Friday, January 22, 2010

Path's of the Craft

Writing is such an ambiguous term. It can be used to describe everything from the compilation of a novel, to taking notes in a meeting, or anything in between. As an aspiring author, I've dabbled in poetry, short story and am continuing my learning curve towards working on a full fledged non-fiction novel. This semester I decided to take an evening class in creative writing, something which most writers could benefit from (yes, even me... thank you all for your looks of shock and awe). In it, our instructor discussed a few of the different aspects of writing and will continue to address them more personally as we are assigned to compile works in said branches. I've always wondered what avenues I could take, in the job world, if I wanted to utilize my love for writing, so here's a few jobs related to writing that I thought I'd post up for your viewing/curiosity pleasure. This list is by no means exhaustive, but maybe it can help elucidate the industry. Click on the link if you'd like a more detailed explanation of the job outlook for each. Included below each category are little snippets BLS website. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

1. Journalism
The work of news analysts, reporters, and correspondents is usually hectic. They are under great pressure to meet deadlines. Broadcasts sometimes are aired with little or no time for preparation. Source: BLS

2. Editing
Editors review, rewrite, and edit the work of writers. They also may do original writing. An editor's responsibilities vary with the employer and type and level of editorial position held. Editorial duties may include planning the content of books, journals, magazines, and other general-interest publications. Source: BLS

3. Technical Writing
Technical writers, also called technical communicators, put technical information into easily understandable language. They work primarily in information-technology-related industries, coordinating the development and dissemination of technical content for a variety of users.
Source: BLS

4. Medical Transcription
Medical transcriptionists listen to dictated recordings made by physicians and other health care professionals and transcribe them into medical reports, correspondence, and other administrative material. Source: BLS

5. Software Programmer
Computer programmers write programs. After computer software engineers and systems analysts design software programs, the programmer converts that design into a logical series of instructions that the computer can follow. Source: BLS

6. Writers/Authors
Writers and authors develop original written materials for books, magazines, trade journals, online publications, company newsletters, and advertisements. Their works are classified broadly as either fiction or nonfiction. Source: BLS

7. Document Translation for Foreign Interest
Translators convert written materials from one language into another. They must have excellent writing and analytical ability, and because the translations that they produce must be accurate, they also need good editing skills. Source: BLS

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Driving Success

Photo found from Gary Settle/The New York Times

The author Erich Segal, who coined the phrase "Love means never having to say you're sorry," passed away this last Sunday, the 17th. I believe anyone would be hard pressed to find an adult who hasn't heard that phrase mentioned above. It will likely survive through history alongside other famous sayings for many lifetimes to come. As a writer, I'd find almost no greater honor, than to be quoted from my work like this. Though, many amazing authors have tried to come up with phrases and sayings in their work that could mimic the success of Segal's love-quote, it's probably unlikely that the average published author will ever achieve this goal. Regardless, having nigh achievable goals like this will likely cause us writers to try harder, write better and search diligently for those perfect words or sentences that hopefully leave our readers with something that they can take with them through their lives.

Are there any goals or success stories you look toward that drive you to be a better writer? Care to share them here?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tokyo Vice: The Author's POV

After yesterday's post, I received quite a bit of deep comments from you all. Thank you so much for all the feedback; everyone knows we bloggers thrive on comments. The general rule of thumb, I found most fellow writer's going by, was don't write something you'd be ashamed of, but be true to your characters or your information. I'd have to say it's descent advice and I can agree with it, but what about guys like Jake Adelstein? He dropped by here yeseterday and posted a comment about my article (Moral & Ethical Writing) stating that in his circumstances, being an investigative journalist, he was faced with difficult decisions on what he'd be able to share in his book without burning his sources or worse, himself. It's a completely different scene, writing non-fiction vs. fiction. As I mentioned back to him, I realize that in my own case, if I expose a character, there won't be much retaliation simply because they aren't real. In his case, the people he wrote about were/are very real and could potentially make a mess of his life or family/friends' lives. Nevertheless, he followed through and shared the facts and enlightened those of us who decided to read his book Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan.

I'm about halfway finished with it at the moment, but it won't take long for me to finish it. I am loving it. Yes, it has some dark themes and yes, it takes some of us readers to places we'd never want to see or know about, but it is part of the real world that many of us are blind to. I don't have to finish this to recommend you all check it out, but only with this warning. There are some explicit sexual and violent elements in this book. It is provocative, informative, entertaining and full of witty humor. I can only hope that when my own works get published (yes I said when, not if) that they bring my readers on a journey equally as impressive as Tokyo Vice.

I'll be sure to follow up and let you all know when I'm finished.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Moral & Ethical Writing

It's a topic that's been blogged about before. It's likely come up in your own writing; I know it has in mine. The nagging question:

"Can I write this in my book, even though the subject matter is totally against my moral or ethical code?"

Let's face it, the world is full of people with a hodge-podge of belief systems on what is right, wrong and entertaining. There's no way for us as writers to entertain everyone. We are bound to step on some toes along the way, because as I said above, there are so many variations of what is acceptable in entertainment. But what about our own toes? I've found myself writing a story that, in my opinion, has an amazing concept, but gnaws at the back of my mind because it touches on some spiritual issues that are blatantly against my own belief system. I try to reason: "it's just fiction," but when I see some people take certain fiction a bit too literally, as is the case with maybe Dan Brown's hit novel (no I'm not plugging it here) I find myself asking, "but what if people try to take my story too literally?" It begs the question, "Can I write this in my book, even through the subject matter is totally against my moral/ethical code?"

I can't determine whether you should or shouldn't bypass your conscience just to get a good book written, but in my case I will have to figure out what's best for me. So how about you guys? Have you written or would you write about something that is fundamentally against your belief system or ethical code?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Riddle's Answer

So, for those of you who posted an answer to my riddle, here's the answer:


Congratulations Girl With One Eye, you were the first person to get it right. Not only did you get it right, but you referenced the riddle that was in mine. "If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound: Yes"

Thanks for all who played, I wish I had a prize, but all I can do is link back to your blog. Yay for links? :P