn't hurt.

What I really learned in grad school, and what was helpful in writing, is possibly a bit less expected. I learned to play by other people's rules in the name of achieving a goal. I learned that a Very Big Thing (i.e., a dissertation) can be completed bit by bit if you don't just chuck the whole thing in frustration, thinking there's no way you could possibly complete such a herculean task. I learned that sometimes, those with power to pronounce you "successful" will be looking out for your best interests, and sometimes they won't be.

I suppose the most important thing I learned in grad school which is helpful in writing fiction, is that there are many methods of getting-the-job-done, and that once you find the way that works for you, stick with it, even if it doesn't mirror the technique of those around you.

~STS~

firedrake
09-22-2012, 04:17 PM
BA and Post Grad Diploma in Town Planning.

But, mostly, life has helped me to be a writer. Life and reading a lot.

Priene
09-22-2012, 04:35 PM
BA in Economics and Econometrics and a Masters in Software. I'd do an Open University Arts Degree but it's way too expensive.

LilliCray
09-22-2012, 04:52 PM
Hm... interesting question. I'm currently working towards a bachelors in, probably, computer science. Has it helped my writing? Meh, too early to tell, but I'm terrible at drawing connections so I probably won't have the foresight to apply anything from my major to my writing life. :D

As a side note, I'm currently taking a creative writing course. Not too bad, although I've given up reading the text of our "textbook" and just read the assigned stories/poems/whatever, because the book itself is rabidly anti-commercial. And spells "rhyme" as "rime". I mean, really? 'Rime'? Really???

So. Yeah. I'm not sure any part of college has actually helped my writing, so far, but I don't think it's hurt, either.

LJD
09-22-2012, 05:31 PM
BSc (engineering). Endure is a good word for it.
It helped me get a good job. It did not help me directly with creative writing.

But I think university (and my complete inability to learn in lectures) made me good at self-teaching, which is useful.

Laura HK
09-22-2012, 05:55 PM
I have:

B.A. Japanese Language and Culture
M.A. Social Anthropology
M.A. Secondary Teacher Education

Studying other cultures has helped me tremendously, as I do a lot of world-building. Anthropology, in general, makes you think about the world and notice the little details you may have missed otherwise.

My teaching degree led to working in schools for awhile (at least until the economy tanked :( ) and helped me understand young people. I'm only 31, but there is still quite a difference between me and a 15 year old!

My Japanese degree helped with creating a language for one of my worlds. It also helped me understand the process of learning another language, or noticing dialects and slang more.

All in all, they helped. But if you just read a lot (except for maybe learning another language--that required me living in country that spoke it before I became fluent), and really try to understand concepts, you'll be fine too. :D

Amarie
09-22-2012, 06:02 PM
BA in International Relations
AA in Landscape Horticulture
Weird combination, I know.

History courses helped me learn how to do research

Lots of different life experiences helped more

iron9567
09-22-2012, 06:07 PM
I have a highschool diploma as my highest level of eduation.

Yeah your basic schooling has helped me in sorts to have a basic grab of the english grammer.However it has been my real world exsperiences that has helped my writing for the most part. I have always felt that no matter what kind of training or classes you take. You either got it or you don't regardless how many lasses you take. That's just my opinion on the matter.lol
thanks
the iron man

Susan Littlefield
09-22-2012, 07:41 PM
B.A. in Liberal Science and two year paralegal certification. My A.A. years ago was in Police Science.

Both paralegal school and obtaining my B.A. helped me to establish some good writing habits.

Fallen
09-22-2012, 07:55 PM
As a light aside re the usefulness of higher formal education.

Years ago, a relation with a PhD in Electrical Engineering borrowed my electric garden mower. He damaged the extension flex but re-wired it.

When I next went to use it I was astonished to see he put a male mains plug on one end and a male connector on the other.

I wonder if he was trying to tell me something -self prod :poke:

:eek: But a very, very good point there, Bufty ;)

crunchyblanket
09-22-2012, 08:13 PM
BA Creative and Media Writing. Greatly enjoyed it, but wish I'd studied Biomedical Science instead. I want to do an MA either in Comparative Literature or Linguistics, but I can't afford it.

angeluscado
09-22-2012, 08:22 PM
One-year legal office assistant certification. Other than the English class I had to take to refresh the basics and some word processing and Microsoft Office classes to learn the programs, I'm not sure if my schooling directly improved my writing. It didn't hinder it, either.

