1. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    Creativity and Smarts

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by pippin1710, Apr 28, 2008.

    I have always had a huge imagination and still do and am really excited about writing the things i write. There is just one problem although im not a horrible student my marks in english are B's and was wondering if it is very important to be a educated writer or just a huge imagination?
     
  2. -NM-
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    -NM- Active Member

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    A grasp of the English language obviously helps, and English in school can help with that. But at the end of the day you can be a A* student and be crap at writing, or never go to school and be a good writer. It's not overly important.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, you do need a decent education, in re grammar and all the other rules 'n regs of using words... lots of people have huge imaginations, but only a rare few [by comparison] have the talent and the skills to be able to present what their imagination comes up with in a way that others will want to pay good money to read it...

    so, having the proper skills is even more important than having a good imagination... that said, lots of writers don't learn those skills entirely in school... you can make up for a so-so education by constant reading of the best writing by the best writers of all times, as well as the best current ones... and 'best' does not always mean 'most popular'... by constantly reading good stuff, you'll learn what fine writing looks/sounds/feels like and hopefully be able to turn out some of your own, one day...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Luckily writing and grammar are like drawing. Not everyone has an inherent talent for it, but almost anyone can learnt o be great at it with hard work and a little dedication. Write, read, write some more, read some more as often as you want or can and you'll see improvement.
     
  5. Mordecai
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    Mordecai Member

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    You don't need education to be creative. I dropped out of school in the ninth grade and have been traveling the world every chance i get and writing every chance i get. I may not have the best work out there, but alls you need for a good story is your imagination and inspiration. I learn from experience, not sitting in a classroom. But others may see it different.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    true... but that's not all you need in order to be able to write it well enough that total strangers will pay good money for it...
     
  7. pippin1710
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    pippin1710 Member

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    So whats best wait untell im finished more education or start writing my novel now?
     
  8. Mordecai
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    Mordecai Member

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    I forgot patience.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why not start writing it now? Educationis a lifelong pursuit anyway, and the practice you get in writing and revising your story counts toward it! :)
     
  10. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    I agree! start writing it now! that way, once you have the education, the hard part is out of the way - it's all revision and editing from there on.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Umm - that IS the hard part! :)
     
  12. the norse atlantic saga
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    the norse atlantic saga Member

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    My take on this is that it's like mathematics.

    You need to work hard at learning how to use the tools. Once you've mastered them, it's all creativity and ingenuity. It's much rarer to be clever and creative than it is to simply be able to use the formulas/methods/grammar/language you've learned.

    However, to be really genuinely good at something, you need to have both. One without the other is a dead end.
     
  13. UnknowingWriter
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    UnknowingWriter Member

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    I think that there is a writer in everyone, that keeps us awed at this world, and finally lows us to appreciate great works of literature. Only that many do not see the story within, or maybe are afraid to bring it out.

    I say that yes, an education helps, but my Great Uncle is the smart person I've ever known, and he left school in the 7th grade.
     
  14. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    I think what a writer also needs is perseverance. To write that novel to the end, whether it's good or not, at least you'll know that you can do it and you can finish.
     
  15. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I have a well rounded education. college, life.
    I love telling stories.
    Now I love writing them down.
    Problem.
    I write like I talk.
    No punctuation, use words that don't really exist.
    Solution.
    I get my husband who has great writing skills
    to read over what I write and put in the stuff I forget.
    then I go back over it and re-write it with his suggestions.
    When he writes letters for political things I read what he writes
    and put the human edge to his writing.
    That was a year ago and with the practice I have gotten much better
    at all parts.
    things can be learned with practice and a bit of help.
     
  16. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I've actually ended up with a system like Lessa. I can write fairly well, my grammar is suspect. The solution - Mrs. Rumpole who is by far the better writer of the two of us but who absolutely hates the idea of a rejection letter. I write, she cirtiques and corrects.
     
  17. Nodin
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    I used to review manuscripts being submitted to a publisher, and I was amazed at how the vast majority of authors used terrible-terrible-terrible English. Many publishers will not even finish reading the first paragraph of a manuscript if the English is poor. Regardless of a person's imagination, proper language is more important.

    I am currently thinking of two nonfiction books that were written by good writers, but the subject matter itself possessed many errors and inventions. Polished language sells; imagination alone does not sell. Another author who wrote of a similar subject likely had top grades in school, and though his manuscript was reasonably well written, he repeatedly contradicted his own claims, and he was not published.

    Mammamaia's suggestion is correct, that it is very useful to read many books of the same genre as yours, and learn how to mimic the rhythmic style of the best authors. Different voices are necessary for different genres, and what sells in one genre will not sell well in a different genre. Formal education alone is not enough; first-hand experience is also needed.

    And yes, by all means, start writing your novel now. A good book can take between one to several years to write and edit, and most beneficial of all is that you will begin getting the necessary first-hand experience of making errors and learning what works well.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i wouldn't say to 'mimic' anything, because you must develop your own style and 'voice'... but constant reading will help you to see how many different 'good' ones there are, so you can work on letting your own come out in a form that will be marketable...
     
  19. Nodin
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    You are correct, my use of "mimic" was not a good choice of words. What I intended was that there is a need to develop a style that is similarly structured as other authors' in each genre. As an example, the conversational writing style for novels is not acceptable for academic genres, and visa-versa.
     
  20. Mr Sci Fi
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    Mr Sci Fi Senior Member

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    As already said, education is a lifelong pursuit. Socrates said, "As for me, all I know is that I know nothing," which goes hand in hand with, "Employ your time in improving yourself by other men's writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for."

    So, while one can never stop learning, there's no point in waiting until you've got a Ph.D to write. I'm only a student and still have plenty to learn, but I'm still writing now because it's what I love to do. But the more I learn, the more material I have to work with.

    And it's also important to get an education outside of the classroom. "The school of life," so to speak. Try volunteering around the community and getting experience in fields you never knew anything about before, as well as material to write about.

    Travel, partake in different activities, jobs, whatever.. Get some material. My favorite Harlan Elison quote: "Writers take a tour in other people's lives." So tour some lives!
     

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