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 Are Writers Still Interested in Learning the Craft?

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Brenda Hill, Admin
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PostSubject: Are Writers Still Interested in Learning the Craft?   Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:24 pm

I've begun to wonder. With self-publishing so easy now, anyone and everyone can publish a book. But I'm appalled at the lack of craft I'm seeing. Not only are many novels poorly-written as far as craft, but it's evident they haven't even been edited. Or even proofed.

The attendance in my workshops is down, and I'm seeing that all over SoCal. Not only workshops, but basic critique groups.

Don't writers want to publish their best work? Don't they have pride in their work?
 
What's your opinion?

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Victoria Howard, Mod
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PostSubject: Re: Are Writers Still Interested in Learning the Craft?   Mon Dec 14, 2015 5:16 pm

All writers, whether those who have an established career and publishing record or those just starting out, should learn their craft. I strongly believe that as a writer you should never stop learning and improving your technique. What does amaze me is the number of creative writing tutors who have never published a novel, fiction or non-fiction, who feel qualified to teach the subject.

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PostSubject: Re: Are Writers Still Interested in Learning the Craft?   Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:36 pm

I think what you're seeing in this area is people publishing that can't take criticism readily. From the few of your workshops that I've attended, you can see it in their faces- dismay and disbelief that their work needs improvement. The ones that can't take constructive criticism, don't return to the workshops. Those are the ones across the country that are probably self-publishing prematurely, as I did. While most of us see the usefulness in the workshops to improve our work, some think that their work is already better than mine our yours. As for mine, I will always be seeking ways to improve. And, at my age, my best work is probably going to be something really "hellish!"
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PostSubject: Re: Are Writers Still Interested in Learning the Craft?   Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:41 pm

I think you've hit the nail on the head, Ken, to use a cliche, which of course, experienced writers know they should avoid at all costs. People seem to think if they can string a sentence together and they have an idea for a book that it will instantly be a best seller. Regardless of whether you publish independently or are lucky enough to be published by one of the large publishing houses, a first draft is just that. It needs to be revised, edited, copy edited, and polished until it shines.

Self published books also need a decent cover designed by a graphic artist, rather than a stock image with poorly pasted text.

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PostSubject: Re: Are Writers Still Interested in Learning the Craft?   Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:44 pm

You're probably right, Ken. But if that's the case, they need to grow a thicker skin.

As I've said over and over, long before self/indie publishing became so readily available, it took years of classes, of writing, revising, sending queries to agents & publishing houses, rejections, more classes, more revisions, new queries, and a lot of shed tears before writers learned the necessary skills to be considered a pro. There was no publishing first then learning, as some do now.

Now anyone can publish anything, and quite honestly, I'm appalled at some of the books I've picked up on Amazon. I'm glad to see Amazon is cracking down on poor writing, but they can only know from customer reviews of poorly-written books.

And Victoria's right. Even when a writer has written many revisions and thinks it's ready, it STILL needs to be edited or at least copy edited. I write and rewrite several times before I'm satisfied with a manuscript, and I edit constantly while writing and afterward. And even tho I'm an editor, I spend a lot of money to have my work edited. We can't always see our own mistakes, or be able to tell if something flows exactly right, or if it's suspenseful, or???

Correct formatting is important, and a good cover is essential.

I've offered to share my knowledge in many ways in the workshops, but now I'm truly ready to shut it down.

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