What my certificate did do was get me a job with a regular schedule - no more wondering on how many hours I'd be working or what days I would have off so I could finally find the time to write regularly.

aikigypsy
09-22-2012, 08:46 PM
B.A., in English, M.F.A., in Writing from U. of Iowa, B.S. and Ph.D. in Geology from U. of Iowa. The latter two founded a career, the M.F.A. has, after many years, allowed me a part-time teaching position.
...
caw

Wow. The M.F.A. from Iowa is supposed to be the best of the best. Doesn't speak well for the job prospects of people with MFAs!

My BA is in a self-designed major which included a lot of anthropology and some linguistics -- probably helpful. Then I got an M.Div., which was interesting. I think that in the long run it will help my writing, but I haven't figured out how to apply it yet. It gave me some good public speaking/reading practice which will be awesome if I ever get up in front of a microphone again. I also did a year of architecture school, which has helped me with some of my recent non-fiction writing gigs, and I left with a good collection of colored pencils and stuff, which are nice for doing plotting boards, sketches of fantasy cities, etc.

Along the way, I took some classes at Harvard, which left me feeling confident that my analytical writing skills were up to snuff. But for creative writing, and life, there's no substitute for the ability to self-teach.

CrystalCierlak
09-22-2012, 09:06 PM
BA in Art and currently working on an MA in Media Psychology. I'm considering going into the PhD program (same study) after.

I would say the art degree has helped with cover design and visualization, but those are skills you can (and I did) learn without an art school education. The media psych education has yet to prove if it is helpful. I'm using that knowledge to help promote my book but it's too early to tell/see any metrics.

Jamesaritchie
09-22-2012, 09:45 PM
I am a college student, currently studying exercise science. My curriculum in exercise science hasn't done doodly-squat for my writing, but I was a journalism major once upon a time, and I know that helped to expand my "writer's consciousness" simply by forcing me to write about things that would have otherwise bored me to tears.

Just a matter of curiosity - what's the highest level of formal education you've endured, and has it helped to develop your writing?

Journalism and English major here. Journalism is what made me a much, much better writer. The first couple of years, eh, not so much, but once we really got into human interest, and even humor columns, I learned more in six months than I had my entire life before journalism. . .and I was already a published short story writer and novelist before starting journalism.

Manuel Royal
09-22-2012, 10:55 PM
Dropped out of high school; GED. Went to a university and three colleges, getting at least some hours each year from 1980 to 1988, with a little in 1990. Failed to earn a degree because I didn't stick with anything and didn't get the papers done. I'm a terrible student.

I'd say my personal reading has affected my writing more than any official matriculation has.

ETA: If I had it to do over, I think I'd major in Journalism or English. Math was the wrong choice.

frankiebrown
09-22-2012, 11:27 PM
Journalism and English major here. Journalism is what made me a much, much better writer. The first couple of years, eh, not so much, but once we really got into human interest, and even humor columns, I learned more in six months than I had my entire life before journalism. . .and I was already a published short story writer and novelist before starting journalism.

I probably should have stuck with journalism. Some of the things I had to write about just made my stomach turn, though... Sure, I got to write articles about the wars in Africa, but I also had to write one on Paris Hilton's sex tape. Not fun.

WeaselFire
09-23-2012, 01:00 AM
First, everything helps you become a writer and improve as one. Second, I have an MBA, which makes me better understand the business side. In addition, writing 20-30 pages of research work a week and several hundred pages of a thesis are always a good experience.

Jeff

Richard White
09-23-2012, 01:07 AM
Bachelors in History (medieval/renaissance emphasis), Minor in Criminal Justice Administration (focus on criminal law) way back in the day.

Since then - Trained as a linguist, analyst and cryptanalyst in the U.S. Army. Studied Czech, Slovak, Modern Standard Arabic and Arabic-Syrian. Went to a dozen or so other schools in the Army before getting out.

Finished my AA in English a few years ago as a warm-up for going for my Masters. Currently studying at Bowie State for my Masters in English.

