PDA

View Full Version : New writer has 2 questions


Defpotec
06-24-2006, 05:13 PM
Hi, I'm new round these parts and just starting to get my feet wet as it comes to writing. Anyway I have two questions:

1: How do I go about copy righting my work? Hopefully for free?

2: Would English be a major to pursue? (I'm a sophomore at SDSU.)

Thanks guys.

kdmelrose
06-24-2006, 05:17 PM
1. U.S. Copyright Office FAQ (http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/)

2. It's as good as any.

Buckyrig
06-24-2006, 05:40 PM
Liberal Arts would be a pretty good idea. Broad base of knowledge. I think history and philosophy are good places to find ideas myself.

Lovecraft13
06-24-2006, 06:30 PM
Hi, I'm new round these parts and just starting to get my feet wet as it comes to writing. Anyway I have two questions:

2: Would English be a major to pursue? (I'm a sophomore at SDSU.)

You do not have to be an English major to write stories. It'd only introduce you to stories you may or may not already know. However, you can do that on your own. It's not the college major that'll define you as a writer but life around you. Observe people, events, listen in on conversations, stab a man in the eye, kick a puppy, etc. Once you learn why a person is interesting, then you make your characters interesting.

Oh, and one more thing. Don't start off plotting out a 12-issue epic storyline. Start small. Expand from there.

Boy
06-24-2006, 09:00 PM
Lots of writers have majored in journalism. Just in case you didn't know.

T.J. May
06-24-2006, 09:26 PM
Lots of writers have majored in journalism. Just in case you didn't know.

True, but the best advice I ever received was to get out of journalism and study writing. Journalism is a style, and that's all you are going to get out of most journalism courses. But a writing degree, or an English degree, is going to teach how to think and tell a story. You can pick up on the AP style later.

So, I switched majors to creative writing and minored in journalism. So, I ended up with the best of both worlds. I beat out the top journalism majors for an internship at the Hartford Courant, and every journalism job I ever landed was ahead of a journalism major.

That said, you don't need a degree to write. But you do need to study the craft.

kdmelrose
06-24-2006, 09:35 PM
True, but the best advice I ever received was to get out of journalism and study writing. Journalism is a style, and that's all you are going to get out of most journalism courses. But a writing degree, or an English degree, is going to teach how to think and tell a story. You can pick up on the AP style later.

You're short-changing journalism. I think a broad liberal-arts background is a good foundation for most anyone. But my journalism courses taught me much more than AP style. I learned how to tell a story, and tell it interestingly yet sparsely. They taught me how to research and organize information, and provided me with the tools to become a good editor.

I don't think a journalism degree is the end-all, be-all -- I nearly jumped ship to major in graphic design -- but I think it's worth more than you suggest.

nolanjwerner
06-25-2006, 02:07 PM
Hi, I'm new round these parts and just starting to get my feet wet as it comes to writing. Anyway I have two questions:

1: How do I go about copy righting my work? Hopefully for free?

2: Would English be a major to pursue? (I'm a sophomore at SDSU.)

Thanks guys.



1. Send it to the copyright office. I think it like 25 bucks per copyright.

2. Honestly, theres no one major for it. English is a good choice as it would expose you to a wide variety of literatures, but the focus is still by and large on the Dead White Men canon.

I'e found that History courses are helpful for writers as well. They not only teach about obscure historical figures but show you skills in terms fo research.

Philisophy might also be a good major. As would Film. Maybe an Interdisciplinary studies program could help.

Defpotec
06-25-2006, 02:41 PM
Thanks for all the responses guys, some interesting stuff here I hadn't considered. I've taken about three philosophy classes already, thinking I might minor in that at least. Thought about looking into history as well. Hadn't even considered journalism, I'll look into a few courses. If anyone else wants to chime in feel free, all advice is appreciated.

nolanjwerner
06-25-2006, 04:03 PM
Thanks for all the responses guys, some interesting stuff here I hadn't considered. I've taken about three philosophy classes already, thinking I might minor in that at least. Thought about looking into history as well. Hadn't even considered journalism, I'll look into a few courses. If anyone else wants to chime in feel free, all advice is appreciated.



My issue with journalism is that the American (and if you're from another country, feel free to ignore this if you want to but I get the feeling, its pretty similar throughout the world, just with different names) press has really abandoned the entire idea of exposing corruption and reporting the truth, msot of the reporters out there right now are just lapdogs for the Bush administration. Even the ones critical of the Administration let them set the terms of the debate.

Buckyrig
06-25-2006, 04:13 PM
My issue with journalism is that the American (and if you're from another country, feel free to ignore this if you want to but I get the feeling, its pretty similar throughout the world, just with different names) press has really abandoned the entire idea of exposing corruption and reporting the truth, msot of the reporters out there right now are just lapdogs for the Bush administration. Even the ones critical of the Administration let them set the terms of the debate.

The Press has never really embraced the idea of exposing corruption. That's why Watergate was such a big deal. A bunch of idealists hit school after that and then things went back to status quo. Check out all the complimentary articles about gangsters during prohibition. Journalists have always been full of shit.

Lovecraft13
06-25-2006, 05:10 PM
1: How do I go about copy righting my work? Hopefully for free?

You can also snail mail your own work to yourself. The date post-marked is a great poor man's (C) until you're ready to fill out the gov't's paperwork.

nolanjwerner
06-25-2006, 06:11 PM
The Press has never really embraced the idea of exposing corruption. That's why Watergate was such a big deal. A bunch of idealists hit school after that and then things went back to status quo. Check out all the complimentary articles about gangsters during prohibition. Journalists have always been full of shit.



