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  • Creative Writing!

    I have a small (very small) problem I'm dealing with, and I was wondering if people here maybe able to help.

    Currently I'm a journalism major, but since I attend a community college, I can change that without any problem. I'm actually planning on transferring as a creative writing major, but I'm beginning to worry that such a degree will be almost useless. Whenever I ask, people would tell me that a creative writing degree will only help me become a teacher and probably nothing more. I know that people with this degree work for TV stations, movies, game companies, and other places that require scripts and writing. However, people are continually telling me that demand in those jobs are low and require a lot of talent... which can be gained without a degree. I'm wondering if going with a creative writing major is a good idea afterall, should I stick with journalism? Go with a English major?

    If you're going to tell me, "Pick something that will help you get the job YOU want," just keep it to yourself. I want to be a writer, period. I don't care if I'm a critic, a speech writer, journalist, a freelancer, or even a teacher... who writes on the side? (If I was a teacher though, I'd do much better with history).

    Some facts about me that might help answer the question: I've been told that I'm a decent writer with a lot of potential, and I also did incredibly well in my journalism class (besides the tests and interviews). My vocabulary is lower than it should be (Pretty good for a college student of my age, but not good enough for a journalism/English major). I also make lots of hiccups in grammar and spelling. I read well, but do not like literature. I'm incredibly lazy, and don't like talking to people I dont know much.

    Another question I should ask is: How many royalty money do writers make? I mean by percentage. For books, movies, etc. What is the average percentage? 30%? 10%? 90%?


    I apologize if I sound moronic in anyway. Because I think some people will make fun of me or make sarcastic comments for this, I have put it in the flame section.

  • #2
    Can you major in one, minor in the other? Or double major, since I assume they have a lot of similar class requirements?

    Either way, if you want to write, you should brush up on that vocab, grammar and spelling and find some literature you do like and start from there. Read extensively, write a lot, and find people who can give honest critism on your work.

    I'm guessing that the creative writing world, like the art world (I'm studying animation, with a possible side in illustration if I don't decide to switch over completely), cares a lot more about actual skill than degrees. As in, if you write a great novel, no one will care if you majored in journalism or creative writing.

    I would personally go for the journalism if I absolutely had to choose, because like I said, if you write a great novel, no one will care (though I could be wrong about that) but if you end up wanting to do journalism I assume theres more technical things you need to know.

    As for royalties, I think its usually a bit less that 10% for novels, but would also likely depend on how good you are and how popular you become. Stephen King, I would imagine, could demand a bit more.

    Searching for and reading the websites of authors you like might give you a better idea of what their working life is like. CJ Cherryh (a popular SF writer) for example, keeps a 'progress blog' that I enjoyed for a while, and also has an article about how writers make a living, where she discusses royalties, etc:

    http://www.cherryh.com/www/bookbiz.htm
    Last edited by supergray; 22nd July 2006, 04:45 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by supergray
      Can you major in one, minor in the other? Or double major, since I assume they have a lot of similar class requirements?

      Either way, if you want to write, you should brush up on that vocab, grammar and spelling and find some literature you do like and start from there. Read extensively, write a lot, and find people who can give honest critism on your work.

      I'm guessing that the creative writing world, like the art world (I'm studying animation, with a possible side in illustration if I don't decide to switch over completely), cares a lot more about actual skill than degrees. As in, if you write a great novel, no one will care if you majored in journalism or creative writing.

      I would personally go for the journalism if I absolutely had to choose, because like I said, if you write a great novel, no one will care (though I could be wrong about that) but if you end up wanting to do journalism I assume theres more technical things you need to know.

      As for royalties, I think its usually a bit less that 10% for novels, but would also likely depend on how good you are and how popular you become. Stephen King, I would imagine, could demand a bit more.

      Searching for and reading the websites of authors you like might give you a better idea of what their working life is like. CJ Cherryh (a popular SF writer) for example, keeps a 'progress blog' that I enjoyed for a while, and also has an article about how writers make a living, where she discusses royalties, etc:

      http://www.cherryh.com/www/bookbiz.htm
      Thanks for the response!
      I do enjoy reading, but am usually too lazy to read literature such as Dickens or Shakespere. I do sometimes reading things like Bronte or even Hemingway, so it always depends. In general, I find the assignments relating to the literature to be the annoying part.

      I thought journalism would be the perfect choice for me, but the thing that makes me hesitate is the interview, and searching for stories portion. I would never write for a newspaper if I can help it.

      It looks like being a writer is a tough job. I think I'll try and gain enough knowledge to pass the teacher credential test for any subject. Most teachers seem to have enough time to write on the side. One of my friends English teachers wrote for "Married with Childeren" comedy, but I never found him funny.