Honestly, the History, Criminal Justice and the Army training helped my writing more than the English has. What the English degree is doing for me is forcing me to broaden my reading habits more than I already thought I knew, (which is a good thing).

I use the other degrees and experiences to improve my writing. I hope to use the English degrees to do some adjunct faculty teaching in the future and into retirement. I may pursue my Doctorate once I retire -- it'll keep me out of the house. *grin*

blueobsidian
09-23-2012, 01:20 AM
I've completed a BA in English, a certificate program in Baking and Pastry Arts, and most recently a J.D. If I go back to get any more education, it'll be a Master's in Library Science. If I suddenly won the lottery, I think I might stay in school part time for the rest of my life. There is so much stuff out there to learn!

That said, law school was terrible for my fiction, blogging, and web content. I didn't realize how much it had affected my other work until an editor told me my blog posts needed more personality. Whoops! It's been an interesting challenge to learn when to use my own voice versus a more professional one (not to mention the fact that everything I do seems to require a different style guide).

While the education didn't help my work in a technical sense, I think the experience and first-hand knowledge of several different career paths is an asset. It's all churning around in my big mess of a brain, helping me find new inspiration to write the next thing.

CrastersBabies
09-23-2012, 01:39 AM
Diploma in graphic design from an art college. It probably has helped the way I visualize settings. It definitely helped form my work ethic and ability to deal with criticism. Mostly, though, I've just always spent my spare time reading.

I find this type of comment fascinating. I've been told, for example, that writers should take at least one acting class because it teaches them a lot about physical expression. Same with a drawing class. I can imagine what graphic design would do to describing and noticing certain details. You'll have to elaborate!

Richard White
09-23-2012, 01:48 AM
I find this type of comment fascinating. I've been told, for example, that writers should take at least one acting class because it teaches them a lot about physical expression. Same with a drawing class. I can imagine what graphic design would do to describing and noticing certain details. You'll have to elaborate!

I'm not an artist, but I find myself falling back on some techniques I learned in my Intro to Film class - especially about storyboarding - when I hit a snag in my writing. Sometimes sitting down and drawing out the scene helps me see where things are dragging or whether what I'm describing is even physically possible.

I've also acted out a few of my fight scenes with my kendo or fencing partners just to be sure what I'm describing looks as "cool" as I think it does or if it's just a flight of fantasy.

This also comes in real handy when I was doing comic books. By doing storyboarding while I'm working on the script, it keeps me from overloading panels with word balloons. I draw out the scene, even in stick figures and blobs for background items, and then see how much negative space will be left for the balloons. This tends to make my artists very happy with my scripts - especially when we're first starting to work together.

Unimportant
09-23-2012, 02:02 AM
Just a matter of curiosity - what's the highest level of formal education you've endured, and has it helped to develop your writing?
PhD in the biological sciences.

It didn't have any effect on my prose at the basic English level (punctuation and grammar stuff); it increased my vocabulary in ways that are largely useless for writing fiction; it increased my knowledge of biological and physiological processes, some of which I've been able to use in my fiction.

chicgeek
09-23-2012, 02:16 AM
I dropped out of high-school after 9th grade. Decided not to try for a 4 year University (too much money, and I didn't exactly have a transcript). Instead I opted for UCLA's Writer Extension program (while working a part-time job). While it's not cheap, pe se, it's a lot cheaper than a university (and I did have a bit of a fund). They even offer classes online, so you don't have to live in L.A. (I took one onsite course... but I preferred online).

The courses are all about hands-on learning. They force you to write, to meet deadlines, and to get/give feedback. I learned a lot about novel structure/planning (more than merely churning out pages), and was exposed to some great literature, too (both good fiction and books on writing), stuff I might not have sought out on my own.

I also found a wonderful instructor who does private consultation outside the UCLA system. She's become something of a mentor. And my first (onsite) class turned into a writing group I met with for 2 years. That helped me a ton. I've also kept in touch with a lot of my fellow online students. They've become my beta readers.

