1. Kimberley
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    Kimberley New Member

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    Question on becoming a author.

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Kimberley, Jul 26, 2009.

    I'm age 15 (almost 16) and have been accepted to go to Sheffield College (CASHE Child Care Level 3), so I'm not doing A-Level English, nor have I ever studied grammar, been in a creative writing class, etc, BUT I do want to write when I'm older so advice wise would anyone suggest anything for me to get onto the right track? It's hard because I talked to my parents about writing and my dad said "There's one million people who want to be the next J.K.Rowling, but how many have done it?" So basically there not on my side and I'd like some professional advice in this.

    Any feed back would be fantastic -- also I've probably got a C in my GCSE's at most but can take them again in College for a B grade.
     
  2. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Read a lot of books. Not just for enjoyment, but for the structure. Look at how the author used the words to get a desired effect in the reader. Read critically for what works and what doesn't work.

    Read other things and analyze and critique them.

    Write a lot. Then re-read your own work with the same analytical, critical eye that you applied to the work of others.

    I won't say not to worry about grammar, because it is important, but there are different websites that can help you with that. (I think there's a list on this site somewhere.) From your above post, you obviously aren't illiterate. You have a fairly solid grasp of how to string words together, even if you don't know all the technical terms.

    Without all the plain and fancy hogwash, I suppose my advice is to read, analyze and critique, and write.

    Just my tuppence,
    RR
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    What grades you get in school hardly reflect your potential as a writer. Many writers did very badly in English classes. I was terrible in my creative writing class. On the other hand, I doubt if any of the others in that class have published a book, and I was recently accepted by a publisher. Just because you're not going to be the next JK doesn't mean anything. I think you're already on the right track. You're going to college to work in a field that many professional writers work in i.e. teaching/social work, which childcare is a part of. All you need to do is read when you have the time (I know what it's like trying to find time to read when you're a student) and write. Even the written assignments you'll get in school will be helpful. Don't worry about having never studied grammar. At least half of the time, when you study grammar it's giving names and explanations to things you already know. Anything you don't know, you'll pick up through reading, or paying attention corrections people make when they help you edit. This site is a great place to ask questions about grammar and anything you want to know about writing.

    Once you've done at least two or three reviews of others' work, post your work, and let us know if there is anything in particular you want us to look at. I don't do many reviews, but if you ask, I'll get right on it.
     
  4. Kimberley
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    Kimberley New Member

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    Thank you so much, both of you, the advice means a lot. Are there any books that you'd both recommend for me to study?
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The main benefit of A level English is that it teaches you to read deeply and analytically; these are skills that can be acquired on your own though. They also force you into reading canonised literary works, which is something that it would probably be of benefit to you to do on your own.
    I think the others have said pretty much all I would've said. The biggest thing for me, becoming a writer, was that shift from reading like a reader to reading like a writer, learning to look at structure and style and language, as well as the story-telling and character construction and things. Going into technical detail with things.
     
  6. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Great advice, I agree.
     
  7. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    Honestly, I've found few books that tell you 'how to write a book' that were much use. Strunk and White's Elements of Style, can help you tighten up your prose. Orson Scott Card's Character and Viewpoint is fantastic -- self-explanatory what it's about. Stephen King's On Writing has some good bits.

    But, just one person's opinion, reading fiction can help an aspiring novelist more than all the writing books in the world. You'll pick up some things almost by osmosis (figuratively speaking) and it can spark your own imagination.

    Your mileage, as usual, may vary,
    RR
     
  8. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    If what grades you get in school were relevant then I'd completely fail. I go to a Gaelic-medium school, and speak Gaelic at school, home, and around my friends. To be honest, the Internet is the only place I speak English. I don't bother what grades I get. I don't even have to. It has nothing to do with anything; writing is more command of language than skill with it (essentially where to put what words instead of just knowing a few long ones).

    It's not that they're not on your side; they're being realistic, and probably don't understand why those people fail. Consider how many of those million people are crap writers, and you don't have many left. The odds of you becoming the next J.K. Rowling (that is, despised by everyone in the Western Isles who are just too happy to take advantage of the Outdoor Access Code ;)) are still small, but nowhere near as small as what the 'one million people' analogy would make it seem.

    Writing would be a good place to start. If you have something to say, why not write it instead? Write about anything. Develop your own personal style. Until you've done that, you can't work out whether or not advice means anything to you. You can have every bit of advice that's been written, but if you don't know how it applies to you it's useless.

    I'd also recommend to write about a few boring things, as well as the stuff you want to write about. Just mundane details about what you'd do if you were a stereotype. Writing isn't always interesting; you often need to write the boring parts to get to the good parts, so knowing how best to manage this is important if you want to be proud of your work, or become the next J.K. Rowling.
     
  9. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Not everyone can be the next JK Rowling, but don't try to be her replica, just stick to your roots.
     
  10. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Agree with above
    My number 1 is commitment;you can't just start a novel and then be like, it's too crappy I give up, just give it your best because, the first draft is usually a complete mess anyways :p
    Persevere !
     
  11. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Don't try to copy J. K. Rowling. Instead, strive to write better than her.

    She is not that great of a writer just because millions of children clamer for her stories. I absolutely loathe her writing style. It is so stiff and boring, the antithesis of excitement.
     
  12. Kimberley
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    Kimberley New Member

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    I've never read her books, neither have my parents so I think it was more "pick a random author out of the sky".

    Thank you everyone you've really given me a boost with my writing :D
     
  13. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    By all means read, read and read some more. And when you find yourself enjoying a work, ask yourself "why?" What has the author done to engage you? Vow to add those dimensions to your own writing.

    Ask similar questions when the result is the opposite and you've thrown the book against the wall. How did the author lose you? Vow not to make the same mistakes to your readers.

    And write a lot. At least as many hours as you read.
     
  14. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    Be the next Kimberley - even if you choose not to write.

    There isn't much more to say than that.
     
  15. lovely
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    lovely Member

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    I would even suggest to keep reading when you hate a book, because an author who does something absolutely terrible is likely to make more than one mistake. You have a lot to learn from other people's mistakes. Besides, sometimes bad authors can salvage a book by its ending, and while I don't condone doing this, you can certainly learn a lot from it.
     
  16. *BK*
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    *BK* Member

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    Hey Kimberley. I think most of the advice has already been given out. The thing I was going to say would be to read a lot and study how other writers write. It might help you grasp concepts and improve your own creativity.

    I mostly wanted to stop by and say good luck. If you have a dream, stick to it and make it a reality. There will be obstacles but you can achieve anything you can conceive.
     
  17. fandango
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    fandango Member

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    I think most of the advice has been given, but I'll echo it anyway.

    Read and write. Read lots and write lots. Read and write with an analytical eye. And when you're reading with a critical eye, don't just read books, read everything. Next time you're in a restaurant, read the menu and try and understand why those words have been used, dissect the structure of the menu. Why does the box of my paper shredder say "Powerful motor shreds a single sheet in seconds"? Why have I used these words in this post, what words work, what order of words work, what doesn't? When you start to question language you start to understand its uses and you can start to re-create it effectively.

    Good luck. You're young, ambitious, obviously articulate, don't be disheartened by any criticisms, just go out and capture your dreams :)
     
  18. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Write consistently. The best advice I ever received was when someone pointed out that 80% of all attempted books lie somewhere in the writer's house unfinished.
     
  19. becca
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    becca New Member Contributor

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    Also, if you want to do an online/correspondence writing course, that awards pass/fail college credits, pm me and I will give you a link to a writing school.
     

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