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      • #4
        At one point in my college career, I wanted to Major in English, and then found, that my writing wasn't too good, my spelling sucked, my grammer needed work, and I just wasnt the most talented writer, so I just gave it up. But while I was going toward this English Major, I was speaking to many different people about what kind of Future I could expect for myself. The answers I got were allways about the same. I was told, the money sucks, the Jobs are few and far between, and its just a tough career in general, unless you are superb. If you are lazy, like me, then I would think it would be extremely tough, because writing is a full time Job, if you are serious about it. Writing a novel takes a lot of time; I have read of some novelists who write over 8 hours a day for a few years just to get their novel finished. Plus, you have to be tenacious in you pursuit of a Job, because there will be alot of people just like you trying to get these Journalist gigs. And getting a book published, from what I have been told, is extremely difficult if you do not have some type of hook-up(or you must be extremely talented). So I figured, "damn, life is hard enough, screw this English shit", and now I am leaning towards something else(history maybe?).

        But if you love it, go for it no matter what, and work hard (lazyness will get you nowhere fast). O yeh, and getting nowhere fast is tiresome. Good luck.

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        • #5
          Imho

          My personal opinion is get a buiseness degree, you can be a writer with or without a degree, and journalism is a tight field (i have 4 recent graduated friends in it that cant find jobs to save their life) you can do alot with a buisness degree, even go onto an MBA which is a fairly quick and painless masters, and you have ALOT of options in the world, just make sure your resume is not lackluster, and find a job that can springboard you to a better career that you want

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          • #6
            Personal advice from a Journalist to a journalism student, get de double major.

            Comment


            • #7
              I've decided to major in English Education, so that I can get in the teaching career. Teachers are in high demand, it's a fairly easy job with a lot of freedom to attempt writing a book or something. One of my high school's English teacher wrote for Married with Childeren TV show while he taught high school English.

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              • #8
                Glad you decided already. Good luck with that. Happy that in your country teachers are needed in Chile they're worst than us journalist, nobody wants them anymore (too many and too few schools)

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                • #9
                  Those that can, do.
                  Those that can't, teach.
                  Those that can't teach, teach gym.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ignatz
                    Those that can, do.
                    Those that can't, teach.
                    Those that can't teach, teach gym.
                    I had an algebra teacher who was also the girl's tennis coach. He couldn't teach himself out of a paper bag. It still makes me angry. I've got to learn to let go.

                    Hank.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Penguin Rush
                      I've decided to major in English Education, so that I can get in the teaching career. Teachers are in high demand, it's a fairly easy job with a lot of freedom to attempt writing a book or something. One of my high school's English teacher wrote for Married with Childeren TV show while he taught high school English.
                      I was going to suggest that you major in hotel management.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Whatever you do, plan on being an underpaid, overworked scrublet for quite some time.
                        Hiring managers see a person fresh out of college and they think:
                        Ah! Ambitious, willing to work like a slave for long hours, hungry for experience, and as exploitable as Gunga Din! Excellent!

                        This is especially true in the entertainment business.
                        A buddy of mine has a degree from Syracuse U in Television. He thought that he'd pull a Matt Damon and get discovered as a writer. His degree got him a job as a runner for Dick Clark productions making min. wage.
                        Three years later? he was still starving and still a runner. 6 years later? He went back to the safety of college, got his Masters degree in English and now works as a public high school teacher. The pay is probably about the same.

                        I think an artist creates not because they want to, but because the have no choice, and if they happen to make a buck or two from the output of their mania, then all the better.

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                        • #13
                          creative writing

                          hhmmm not true there dude.

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                          • #14
                            Wow.
                            Most helpful.
                            ~And there you have it!
                            I obviously havn't a clue what I'm talking about because CHANG SI said so.
                            Care to expound upon us with your wisdom?
                            I am open to look at possibility incorrectness on my part, but first, for the sake of at least offering something other than a glib one-liner, can we to view your offerings on the subject?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kenzan
                              Whatever you do, plan on being an underpaid, overworked scrublet for quite some time.
                              Hiring managers see a person fresh out of college and they think:
                              Ah! Ambitious, willing to work like a slave for long hours, hungry for experience, and as exploitable as Gunga Din! Excellent!

                              This is especially true in the entertainment business.
                              A buddy of mine has a degree from Syracuse U in Television. He thought that he'd pull a Matt Damon and get discovered as a writer. His degree got him a job as a runner for Dick Clark productions making min. wage.
                              Three years later? he was still starving and still a runner. 6 years later? He went back to the safety of college, got his Masters degree in English and now works as a public high school teacher. The pay is probably about the same.

                              I think an artist creates not because they want to, but because the have no choice, and if they happen to make a buck or two from the output of their mania, then all the better.
                              Min wage as a teacher? -_- doesn't sound too right to me. I actually want to teach, I was just a bit afraid of speaking in front of people everyday. Besides, we all know the three best reasons to teach in America.
                              June
                              July
                              August

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