I know for a fact that I wouldn't be nearly as far along had I not made that choice. I'm just happy the alternative was available. Other than that, I read a whole lot. And make liberal use of the internet when there's something I'm unsure about. That's how I found AW, actually.

amergina
09-23-2012, 02:27 AM
BA in Creative Writing (Carnegie Mellon)
MFA in Writing Popular Fiction (Seton Hill)

They both helped, in different ways. I'd say the MFA, since it focused on genre novels and also introduced me to people writing and selling in the field, did more to solidify my novel writing skills and help me learn the business end of writing than the BA.

If I had the time and money, I'd get a PhD in Literary & Cultural Studies, but it would be *such* a vanity thing at this point. I have no need for a PhD for either carrier (tech writing and fiction writing). And I'm old-ish.

rugcat
09-23-2012, 02:33 AM
College dropout.

Hey, it was the sixties, it was almost expected.

However, I did go to a rigorous academic high school. (History term paper required, minimum 25 pp typewritten, only original sources allowed -- no secondary sources like books about the subject. Pre-internet, mine involved much research at historical societies.)

My education there gave me a priceless grounding in grammar, punctuation, the ability to comprehend text, and literary criticism. As a writer, it gave me a leg up, I believe.

We even had to learn to write what was called a precis. Totally useless I thought -- until later in life I had to compose the dreaded synopsis.

That education gave me the tools to (somewhat) objectively judge my own writing.

But most of my writing influences came from those childhood nights under the covers with a flashlight, covertly devouring one book after another.

kkbe
09-23-2012, 04:01 AM
BFA, majoring in graphic art; MA in elementary education. I always enjoyed writing but considered myself an artist and earned my living as such, then decided to become a teacher of little kids, which I loved. When I couldn't teach any more, I started writing. I think writing saved me. It's almost as if that part of me had been on pause, waiting until I needed it. . .

Edit: I never answered the question.

aa1888
09-23-2012, 04:16 AM
Doing Oil and Gas, but reading will do you the most benefit.

Writing you do at education level and writing novel are completely two different types of writing.

The only help will be for if instances if i was doing a novel on natural resources(oilandgas) then it can become handy.

I sometimes wish i studied medieval history, might benefit from it. But again i read alot so through reading novels i learned alot about medieval history i.e ken follett.

Ruth2
09-23-2012, 04:33 AM
College dropout. But I read voraciously. When I'm not writing I can go through two-three books a day.
I wish I had a doctorate in something useful, but the older I get, the more "ooh, squirrel!!!" I become.
What's helped the most is reading good literature, although anything is good if it makes me see the world through different eyes.

buz
09-23-2012, 04:34 AM
B.A. in archaeology.

Helps with generating ideas...:D Human beings are pretty fascinating, when you look at them more closely. (Then of course you can look TOO close and start measuring unmarked, contextless rocks and it goes right back to being boring as hell.)

I learned to read faster. Where "read" means "skim through the bullshit to get to the point so I can write the damn paper already."

Also, in college, I'm fairly certain I went a little bit insane. Just a little. Not in a clinical way, more figurative, more ill-defined. I'd always been a bit weird, but I became a quasi-hermit since I didn't fit in at all with college culture, and my brain sort of...degraded? Twisted? Hm. Something. I don't know that this has "helped" with the writing, but I'm fairly sure that most of my writing (when I use my own "voice" rather than fabricating one) doesn't sound like anyone else's...which can be a good thing. (It can also be bad. Particularly if it makes no sense.)

It also made me think being an archaeologist was not a good plan. I might never have seriously considered writing a novel if I had gone to grad school...

Who knows. *shrug* It is now but a memory....all alone in the mooooonliigghht...

(PS. As others have said, your reading habits matter more than your education :D )

Lyxdeslic
09-23-2012, 05:03 AM
10th grade dropout. Went straight to work, living, traveling, reading.

Learning.

I read The Count of Monte Cristo when I was sixteen and thus began my thirst for knowledge.

That said, I respect anyone dedicated to attaining a higher education. That shit ain't easy.

I don't know that writing fiction well is something any institution can teach with absolute effectiveness. I've learned many things, many places, and I can honestly say AW, if used properly, can provide all the tools one needs. Whether one can effectively wield them is another thing.

Lyx

mikesignor
09-23-2012, 05:37 AM
I earned a BS in Math. A couple of the electives were particularly relevant--Science Fiction and Creative Writing.

