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Old 06-24-2006, 05:13 PM   #1
Defpotec
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New writer has 2 questions

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.
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Old 06-24-2006, 05:17 PM   #2
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1. U.S. Copyright Office FAQ

2. It's as good as any.
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Old 06-24-2006, 05:40 PM   #3
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Liberal Arts would be a pretty good idea. Broad base of knowledge. I think history and philosophy are good places to find ideas myself.
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Old 06-24-2006, 06:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defpotec
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.
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:00 PM   #5
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Lots of writers have majored in journalism. Just in case you didn't know.
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:26 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 06-24-2006, 09:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by T.J. May
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.
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Old 06-25-2006, 02:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defpotec
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.
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Old 06-25-2006, 02:41 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 06-25-2006, 04:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defpotec
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.
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Old 06-25-2006, 04:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nolanjwerner
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.
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Old 06-25-2006, 05:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Defpotec
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.
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Old 06-25-2006, 06:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckyrig
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.
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Old 06-25-2006, 06:40 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 06-26-2006, 04:37 PM   #15
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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.
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