Tuesday, May 8, 2012
What are you capable of?
Most universities and colleges offer a degree in Creative Writing. They focus on teaching you the basics of many genres, including nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. They give you some helpful insight and allow you to practice while receiving feedback from your peers and instructor. I am not going to condone these programs in this post, because I do believe they offer a lot of help to budding writers. Also, I graduated from Slippery Rock University with a Bachelor's in Creative Writing.
What I do want to talk about is what these programs don't teach you. They are so focused on giving you a basis in each of the main genres that they forget to teach you how to work outside those lines. In fiction writing, you can't learn everything from one course. These classes will not teach you how to make up your own world for a fantasy novel or how to avoid predictability in a crime story. For that, you have to teach yourself.
Doing your research is important. Read acclaimed novels in the genre you wish to tackle. Read up on tips online and join some forums related to your topic. Go to the library and check out some books that focus on the main details in your story. There is no one on earth that would ever put down the importance of research.
However, it is just as important to remember that research has its limits. Eventually, you have to stop reading and start writing. Your fantasy cannot be created simply by reading the work of others; you have to put in the time and work to create your own world. Your science fiction piece has to have a beginning within you. The point is, that simply reading about what you want to write is not going to cut it. You have to sit down at your computer, at your desk with a paper and pen, or with your tablet out in the woods, and start to write. Once you let the words and ideas start to flow out of you, you will be amazed when you look back and realize you wrote a novel in your chosen genre. So what are you waiting for? Get started!