Prohibition was a huge mistake to start with. It shows that you can't govern based on moral panics.

But I agree with you on journalists usually being lapdogs for the people in power. The only reason pot is illegal in the US is because William Randolphs Hearst's economic interests were threatened by it. The actual laws about it were to horribly racist in their intent and based on such shoddy evidence (which is even shoddier as pot has been shown to be no more harmful then the legal substances of alcohol or tobacco) that they could never stand up in court today, the onyl argument that remains is that its illegal because its illegal.

ehobbs
06-25-2006, 06:40 PM
And English major wil only help. But the most common advice for those looking to persue writing as a career?

Read every day. Writer every day. A lot. :)

UCBoy
06-26-2006, 04:37 PM
Hey Def I'm going to be a senior at UCSD and I'm a major in Film/Video. I agree with ehobbs in that an English major is only going to help. My advice would be to find a comic you love love love and break it down page by page, panel by panel. Try and figure out why things flow the way they do and why people decided to make the decisions that were made in the comic. Also, read scripts from comic writers you like, get a feel for the comic book full script format. I'm not much more along in the process than you are truth be told, these are just the things that have helped me.

omega sentry
06-27-2006, 12:47 AM
You can also snail mail your own work to yourself. The date post-marked is a great poor man's (C) until you're ready to fill out the gov't's paperwork.


If it's really worth it to you then fill out the proper forms and pay the fee...it's no big deal to fill out the forms and well it's pretty cheap if you ask me. be realistic here most people waste more than $25 dollars on luxury stuff like movies, Music, Foods that you might not have the necessity of eating, drugs you name it. Just give up what ever it is you waste your money on which would be consider luxury Item and invest on your self.

Now about that snail mail, I really would love to have a story where this works. Really sound like a myth to me. I mean if you snail mailed it to your self and then some how some one got your Idea worked out with say hollywood. And of course let us say they have the proper paper work. Sorry to say, but you are going to lose the lawsuit.

Should a copy right and trade mark thread be pinned some where? Cause there is always a new person asking this thing since the site's been online. :huh:

kdmelrose
06-27-2006, 12:19 PM
Here's what the U.S. Copyright Office says about "the poor man's copyright":

"The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a 'poor manís copyright.' There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration."

DarkOra
06-27-2006, 04:33 PM
My advice would be to find a comic you love love love and break it down page by page, panel by panel. Try and figure out why things flow the way they do and why people decided to make the decisions that were made in the comic.
For learning purposes, I wouldn't focus exclusively on good comics. I'd also take a truly bad comic that you absolutely hate and break it down panel-by-panel to see if you can figure out what went wrong with it. Sure, knowing what's good about a comic is helpful, but it's tough to learn what mistakes to avoid when writing a comic if you only study comics with no mistakes in them.

This is also a good exercise for a writing group. Each member breaks down a comic replacing all the names of the characters with generic names. Then each person in the group takes another person's breakdown and analyzes it (without knowing the original source comic).

2: Would English be a major to pursue? (I'm a sophomore at SDSU.)
It varies. You might want to ask yourself some questions...
What do you want to do for a living when you graduate?
If you want to be a full-time writer, what kind of writing do you want to do (novels, comics, TV, film, articles, advertising/marketing copy, grant proposals, fortune cookies, etc)?
What genres or subject matters (majoring in science can help with science fiction or science reporting while majoring in psychology/sociology can help with the exploration of what's really ticking inside people's heads)?
What would you do with your English major if the writing doesn't work out as quickly as you'd like?

Kep!
06-28-2006, 12:21 PM
Dark Ora speaks the truth. English is a good skill to have...but that's all. Journalism is EXTREMELY popular amoung writers because it teaches research, interviewing, concieness and how to kowtow to editors. History would be usefull to give you a broad introduction to what's happened before and what could happen again. PoliSci and Law are useful if you're interested in conflict and the interaction of people over them. Sociology would be dynamite if you want to write about large scale interactions...anthropology would help a lot as well.

In otherwords, study what interests you, and if you want to write comics, you'll write them regardless of your major.

I hold a degree meteorology. Yeah, I use that a LOT during my fight scenes...

"PAGE 4, PANEL 3: Close up of the right side of Batman's face, eyes cold, lip curled in a sadistic smile. Behind him, a layer of stratacumulus is encroaching from off panel at about five thousand feet with small wisps of cirrus bending to turbulance at thirty thousand. A flag, hanging from a building in the distance, stands straight out in a 35kt wind.

BATMAN: Your choice Clayface, come quietly or I'm going to roll over you like a Chanook off the Rockies."

Yeah, that happens all the time.

Buckyrig
06-28-2006, 12:49 PM
When did you get a gig writing Batman? :confused:

Defpotec
06-28-2006, 01:00 PM
Thanks again to everybody giving advice, it's really appreciated. I have another question: what exactly is backending? I have a basic idea that it's a method of pay based on a percentage of profits from a book sold, but I'm not sure. If someone could explain it that'd be a big help, thanks.

Kep!
06-28-2006, 01:26 PM
Backending is a style of hooking up especially popular in San Francisco and Soho.

In comics, however, it refers to a method of NOT getting paid. The idea here is that if the book makes money, you make money. In today's dark indy environment, you can pretty well bet that if you're on a back-end deal you're making squat unless you are being published by a top-10 company (some would say top 3). This will change someday, but not today.