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lb 4 lb
10-03-2012, 10:46 PM
But I really want to bring my characters and story to life? I have what I feel is a strong book idea mostly due to the characters and their abilities. It would be a fantasy book that is pretty unique and exciting. The problem is I'm not a writer at all. I didn't go to college and I've never even read that much fiction. What I do have is a vivid imagination. I looked up some ghost writers for my project but the 2 companies I found (Penn & Arbor) were described as dishonest scammers on this site.

Basically my question is this. Should I just try to write the damn thing myself even though I have no writing ability whatsoever?

Sage
10-03-2012, 11:01 PM
Your post is coming across clearly, so your writing comprehension seems pretty good. The best way to learn to write a book is to write it (and the second best is to read a lot of them).

Sometimes the fun of writing the book is in having it for yourself. Even if you do nothing more than write it for your own enjoyment, that's quite an accomplishment, and you'll have it down on paper (or at least on a screen) for anytime you want to revisit that world and those characters. But that doesn't mean you can't also look into getting it into a publishable level and trying to sell it in the end.

Good luck and have fun!

caffeine
10-03-2012, 11:04 PM
Don't worry about all of that - just write it. Take that imagination, put it to work, and start writing. Only then will you know for sure whether you have any writing ability or not.

Cybernaught
10-03-2012, 11:06 PM
You don't need to go to college to write fiction. Reading a ton of it certainly helps, but it's never too late. Read a few books, gain an appreciation for language, and write your story.

jjdebenedictis
10-03-2012, 11:06 PM
Everyone starts out with no expertise in being a writer, so just launching into it is actually a good way to start.

The thing you have to understand is that it's really likely your first book won't be publishable. That's okay, because it's a learning experience. And there are other learning experiences you can use: hang out on writer's boards like this one, grab lots of books on how to write novels from the library and study them, and really work on getting better via practice, i.e. writing every day.

Also, start reading novels--you pick up a lot of information just by being exposed to it. Seeing how other writers do this will help you see how to do it.

That's how we all start out. You get better by learning and doing, i.e. by reading and writing regularly.

And keep in mind that even if your first book isn't publishable, there's nothing stopping you from re-writing it a few years from now when you've gotten much better at writing.

There is the option of paying a ghostwriter to do the writing on a work-for-hire basis, and you could then own the copyright for the book. However, I think you'd still have trouble publishing it (unless you self-published) because literary agents and publishing houses want to work with the person who has the writing ability, not the ideas. Plus, it's really quite expensive to hire a ghost-writer.

For those reasons, I'd recommend the first option: learn to write yourself. Start getting your ideas on paper.

Whether you went to college is absolutely irrelevant; I can tell by your post that your ability with English isn't too bad, so you can learn enough of the required skills to tell a story well. It will take work to learn to do it right, but there's nothing stopping you from chasing your dream of turning your ideas into books if you want to do it.

Best of luck with this!

Melville
10-03-2012, 11:11 PM
But I really want to bring my characters and story to life? I have what I feel is a strong book idea mostly due to the characters and their abilities. It would be a fantasy book that is pretty unique and exciting. The problem is I'm not a writer at all. I didn't go to college and I've never even read that much fiction. What I do have is a vivid imagination. I looked up some ghost writers for my project but the 2 companies I found (Penn & Arbor) were described as dishonest scammers on this site.

Basically my question is this. Should I just try to write the damn thing myself even though I have no writing ability whatsoever?

There are people here that will encourage you and say you should go ahead and write it, everybody has to start somewhere and all that. I would actually say that, too, except that you say you don't read much fiction.

In my experience, if you're not a reader, you're not going to make much of a writer.

College education doesn't matter for most fiction writers -- reading is what matters.

Without being a reader, how are you going to know if your ideas and characters have been done to death? How are you going to know anything about books at all.

Every human I've ever met, if pushed, will reveal a vivid, often awe-inspiring imagination. Almost everybody can imagine interesting characters and fantastical situations. Welcome to the human race.

Writers are something else. They take those same awesome characters and ideas and use craft to make them come alive. They understand story and words.

Maybe you can find someone who doesn't have any ideas of their own but has great writing skills. Then you two could pair up. The only problem is, in my experience, every single writer with great skills at crafting stories, has about a million ideas of their own, all just as good (if not better, at least to them), then yours.

I want to say: Go away.

But instead I'll say: start reading fiction. Read like it's nourishment and you're starving to death. Maybe one day you'll write something, maybe not. But meanwhile a whole new world will have opened up to you.

Susan Littlefield
10-03-2012, 11:47 PM
:welcome: lb 4 lb!

If you a story in your head, sit down and write it until you are finished with the story

Read everything you can get your hands on.

Read all the threads here at AW you can on how to write. They are usually stickied at the top.

Write, read, study, and repeat and repeat and...

You might surprise yourself about saying you are not a writer, and find that you really are.

LJD
10-04-2012, 01:48 AM
Ideas are a dime a dozen. Tons of people think they have great ideas. Not to discourage you, though.

