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rushweig

Posts: 38
Registered: 04/23/12
Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 3:47 PM
 
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I'm an avid student of English and have been working on the same novel for about three years now. I'm going through a final edit and then posting it in the coming weeks; however, I was struck by a question going through these boards: what are the literary backgrounds people are coming from?

I mean no disrespect, but I see a figurative ton of romance/erotica/fantasy garbage that is poorly written, edited, and generally just plain painful. I'm just curious, are a lot of you English major backgrounds that have treaded through the Ulysses', Moby Dicks', and Middlemarches', or is this more of a niche community that is really only interested in the tried-and-true fantasy genre with wizards, witches, goulies, etc?

Like I said, I mean absolutely no disrespect, but I just see the same authors pumping out metric tons of stuff when the stuff they already have up could use a hefty dose of good-ol-fashion going over.

Any responses would be greatly appreciated as I am looking for similarly minded people to do peer-edits/reviews with.

Also, just out of curiosity, do a lot of people use pseudonyms?
1001nightspress

Posts: 3,873
Registered: 12/11/11
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:03 PM   in response to: rushweig in response to: rushweig
 
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Well, my Ph.D. isn't in a literary field, and I wasn't ever an English major, though I took a bit of English (and French and Russian and Japanese) lit in college. Don't know if that counts for or against me here. I do write erotica, though I don't (naturally) consider it "garbage."

I think genre lit is like anything--there can be terrific fantasy lit or terrible fantasy lit. Same with romance, or erotica, or thrillers, or historical biography, or how-to guides, or anything else, really. Anything can be done well or done poorly.

It's a bit like the American Idol of publishing here. Not everyone who tries out is talented, but some definitely are.

I use a pen name, yes, because I have a non-fiction writing career that would not mesh well with erotica.
waynekernochan

Posts: 294
Registered: 03/27/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:07 PM   in response to: rushweig in response to: rushweig
 
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I didn't finish 8th grade, but came close to acing my GED. After prison, I was invited to test for Mensa, but was messed up on drugs by then

If I start making enough money with my books, I'm going to check into going to college. Right now, life is a struggle, and school would make it worse
42rthomas

Posts: 1,397
Registered: 02/24/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:07 PM   in response to: rushweig in response to: rushweig
 
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I've seen many who have a language background who couldn't write their way out of a wet paper bag. I've also read others who have a science background who pale in comparison to the weakest sci-fi works out there. A perfect work doesn't exist but you will find there are a great many awesome books out there by indie authors. For them it's about the passion they put into their work.

Editing is another matter. It is generally very hard to edit yourself and some don't have access to someone who can do the job for them. You can't always hold that against the writer as I find most are always looking to take constructive criticism to heart and learn.

Most write under a nom de plume.
1001nightspress

Posts: 3,873
Registered: 12/11/11
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:08 PM   in response to: waynekernochan in response to: waynekernochan
 
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LOL. You forgot to link your book, though. ;)
waynekernochan

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Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:10 PM   in response to: 1001nightspress in response to: 1001nightspress
 
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I don't do that. If someone wants to check out my books, this is my real name
waynekernochan

Posts: 294
Registered: 03/27/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:12 PM   in response to: waynekernochan in response to: waynekernochan
 
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There's one other wayne Kernochan, he's a billionaire software guy. Writes tech books. Nice guy. We were in touch on Facebook until I asked him to buy a million copies of my first book so I didn't have to work so hard

I think he believes I was serious :D
etspress

Posts: 418
Registered: 10/22/11
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:30 PM   in response to: rushweig in response to: rushweig
 
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I am an English Language Arts teacher. I have a master's degree in reading. I do not believe you need a literary degree to write or improve as a writer. You simply need to write, read like a writer, and learn from other writers (as in workshops and books). Most writers are mass market, popular genre writers (romance, fantasy, etc.). It takes a special type of person to write literary works.

Indie writers are a rogue group of people who write for a variety of reasons and come from a vast background of experiences. Not every indie is a true writer. Some type up a book, throw it onto Amazon, and hope to make it rich. Other indies have extensive background knowledge and experience as a writer. And some writers write what they know. Some hire editors. Some do not. The gatekeepers are the readers.
andresanthomas

Posts: 4,926
Registered: 01/01/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:35 PM   in response to: rushweig in response to: rushweig
 
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I'm from the literary school where I don't justify myself and provide my credentials to strangers on message boards. If you read my stuff and think it is literary "garbage", well, shrug. If you like it, great, buy the next book and gift one to your grandma.
oldblindog

Posts: 383
Registered: 03/14/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:42 PM   in response to: rushweig in response to: rushweig
 
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I was fortunate to have good, tough writing instructors in college where I majored in History and Philosophy, and grad school, where I spent roughly two years working on a Master's in Musicology. (Musicology involves a lot of writing about music and musical research.) After leaving grad school, I worked for several years as a journalist. So, while I may not be the product of an MFA program, my writing credentials and experience are pretty solid.