I next earned an MBA. I gained some helpful background knowledge.

My Ph.D. in Information Systems probably helped the most. I wrote more for that degree than I did for the other two put together. The dissertation process taught me a lot about dealing with criticism of my work.

Kathleen42
09-23-2012, 07:02 AM
I find this type of comment fascinating. I've been told, for example, that writers should take at least one acting class because it teaches them a lot about physical expression. Same with a drawing class. I can imagine what graphic design would do to describing and noticing certain details. You'll have to elaborate!

I've also heard that about acting classes. Would love to be in a position to take one.

I'm not sure how it is for other people, but when I'm writing a scene, I tend to picture the setting in vivid detail. I have one scene in my current WiP that takes place in an abandoned greenhouse. I know how much dirt is caked on the windows,what the light looks like at different times of day, the texture of the wooden table in the corner, how yellowed the old newspapers on the floor are, etc and I know all that without making an effort to really think about the setting. It's possible, though, that it's like that for everyone.

Bookewyrme
09-23-2012, 07:25 AM
MA in Classics and Ancient History. It absolutely helped, but I write historical fiction, so I developed several fictional-plot ideas from things I ran into during my course-work and dissertation research. But it also helped with the whole "forcing yourself to finish things even if you're no longer as excited as you were when you began" part of writing.

absitinvidia
09-23-2012, 07:40 AM
MA. My BA is from a liberal arts college, where we did a lot of reading, discussion, and writing, so I would say that was extremely helpful in my writing and editing career.

Also, as others have said, graduate school taught me a lot about working to deadlines and collaborating with others who have different writing/editing styles to mine.

Sheila Muirenn
09-23-2012, 07:42 AM
Bachelors in Biology and in English. I work in Environmental Science. And I do a lot of technical writing for my job.

Both formal education and 'informal' reading have helped me know about a lot of different 'things,' which helps me write about a lot of different...things!!!

My education introduced me to a little too much writing (as opposed to lazy reading) so I continued.

(Extensive) formal training in ballet and music created artistic structure. All the other stuff, informal drawing, improved dance, etc. allows me to combine words and story in the same way.

It's all the same. :)

GiantRampagingPencil
09-23-2012, 08:37 AM
PhD in philosophy, followed by B. Ed.

It's been useful. Totally different styles of writing, but being trained to look for inconsistencies and to make sure idea flows from idea to idea naturally has helped.

As another poster has said, it helps train you to deal with criticism, too.

Although, I've noticed a somewhat negative side-effect. Sometimes I'll ask for advice, then get criticized for arguing with the advice. Usually, I end up taking it, but first I have to play devil's advocate to the devil's advocate until I can really see in which way my position is indefensible. I don't accept until I can understand.

CrystalCierlak
09-23-2012, 08:39 AM
College dropout. But I read voraciously. When I'm not writing I can go through two-three books a day.
I wish I had a doctorate in something useful, but the older I get, the more "ooh, squirrel!!!" I become.
What's helped the most is reading good literature, although anything is good if it makes me see the world through different eyes.

I am "ooh, squirrel!" every day (more like "something shiny!!!). It helps that my grad program is something I'm really interested in and already have some proficiency in.

Anna Spargo-Ryan
09-23-2012, 01:02 PM
Bachelor of Journalism. Transferred from a Bachelor of Business (Marketing). Neither have really helped me write, but they have both taught me to think.

frankiebrown
09-23-2012, 04:59 PM
PhD in philosophy,

I wonder, does your PhD in philosophy make your character more introspective? Or do they rebel against it and become angsty teenagers out of spite?

Oldbrasscat
09-23-2012, 05:07 PM
Bachelor of Science in agriculture (animal science), diploma in emergency medical technology, Bachelor of Education, Certificate in French Language.

They all had something to teach me, although the B.Ed. pretty much taught my entire class how to write using as many extraneous words as possible. Extra points for words of 4 syllables or more, or of obscure latin derivation. I learned a lot about human nature, though, and point of view. Most of what I've learned since, in the ambulance or in dealing with parents, has been more useful.

writerjohnb
09-23-2012, 06:12 PM
You either got it or you don't regardless how many lasses you take. That's just my opinion on the matter.lol
thanks
the iron man

I always thought it was whether you got it or you don't that determined how many lasses you take.