It takes a while to develop good writing skills, but we were all beginners at some point. You don't need to have gone to college, but you do need to start reading lots of fiction.

welcome!

Stlight
10-04-2012, 02:10 AM
Glad to see you, I think you'll like it here.

Don't expect your first draft to be perfect or even good. The books you read are, usually, the results of many drafts. That's the fun part, you get do overs until you like what you've written.

KTC
10-04-2012, 02:11 AM
I'm a high school drop out. Just write the book. If it doesn't work out, write another one. It's your choice. When you write, you're a writer.

Tirjasdyn
10-04-2012, 04:32 AM
Start reading books both in and out of the genre you're in and start writing every day. That's how you become a writer. After that you have to learn to edit, to let others read the manuscript and how to rewrite.

People have started as late as in their 80's, so it's never too late.

Mr Flibble
10-04-2012, 04:52 AM
I wasn't a writer (I didn't even know the proper use of an apostrophe)

Until I started to write (and I learned)

Then I was.

The only thing stopping you is you.

A good storyteller can learn to write

dangerousbill
10-04-2012, 08:43 AM
Basically my question is this. Should I just try to write the damn thing myself even though I have no writing ability whatsoever?

Yes. Write it yourself. The first chapters will be crap, but slowly you'll find yourself improving with each new chapter. When you're done, there is the rewrite stage where you'll have a chance to apply your newfound skills to fix up the fist part of the book.

It can take anywhere from two to six novels to develop good writing skills. Now's a good time to start. You don't need special schooling, just a pen and paper, or computer, and friends like those on AW to help you as you go along.

Speed Racer
10-04-2012, 09:05 AM
I was in the same boat as you. I actually finished my WIP and my friend who is an awesome writer has helped, but reading the post from professionals at this craft has opened my eyes to what I can do. Mr. Fibble is right, a good storyteller can learn to write. I will learn, in fact I just posted my first piece in the SYW section. It is scarey, but the help I believe I will get is golden. If you believe in yourself, and you work hard to polish your craft, you will succeed. Good Luck.

Sydneyd
10-04-2012, 09:49 AM
Hello and welcome! I am usually one of those that always say, "Write it! Put your butt in the chair and write it!" But if what you have are characters whose stories you want to tell, we need to remember there are many different mediums.

I would say, try writing. But also remember that there are other avenues in which you can use to tell your character's stories.

Becky Black
10-04-2012, 02:56 PM
The only people who get others to write the story based on their ideas are either people with lots of money for ghost writers or Hollywood producers. Becoming either of those will take a lot more time and effort than writing the book.

James D. Macdonald
10-04-2012, 04:29 PM
Basically my question is this. Should I just try to write the damn thing myself even though I have no writing ability whatsoever?

Yes.

One becomes a writer by writing.

College is not necessary. If one of your problems is that you haven't read much fiction there's an easy and enjoyable cure.

So: From now on, every day read something and write something.

Poof! You're a writer!

Phaeal
10-04-2012, 05:50 PM
You'd probably be disappointed in what a ghost writer produces. It's your idea, and unless you're extremely close to an extremely like-minded ghost, all the shininess and nuances in your head aren't likely to transfer to someone else's work. It's hard enough for the experienced writer to get down anything like the original vision, to move from the infinite of the imagination to the limits of the page.

You learn to write by reading slowly, consciously, trying to figure out how the writer structures his story, uses the language, creates atmosphere and character and momentum. And you learn to write by writing.

Only you know whether your idea means enough for you to undertake all this labor.

gothicangel
10-04-2012, 06:41 PM
Not every writer here is writing for publication, just the sheer thrill of writing. If you enjoy it, go for it.

What is a writer? A writer is a person who writes, college degree optional. :D

August Talok
10-04-2012, 06:53 PM
Nobody is born a writer. Write and read. Go for it. The only way you will become a "writer" is by.... wait for it.... writing.

Jamesaritchie
10-04-2012, 10:31 PM
One becomes a writer by reading, not by writing. Writing is simply where you put what you learn from reading into play.

Filigree
10-05-2012, 12:23 AM
What James said. If you are not a dedicated, even obsessive reader, it will be much harder for you to write. Nobody comes to the table as a full-fledged, accomplished writer - it has to be learned. Reading is a relatively painless way to learn, but it takes time.

elindsen
10-05-2012, 08:27 AM
I always knew I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories. But I got it in my head, much like you seem to have, that writers are ubber-smart people. I didn't dare write because I thought I was too dumb. But ideas got the better of me and I sat and pumped out a novel in three weeks.

It was awful. Story-good. Craft-awful. But I taught myself the rules and how to do it. You can too. If you want it bad enough...

Mr. Anonymous
10-05-2012, 08:59 AM
I apologize if this is going to come off harsh, but in my experience, people who say this are just being a bit lazy.

They want to supply someone with ideas whenever inspiration strikes, and have that person do the hard, gritty work (inspiration or no inspiration) of actually writing a novel.

But unless you're James Patterson, that's not really an option for you.

