1. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Writing Portfolios

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by J.H, Jun 9, 2010.

    Hello everyone, I'm new here but I hope you don't mind me asking a question.

    I was just wondering if writers use portfolios in the same way say a graphic designer would?

    I made one myself but I feel it's probably not how people would usually construct a writing portfolio. It can be seen here.

    If anyone could help me out or point me out in the right direction of some professional writers portfolios that would be great.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you're a copy writer, or tech writer, something like that where you'd be applying for a staff position, a portfolio may be helpful. But if you are writing fiction or poetry, all that matters is the piece you are submitting. If you have publihed other writing in the same genre, you can mention them in your query letter, but you won't need a real portfolio.
     
  3. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Okay thanks for that. I prefer fiction but I do a bit of everything so I guess I'll stick with the one I've got.
     
  4. Janus
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    Janus Member

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    I would keep a portfolio of sorts. A sample of short stories, maybe some character sets and so on. No matter what it is, if you show you ability to wrote different styles it cannot hurt.
     
  5. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    I've got a writing portfolio of sorts; mostly short stories and some character sets.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog is right... it's of no practical use unless you're applying for a job as a writer, or editor...

    otherwise, all you would do is mention relevant paid writing credits in your queries...
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think your portfolio looks really great, J.H.

    I encourage my students to compile a portfolio for them to keep track of what they have achieved and how they are developing. To me this is one of the main reasons for keeping a portfolio, since as has been said, for most submitting usually a portfolio is not required. It does seem to me that could be useful for you to have this page to direct people to, though.

    A portfolio can make a difference in applying for some courses and jobs. I took a portfolio when I went for my interview at The Observer newspaper years ago, and my daughter is compiling a portfolio that contains scenario and short story writing as well as graphic design for her interviews in August, since she wants to study visual communications design, which includes scenario writing for games, adverts etc.

    I hope you don't mind if I show your fantastic work to a few of my students as a good example? No plagiarising, I promise!
     
  8. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Thanks for the response madhoca I really appreciate it. Half of what is on my portfolio is paid work so I thought it could be handy to show a few things.

    I would love for you to use my portfolio as an example! Please do let me know what the students reaction is :)
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i should have included it's useful if you're setting up a freelancing business, since you should have samples of your work on your website...
     
  10. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Thanks, I was thinking of doing this hut I literally wouldn't know where to start.
     
  11. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Well, if you aren't sure where to start, break the problem down.

    Your goal is to have a portfolio that a) is useful to you, b) is organized so you can keep track of stuff with it for years to come, and perhaps c) can be seen by others.

    A) is easy enough. Make list of what you've written, and where you've sold it. Another list of stuff you've written but haven't yet sold. (Finished material, not stories you're still working on or which are half-finished, since that isn't really professional. Who wants to see an unfinished painting advertised in an art gallery?)

    B) If you have several files that are easy to update, that takes care of B. Mark your calendar and update your file every year, or every six months or however often. Maybe more frequently if you're the sort of writer who finishes a short story every day or two.

    C) takes the most time. You will want to ensure that your excerpts (if you post any) are easy to read, and formatted nicely for internet-eyes. (For example, the link you gave has an excerpt of The Mariner which looks like a block of text. You probably want to add a line of white space between paragraphs to fix this.)

    Some writers have websites in which they post pictures and links of books and anthologies they've recently had published -- see kriswrites dot com for an example of how you can use a sidebar to advertise without getting in the way of shorter examples of writing, or blog posts. And some writers have spent a little time, after they've been published a few years and have a following, formatting a few pieces for ebook readers.

    For example, say you published a story eight years ago, got good feedback but haven't republished it. Why not format it, price it cheaply (a buck or two), and then put a little blurb on your site? In particular, award-winning stories (and ones that are nominated, or earned Honorable Mention) can be used that way, to attract readers who aren't terribly familiar with your work but who know about the contests.

    Or you can just have a Bibliography page listing all your works, and maybe links off the side to Amazon or a chain bookstore if the books are available there.

    Note: I haven't done this myself yet, as I'm not yet published and have only won awards in a small on-campus writing contest. But if I were to set up my own site, I would probably have a brief biography (including major awards and my first and latest books), a "written works" page including links to Amazon or somewhere, announcements if I were going to do book signings or go to conventions (which, as a filk person and science fiction fan, I probably would), and perhaps a blog section or book reviews section. (Heck, nowadays I could put all writing samples on the blog, and tag the posts into useful categories so I could get a "book reviews" subsection without any additional formatting.)

    But it's been years since I've done work as a web page designer, and I'd have to spend some time researching my options before I put an actual site together. Ah, well. Not like I have to worry about it for a while.
     
  12. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Thanks for the advice I will definitely take this on board. I made my portfolio like this as I felt it was different and more aesthetically pleasing but I appreciate now maybe a more constructive one would work better.

    Out of interest did you read The Mariner? If so did you like it?
     
  13. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Just went back to read The Mariner. It's not my cup of tea. You do descriptions well, but you also go for more purple prose than I would. *shrug* It's also true that I am a really harsh critiquer, since I read everything (fantasy, sf, mystery, nonfiction, historical, biography, and so on) and at this point can basically line by line edit any given story, pointing out homonym and spelling errors, grammatical ambiguities, unhelpful description ("sea salt eyes" might mean tear filled or might mean very light blue, for example) and such. And I can't really turn this off; I've stopped in the middle of awesome passages in published books to say "Wait, no, you left out a word."

    I might make a great editor or English teacher, except for the whole "want to make my living by writing" bit.
     
  14. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Okay fair enough lol, you shouldn't let your revision skills go to waste, you could make a great teacher.

    I personally don't feel it is that much of a purple prose but know you say it I have over exaggerated the similes a little.
     
  15. writingchick8
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    writingchick8 Member

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    It definately couldn't hurt to have a portfolio on hand, just incase. I knew someone who ended up being a weekly fiction writer at this magazine and for her interview she needed a portfolio for some work. We were up, like, ALL night trying to figure out what to put in. It would be good to have some samples and such incase such an opportunity ever comes up.

    In terms of just novel writing, etc. it's not really necessary.
     
  16. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unless it is for a professional position, one that's more technical than creative, then a portfolio can be good. Filing your articles/reviews by dates and such would be a good idea, for organisation and progression purposes.

    Other than that, I guess it'd work purely for the sake of keeping your stuff together.
     

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