I have only a high school education, but I've been all around the world (navy) and that was an education in itself. I credit my writing ability to elementary school nuns who made me near perfect in spelling and grammar and to a writers group that I attended for 12 years. They taught me the tricks of writing fiction.

JohnB

Little Anonymous Me
09-23-2012, 09:22 PM
High school diploma. Industriously slogging through for the BS. Hopefully it shall be continued on to a Ph.D.

I'm actually supposed to be doing HW right now...oh, procrastination, thy name is AW. :cry:

Jamesaritchie
09-24-2012, 09:01 PM
Bachelor of Journalism. Transferred from a Bachelor of Business (Marketing). Neither have really helped me write, but they have both taught me to think.

I'm always amazed when a Journalism major says Journalism didn't help them with fiction writing. It was the best training ground I found anywhere, including some very fancy creating writing courses.

GiantRampagingPencil
09-25-2012, 01:20 AM
I wonder, does your PhD in philosophy make your character more introspective? Or do they rebel against it and become angsty teenagers out of spite?

I can't really say what influence it has on characterization. If it has an impact, I would be on world-building. I do know that it gives me more awareness of how people thought differently at different points in history. (History of philosophy was my thing.)

GiantRampagingPencil
09-25-2012, 01:21 AM
I'm always amazed when a Journalism major says Journalism didn't help them with fiction writing. It was the best training ground I found anywhere, including some very fancy creating writing courses.

I see fiction in the news all the time.

Anna Spargo-Ryan
09-25-2012, 02:00 AM
I'm always amazed when a Journalism major says Journalism didn't help them with fiction writing. It was the best training ground I found anywhere, including some very fancy creating writing courses.

How interesting! Working as a journalist has actually been to the detriment of my fiction writing.

tamara
09-25-2012, 02:16 AM
I was a journalist for a while, but I followed it up by marketing and PR, and then graduate school, which means I can make up well-researched stuff on deadline. :)

I started out as an engineering major, have a BA in journalism (minor in environmental science), some graduate work in environmental policy, and an MA in American history (emphasis on social history of the 19th century). Academically schizophrenic much?

GiantRampagingPencil
09-25-2012, 05:58 AM
I can make up well-researched stuff

I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

NeuroFizz
09-25-2012, 06:29 AM
Ph.D. in Biology (Neurobiology); twenty-four years on faculty of a PAC-10 (now PAC-12) university; currently Professor Emeritus at same university; took endowed professorship at a smaller university with an excellent Marine Biology program (current); Grass Fellow in Neurobiology (Marine Biological Lab, Woods Hole); Fulbright Scholar (University of St. Andrews, Scotland); Guggenheim Fellow; just finishing term in presidency of a major biological research society (elected by peers).

Publishing ~80 scientific (peer reviewed) articles (and counting) has helped a bit with fiction writing, but running my own research lab, initially at the Research I university level and now maintained at that level at my current institution, necessitated a quick and thorough development of self-discipline and research-type creativity. Successful grantsmanship throughout helped as well. This will be tested as my goal is to get pubs in triple figures before they carry me away from my lab on the stretcher.

Didn't start writing fiction until a dozen years ago, and had to enroll in the University of Absolute Write to re-train in this very different writing craft.

ghost
09-25-2012, 11:21 AM
BA in psychology and Creative Writing. MA in Creative Writing.

I'd say it helped me and not just with writing. My MA focused on the business side of publishing and I made a lot of connections.

kuwisdelu
09-25-2012, 11:41 AM
BS in Mathematics and Statistics; MS in Applied Statistics. Currently working on my PhD in Statistics on an NSF GRFP fellowship, developing methods for analyzing imaging mass spectrometry datasets.

If anything, it's hurt my writing by sucking up time I could be spending writing. At least, that's how I feel now. I suspect the skills gathered in writing abstracts and grant applications will help when query time comes.

blacbird
09-25-2012, 12:14 PM
Currently working on my PhD in Statistics on an NSF GRFP fellowship, developing methods for analyzing imaging mass spectrometry datasets.