The only thing you can do is--if you feel that strongly--write your ideas into a novel yourself. The only way to become a writer is to write. The only way to learn to write is to write (and read). Nobody is born a published writer.

Becky Black
10-05-2012, 06:15 PM
I apologize if this is going to come off harsh, but in my experience, people who say this are just being a bit lazy.

They want to supply someone with ideas whenever inspiration strikes, and have that person do the hard, gritty work (inspiration or no inspiration) of actually writing a novel.
...

I don't agree there. In some cases maybe, but not in all. More likely it's fear of being bad at it. Fear that what they write will be so terrible that if anyone sees it, they'll just laugh them to scorn for their presumption. I know that fear and shyness kept me from daring to write for years, however full of stories and characters my head was.

We don't like being bad at stuff. That's natural. Better not to try then to have people point and laugh - we think

lb 4 lb, in the end the only way to learn how to write, is by writing. You can read fiction. You can read about writing. You can take courses and read endless blogs of writing tips. But you've gotta get your hands inky eventually.

Actually you sound like a perfect candidate for NaNoWriMo... (of course in October, everyone I meet online or in real life seems to be me to be a perfect candidate for NaNoWriMo. ;) ) But it's a great way to break through that locked door with "writers only beyond this point" on it.
http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/whatisnano

icerose
10-05-2012, 06:37 PM
As others have said there are no pre-qualifications to being a writer except reading. You have to read to know how to write. You can write anyway without ever having picked up a book, but the quality will not be there and never will be until you become an avid reader. Also the average amount of words a writer writes before they actually become good is about 1 million words. Not every writer is that way, some are naturally more gifted and slide in earlier, but it takes a massive amount of work to become proficient enough to write for publication. If you want to write just for fun, have at it, but if you want to write for publication, grab a chair and hang on for dear life because this will most likely take years of dedication to accomplish.

ETA: Ghost writers cost money. A lot of it. You are asking them to dedicate a good 6 months of their lives on your "idea". Ideas are the easy part. Pounding it out to something good is on a whole other level. So you can absolutley go the ghost writer route, but you will be paying them several thousands of dollars to do so and this does not equal publication either. As a nobody (as in not famous) you will have a very difficult time getting it published unless it's truly awesome.

bearilou
10-05-2012, 07:51 PM
Basically my question is this. Should I just try to write the damn thing myself even though I have no writing ability whatsoever?

If you have a vivid imagination, if you have what you believe is a strong book idea, write it.

Why offer to share the money you might make with someone else? Dig in, learn the craft (you don't need a degree to do it) and write that baby.

Just a warning. The path will not be easy. There will be many times you will question the sanity of doing, many times where you will ask yourself 'what's the point?', many times where you will think yourself unable to do it.

When those moments of doubt arise, be a mule. Pin your ears back, put your head down and just keep writing, never allowing those things to dislodge you from the goal. Keep writing, keep learning, keep going.

Another warning. Once you finish, once you type, The End, your job is not over yet. However, celebrate in the fact that you have done the hardest part for many. You finished the novel.

NeuroFizz
10-05-2012, 09:57 PM
Some of the most important lessons learned in life are the ones where we say, "I'm never going to do that again!"

In my mind, that importance is eclipsed by the experience of trying something new and discovering a new creative passion.

Guess what you have to do to either learn that lesson or to discover that passion?

Paperback Writer
10-08-2012, 08:20 AM
You learn to write by reading slowly, consciously, trying to figure out how the writer structures his story, uses the language, creates atmosphere and character and momentum. And you learn to write by writing.

I love this post, this is what I was searching for today.

Mr. Anonymous
10-08-2012, 08:32 AM
I don't agree there. In some cases maybe, but not in all. More likely it's fear of being bad at it. Fear that what they write will be so terrible that if anyone sees it, they'll just laugh them to scorn for their presumption. I know that fear and shyness kept me from daring to write for years, however full of stories and characters my head was.

We don't like being bad at stuff. That's natural. Better not to try then to have people point and laugh - we think

Everyone is afraid of being bad at it. I have an agent and a publishing deal and I'm still just as afraid of being bad at it as I was when it looked like I'd never have an agent/get published.

If you believe in your ideas, then you shouldn't let this fear stop you. If you don't believe in your ideas, then why should anyone else?

Again, sorry to be harsh, but that's the way I see it.

Filigree
10-08-2012, 01:29 PM
I agree with Mr. Anonymous. To me, the fear of being laughed at or thought stupid is less terrifying than the fear of never trying to make a dream become reality.

bearilou
10-08-2012, 04:05 PM
Everyone is afraid of being bad at it. I have an agent and a publishing deal and I'm still just as afraid of being bad at it as I was when it looked like I'd never have an agent/get published.

To quote Neil Gaiman from his 2012 Commencement speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikAb-NYkseI):

The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It's Imposter Syndrome, something my wife, Amanda, christened the Fraud Police.

In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don't know why he has a clipboard, but in my head, he always had a clipboard) would be there, to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn't consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where I would have to get up early in the morning, and wear a tie, and not make things up any more.

So, like Mr. A said, even the professionals have this fear.