Oh, and by the way, o/p; I write literary erotica, and am unashamed to admit it. The quality of my work can stand up against anything in any genre including so-called "literary" fiction.

cheers

Terrance Aldon Shaw (call me TAS)

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_tc_2_0?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3ATerrance+Aldon+Shaw&keywords=Terrance+Aldon+Shaw&ie=UTF8&qid=1335224382&sr=1-2-ent&field-contributor_id=B007P6N9XC
kelpollard

Posts: 382
Registered: 02/22/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:51 PM   in response to: rushweig in response to: rushweig
 
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Well, I'm not an English major or an English wiz. I've always made decent grades in the subject during school, but that was it. I started writing because I have an over active imagination, and I wanted to share it with other people.

At first I used to feel really inferior to every other author here. I thought that most of them came from the extensive writing backgrounds or had multiple writing degrees, but then I soon realized that I wasn't alone, and that there were other people just like me who weren't English majors or didn't write for magazines and other things. I realized that I could still stand on a leveled playing field with these other authors.

Now as for work I've put in. I've gotten paid cover art and paid editing. I read EXTENSIVELY in preparation for learning to be an indie author. I mean I must have Googled KDP, Amazon, iBooks, Smashwords, Goodreads, Kindle Nation Daily, CreateSpace, Lulu, Lightning, and ect. so many times I lost count! I've also spent hundreds of hours perusing these forums. Reading and learning. I think I can say that is my literary background.... Lol.
rushweig

Posts: 38
Registered: 04/23/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:52 PM   in response to: andresanthomas in response to: andresanthomas
 
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I'm from the literary school where I don't justify
myself and provide my credentials to strangers on
message boards. If you read my stuff and think it is
literary "garbage", well, shrug. If you like it,
great, buy the next book and gift one to your grandma.

cute, I remember when I made snide comments that were counter productive to a thread just to make myself feel better...then I hit puberty...
rushweig

Posts: 38
Registered: 04/23/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:54 PM   in response to: 1001nightspress in response to: 1001nightspress
 
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haha, thats awesome man, thanks for the reply. I mean no disrespect to Erotica and fantasy stuff thats well written, it just seems like a ton of people are here throwing crap against the wall trying to cash in on werewolves acting sexually (which wouldn't really be all that different than 19th c. euro lit, but still...)

Well, my Ph.D. isn't in a literary field, and I
wasn't ever an English major, though I took a bit of
English (and French and Russian and Japanese) lit in
college. Don't know if that counts for or against me
here. I do write erotica, though I don't (naturally)
consider it "garbage."

I think genre lit is like anything--there can be
terrific fantasy lit or terrible fantasy lit. Same
with romance, or erotica, or thrillers, or historical
biography, or how-to guides, or anything else,
really. Anything can be done well or done poorly.

It's a bit like the American Idol of publishing here.
Not everyone who tries out is talented, but some
definitely are.

I use a pen name, yes, because I have a non-fiction
writing career that would not mesh well with erotica.

42rthomas

Posts: 1,397
Registered: 02/24/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:54 PM   in response to: etspress in response to: etspress
 
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I am not one to start unfriendly discussions on these forum pages, however your thrust of indie's as a rogue group seems crass. In every walk of life there are those who succeed through no fault of their own and those who struggle to succeed against a ruling power base who put themselves up as gatekeepers. Those who choose to deny independent works as not relevant in the literary world have a poor definition of the constitution of what qualifies as literature.
I believe most indies work to fulfill a writing promise, it just may not be a promise to you.

BT
rushweig

Posts: 38
Registered: 04/23/12
Re: Question on Literary Backgrounds
Posted: Apr 23, 2012 4:55 PM   in response to: waynekernochan in response to: waynekernochan
 
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Good luck Wayne, hope everything woks out. My novel is actually about a kid who ends up getting addicted to Oxycotin and the inevitable path those lead to heroin...
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