Oh yeah? Well, I hit rocks with a hammer. So there.

caw

kuwisdelu
09-25-2012, 12:32 PM
Oh yeah? Well, I hit rocks with a hammer. So there.

I got into my field so I wouldn't have to do manual labor. :tongue

Norman D Gutter
09-25-2012, 04:12 PM
BS and MS in civil engineering.

Has it helped me in my writing? I think yes, in that: 1) I learned analytical thinking, which has to be good, and 2) I believe all education benefits the mind, and what benefits the mind must benefit writing.

Lissibith
09-25-2012, 10:22 PM
I have Bachelor's degrees in Both English (critical theory) and journalism/mass comm. The English degree helped some, but honestly? I think the journalism degree and subsequent work in the field has hurt my ability to write creatively - at least without it sounding like a news article.

acockey
09-25-2012, 11:20 PM
B.A. in English with a creative writing minor... There seems to be an army of English majors here, though I wish I had picked a Communication major now. the writing workshops really helped me shape my writing faster than if I had slogged through it myself.

The acting class thing works to a certain extent, more so than anything you learn good body movement and emotions.

espresso5
09-26-2012, 08:42 AM
PhD in bio. It didn't really do much for my writing, but it helps generate ideas and to put a realistic spin on scifi stories. I've probably learned more about writing from actually writing and looking up answers to questions that arise.

CQuinlan
09-26-2012, 04:50 PM
B.A. in journalism and another in sales and marketing.

Namatu
09-26-2012, 05:58 PM
BA in political science. It hasn't helped me in my writing nearly as much as my job as an editor, but it has informed my writing, since I often gravitate toward political settings.

Eddyz Aquila
09-26-2012, 06:34 PM
High school, finished the International Baccalaureate. Finished my first novel during 12th grade - IB definitely helped.

LeslieB
09-28-2012, 07:21 AM
I have a B.S. in Forensic Science. And since I didn't start writing until I was in my thirties, I don't really see any connection between my 'day job' and writing. And to be honest, I think of writing as a skill/creative effort rather than a body of knowledge, so I wouldn't expect there to be any connection.

rwm4768
09-28-2012, 08:08 AM
I have a BA in Economics with a minor in political science. I'm looking to go on to a masters, then probably a PhD. So far, I wouldn't say it has had any affect on my writing. I have written projects with political and economic themes, though, so maybe there's something there. I took a creative writing class, but I didn't find it very useful.

akaria
09-28-2012, 09:22 AM
College dropout. I was 2/3 of the way through a Journalism degree. Fiddled around with Continuing Ed classes in graphic design. Many, many years later I'm working on a certificate in ASL (American Sign Language). The past year and half learning ASL has been more useful to my writing than anything that came before. It's taught me how to think in pictures instead of words which has really helped scenes come alive. Visualization is so important in ASL. More important than using the right word. I find that when I'm stuck on a scene I start describing it in ASL and all the obsessing over word choice disappears. The characters do their thing and then I'm over the hump. I recommend it for any writer. It's awesome!

Jones()
09-28-2012, 09:59 AM
Law school actually helped my writing a lot. Given the incomprehensible writing that lawyers often turn out, I can see why that might be hard to believe. But it's true.

In law school 100% of your grade for most classes depends on a final examination which is at least 50% long-essay. The bar exam works (roughly) the same way. Professors and bar examiners do not take the time to try to decipher meaning (if they don't understand it, you just fail), so law students are taught a method of simple, clear expository writing. Anyone who writes non-fiction probably uses some form of the same method.

I don't use that method when I write fiction, of course. But another thing you learn in law school is how to find case law and analytical material that supports an argument or speaks to a particular set of facts. Case law can provide a lot of inspiration for fiction because every legal case springs from some real, particular event involving real people. Anyone who writes detective stories would benefit from thumbing through criminal case law. Anyone who writes drama should read an estate case every now and then (you'd be amazed how crazy families can get over a dead relative's money). Anyone who writes YA should check out some family law or juvenile crime cases. If you skip over the legal issues, the facts will give you some great ideas, I think. And it's better than reading newspapers because courts often have to consider odd little details that a journalist would have to leave out.

So yeah, I'd say formal education has contributed quite a bit to my writing.