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Authors > A couple questions for authors from a 3rd grader

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message 1: by Gwyn (new)

Gwyn  | 35 comments My step-daughter Katelyn is working on a "Genius Hour" Project for her 3rd grade class. Essentially it's a block of time set aside each week for them to work on an independent study type project on a subject that they're interested and excited about. Katelyn has chosen "How do you become a writer?" for her project. She'll be writing a book for part of it, but it also requires some research. I told her that if she came up with some questions I'd pass them along to the authors I knew :) If you guys would be willing to take a few minutes to answer it would be much appreciated!! :)

Here's her questions:
How did you become a writer?
Did you go to a special school to become a writer?
Do you have to get a special paper signed by a person? (Translation: Do you have to have someone specifically certify that you're officially a writer ;) )
Do you have any advice for me to become a writer?

Thanks in advance guys!


message 2: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 231 comments Hey Liz I'll help

1. I have just always liked to read and write, so I just wrote as often as possible and one day decided I was a writer.

2. I didn't go to college just to become a writer, but I did write a lot of papers there, so it did help.

3. You don't have to get a special paper signed, but if you went to college and got a writing degree, it would be the same thing.

4. As far as advice goes, read as much as you can, and write as much as you can. You can do it if you try!

(I hope that helped, third grader questions are hard! lol)


message 3: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
How did you become a writer?

I started writing consistently. That's really all it takes. It's a conscious choice.

Did you go to a special school to become a writer?

Nope. You can go to college and get a degree in Creative Writing or English, but it's not required or even necessary. The biggest thing is just read a lot and write a lot.

Do you have to get a special paper signed by a person? (Translation: Do you have to have someone specifically certify that you're officially a writer ;) )

Nope.

Do you have any advice for me to become a writer?

If you like telling stories, then just write. It can start as simply as telling stories with your favorite characters. Just don't forget to keep reading and make sure you do a little writing each day. Some writers work for hours a day, some just do as much as they can each day.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll add my two cents:

1. I've always written for fun. But over time I started writing more and more often, and before I knew it I had a book finished. I decided to publish it, and from then on I've been a writer!

2. No, I just started doing it, liked it, and continued doing so.

3. No, you don't need anyone to say you are a writer; a lot of famous writers just started writing and publishing their work. It's something you decide for yourself if you want to put in the effort. You could go to college if you wanted for writing, and there are several types: creative writing, journalism and technical writing just to name a few.

4. Write what you know, write what you enjoy. Keep writing a little bit every day. Read a lot both as a past time and to learn from other writers. Be confident in your skill and in what you've written but be open to listening to good advice from more experienced writers on how to improve your writing ability.


message 5: by Eric (new)

Eric Bahle (ericbahle) | 45 comments A young kid excited/interested in writing? I daresay she'll get some encouragement here.


How did you become a writer?
I've enjoyed writing stories for a long time. I did it for fun and just did it more and more until I was writing book-length stories. Eventually I thought I was good enough to start publishing.

Did you go to a special school to become a writer?
I personally did not go to a special school, but I took some writing classes in college.

Do you have to get a special paper signed by a person? (Translation: Do you have to have someone specifically certify that you're officially a writer ;) )
No special paper needed!

Do you have any advice for me to become a writer?
Write a lot, and read a lot, and think of it as practice. Not everything you will write will be good at first, but you get better by keeping at it. Also, have fun. Writing something like a book can be a lot of work, but you should always enjoy that work.

Good luck Liz and Katelyn.


message 6: by Andrew (last edited Jan 28, 2015 03:51PM) (new)

Andrew Hudson | 32 comments How did you become a writer?
I used to read all the time when I was a kid. Sometimes I'd try writing my own stories, but I never finished them. If I went to a movie my friends hadn't seen, when they asked what it was like I'd invent a new version of the story and see how long I could keep them believing it. Making up stories on the fly is good practice.

When I was older I started writing for real. I wasn't very good, but I slowly started getting better. But all the time I never stopped reading other people's books - everything you read can help make you a better writer in the future.

Did you go to a special school to become a writer?
Actually, I did! I got interested in the film industry, worked on some small and large movies, then started writing my own screenplays. After a few years I went to film school to study "screenwriting". Now I use the ideas about stories I learned every time I write, even for things that aren't film scripts.

Do you have to get a special paper signed by a person?
Only if you go to film school! The real answer is "no". People will always want to read good writers, but they won't care what you did to become one. It's better to have an interesting life - people will want to know about that!

Do you have any advice for me to become a writer?
Read a lot and try to write - but these things are not separate. If you like the way someone else writes, try to think what you like about it. If you don't like something, think about why that is too. And don't be afraid of copying your favourite writer's style - all writers do that at some point!

To Liz: the most useful book about storytelling I've ever read is The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. Easy to understand, fun to read, and I've found the perspective on stories invaluable. 3rd grade will be "a bit" early, but if your step-daughter is still interested in writing when she's in her mid/late teens it might make a good present!


message 7: by John (new)

John | 135 comments Katelyn, I’m happy you’re interested in becoming a writer. It’s a fun job where you meet a lot of interesting people, and you get to entertain or teach about many different kinds of things.

1. How did you become a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was your age. I always was a good reader, and wanted to tell my own stories. I wrote whenever I could, in longhand, sometimes scribbling stories down on the back of paper bags. When I got older, my first big purchase was my very own typewriter. I’ve never stopped writing. Today I have more than 250 books published, 3 novels, and 13 Hollywood screenplays. It’s the funnest job in the world!


2. Did you go to a special school to become a writer?

I went to college and got a degree in journalism. I’ve always had a lot of curiosity about the world, and writing for newspapers and magazines, and now books, lets me learn about new things every day. Plus, it’s nice to get paid for what I do and earn a good living. Fiction is my favorite kind of writing, but it’s very hard to make much money at it. My nonfiction career makes me a better writer every day. I am also an editor, which means I get to help other writers improve their work, which can be a wonderful thing.


3. Do you have to get a special paper signed by a person? (Translation: Do you have to have someone specifically certify that you're officially a writer ;) )

Well, no. You don’t HAVE to go to school to be a writer. It certainly helps. Anybody can learn the craft of writing (grammar, characters, plot, etc.), but to be the best writer, you need a curiosity about the world and a desire to share your stories, which isn’t something that’s easy to teach. Many writers learn as they go, working day after day to improve. Eventually, good writers find their audience (or their audience finds them). You don’t even need to make money. If you’re telling your stories and people are reading them, you’re a writer. Be proud of that.


4. Do you have any advice for me to become a writer?
Read. And read some more. And when you’re done with that… read even more. When you’re ready to tell your stories, write. People say you should write every day, which isn’t bad advice, but maybe not realistic. Write as much as you can. Start a journal. Write down what you did today, or your feelings, or some crazy idea you came up with. Get it down on paper, or entered into your computer. If you write every day, you can’t help but get better. It’s called practice. Don’t worry about being “good.” Maybe your writing stinks at first—it probably will. That’s okay, just keep writing. Every writer was a beginner once. You’ll get better, I promise.

There are many good books about writing. I wrote six books especially for young people just starting out. They’re not sold in stores, but you might find them in your school library. They’re called “You Write It,” and include tips for writing mysteries, science fiction, horror, fantasy, even screenplays and graphic novels.

Good luck with your writing, Katelyn!


message 8: by Gwyn (new)

Gwyn  | 35 comments Love the replies guys! Thanks so much! She's been with her mom the last few days so I'll be passing the info along tonight :)


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