Wednesday, May 8, 2013

HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL IN TWELVE STEPS: Getting An Education (#Five)

(This should probably be placed earlier, along with my notes about food!)
There are no hard and fast rules regarding education, yet there are many.

  • For starters, if you want to write novels, you should be able to read and write – well. I know, you didn’t need me to tell you that, and yet…
  • Of course, at some point in the process (like, at the end…) you might want to hire editors etc. but it pays to know what you are doing with words on the page before anyone else becomes involved.
  • Most people need to learn about words and grammar etc. via formal education.
  • This is so obvious as to not need repeating. And yet, it’s not true.
  • And yet, it is.
  • Some amazing people who do not communicate in the traditional way have dictated novels (okay, I’m not giving examples but there are some).
  • Some amazing people who are illiterate or semi-illiterate have dictated novels (okay, I’m not going to name names but there are some).
  • Some fab celebrity bios are written by ‘behind the scenes’ writers (not all, but some). Some of these peeps are being paid for their ‘story’ not their writing. Their stories are dictated by them. Their ‘life experience’ is, in the main, unusual; so unusual that it demands attention and publishing houses are eager to find these people.
If your ‘story’ hasn’t ‘happened’ yet and you are not famous you are going to be starting off by yourself.
You need to get a grip.
On a pen… and a piece of paper… or a computer… or an iPhone... you get the idea.

  • You need to educate yourself.
That may mean excelling at school or it may not.

  • It definitely means doing some research that wasn’t available just a decade ago.
  • Now you can surf the net for just about everything you need. You should do some research if you want to get published (more on that later). Trust me, you won't regret it.
  • You might be teaching yourself on the job or learning from home. You might be enrolled in school or college. You might have so much life experience that it all adds up to some serious ‘education’ but whatever you do, and whatever circumstances you find yourself in – you need to be educated about the world around you and the things you want to talk and write about.
So, an education of some description is a must.
I’m not going to be a snob about it. At the end of the day people are educated in different ways.

  • In this day and age, formal education, is, in the main, looked upon favourably, often as a privilege. Many people think it is a must. It is the one thing that no one else can take away from you and for that it must be praised.
  • But just remember Mark Zuckerberg. He invented FB and he dropped out of Harvard. That is an exceptional story, obviously. Many people would suggest he was a born internet genius.  
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged that many high school and university drop outs have been hugely successful in life.
  • But then, they are highly educated in their areas of expertise. Maybe that’s the moral of the story.
  • My advice: get an education however you think suits you. 
  • Pieces of paper are great. 
  • So is life experience.  
  • There is no substitute for the second one. 
  • The first can never be taken away from you... (nor can the second!).