by Ron Kurtus
Readers have sent in a total of 141 comments and questions on Writing issues. They are listed according to date.
You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.
|Developped an interest in screenplay writing||Screen Paradigm||Canada|
|Shy about writing||Esteem||Kenya|
|Please provide the answers to your questions||Esteem||USA|
|Competing with friend over vocabulary skills||Vocabulary||England|
|Writing a script||General||USA|
|Sent in a script outlien||Screen writing||USA|
|Has weakness in spelling and grammar||General||USA|
|Wants to be published from New Zealand||Esteem|
|Has problems with co-worker criticizing her writin||Esteem|
|My dream to be a best selling author||Get Paid for Fiction||Nigeria|
|How do I get my stories published and made into a||Get Paid for Fiction|
|Wants to be a professional writer||Get Paid for Fiction|
|Confused how to write an essay||General|
|Basic principle||Random Plot|
|Writing in India||Get Paid for Fiction|
Developped an interest in screenplay writing
May 4, 2004
Hello. My name is Simon, and as of only days ago, I've developped an interest in screenplay writing. The reason being, I came up with a great premise for a film, but have absolutely no idea how to begin. Would you have any tips for me, as I believe this story is one that could make a huge impact on the cinematic world, although I have no training in the style of screen writing.
Anyways, I hope you might have some words of advice for an aspiring writter.
Simon - Canada (3212)
The first thing to do is to write up a several page summary of your idea. This is called a "treatment" and is often used in selling a script. Since it is only a few pages long, it is easy to update as you develop your script.
Check out http://www.moviescriptsandscreenplays.com/ to find some sample scripts in your genre' that you can look at for the style used. Also check the resources at http://www.school-for-champions.com/writing/screenref.htm.
Getting a book on screen writing can give you a good number of tips on plotting and sturcturing your story.
You can either write out your story as a screenplay script or you can simply write the story and then change to format it later. The script is typically 120 pages long.
Although some have sold an idea or a treatment, it usually is best to write out the script to try to sell. Also, it may get you some other writing jobs.
Best wishes in your writing.
Shy about writing
April 20, 2004
I have never taken a professional writing course though I studied literature in college.I have written shyly on the web but what I really need is a forum whereby, I can acqwuire polish and skill enough to be a professional writer.I am terrified.Can you help?
Nyambura - Kenya (3064)
You don't necessarily have to take a course to become a professional writer, but it is good to study the craft. A course can force you to write, plus you can also have your material critiqued.
One area where you can write your thoughts on the web is through blogs. One site for that is at www.blogger.com. There is also one on writing fiction at http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/fiction/. There are also some sites that will publish your works.
But really, I am sure you would like to do more serious writing than just your thoughts. My suggestion is to look close to home. See if a local newspaper will publish a short essay or story. It is a good way to get your feet wet in writing. Also look at your college publication as an outlet.
It is always good to start small. Starting with very short stories or articles, you can easily work to polish them, such that someone will publish the material. Also short pieces are easier to get published than long.
The big thing is to write, write, write.
Best wishes. I am sure you will soon become a champion writer.
Please provide the answers to your questions
April 14, 2004
I found your site to be informative and interesting. However, could you please provide the answers to your questions in the quiz to assure the reader that they have the correct answers. I reviewed the material a second time to assure that my answers were indeed correct, and maybe that is your intent! But, if it is not, please provide the answers to the quizzes.
Glennice - USA (3004)
Thanks for your feedback. If a person get a wrong answer in a quiz, he or she can try another button until the correct answer is found. Since this is not a graded test, it is meant only as a learning tool.
Competing with friend over vocabulary skills
April 13, 2004
I got all three questions correct.I'm 14 years old, and I would like to become aa writer of some sort. I was thinking more a journalist, I know what it includes as I have looked it up on the internet countless times! I'm hoping to improve my vocablary alot, because at this point in time my vocablary is very limited! But there is one problem, my best friend( whom I have been best friends with for 9 years) also wnats to become a writer.She is much more advanced in English than me, and I all ready feel her trying to compeat with me. I know it will be very competitve , but I dont want us to stop being best friends because of this competiveness. I admit , I am jealous of her. But I am hoping to be just as cleaver as her, and may be learn a few tips. What other writing jobs do you recomend?
Zoe - England (2994)
Note that there are many types of writers for all the different audiences. A journalist typically does not use difficult words, because the readers are at all levels. Knowing the correct simple word are more important. On the other hand, a writer in a literary magazine must have a very good vocabulary.
But still, you do want to build up your vocabulary. Instead of competing with your friend, be thankful that you have a friend who is advanced. By conversing with her, you will naturally build up your own vocabulary. That is much better than hanging out with someone who is stupid.
Don't compete. Instead form a pact that you both will become famous writers. Avoid competing and aim in different directions.
A person can write fiction or nonfiction. Fiction writing includes books, magazine articles, poetry, TV and movies. Nonfiction includes newspapers, books, magazines, speeches, and corporate writing.
One place to look is at http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/teen_writers.
Best wishes in your writing career.
Writing a script
March 31, 2004
how can i finish 105 scenes script within 6-months
akosa - USA (2889)
A movie script is usually about 120 pages. 105 scenes seems like a lot of scenes for a script. Do you mean pages?
First outline your script to define the plot and what is going to happen. If you write only 2 pages a day, you will finish in time and be able to edit and refine the script.
Sent in a script outlien
March 13, 2004
September 10 - 2001
Scene 1 –
advisor to the president – our operative has penetrated a secret terrorist cell. He says an airplane high jack will take place but he isn’t sure where – it may be Denver or it may be Chicago.
President – (smiling) well that’s the kind of work we really need around here. Just take care that we don’t make a mess of it. I don’t want to see a lot of passengers shot up getting them evil doers (sic)
Advisor – don’t worry sir we’ll use the utmost care.
robert - USA (2696)
What you have is the beginning of a screenplay treatment. Besides this 1-page teaser, you will need at least a 6-page treatment to get an agent interested. It probably isn't a bad idea to write the whole 120 page script and then try to sell it.
Since you live in Van Nuys, you are in a perfect location to get an agent. Check out the Hollywood Reporter and Variety to see what is happening in the business.
Learn the format of a TV or movie script. See http://www.school-for-champions.com/writing/screenref.htm for a list of references and books to look into.
Then call up some agents in town and try to get them to read your script.
Best wishes in your efforts.
Has weakness in spelling and grammar
March 2, 2004
i have problem writing and i want to improve it my weekness part is grammber and spilling and also to bring idea, what to write about Amean is there any help that i can improve with this problem some help in through website that i can just go and pritice?
Lia - USA (2576)
The best tool that I have found is to use a word processor like Microsoft Word that has an automatic spell-checker and grammar-checker.
When the program highlights a word that is incorrectly spelled with a red line, you should write that word down in a notebook, so that you will remember the correct spelling.
When the program highlights incorrect grammar with a green line, check to see the explanation.
Short of having a teacher check your writing, that is the best way to learn.
Wants to be published from New Zealand
February 13, 2004
I am very impressed and need all the help one can get out of writing short stories. If I could get at lest one of my stories printed that would be great.
have been writing off and on for years but am rather rusty.But have not really tried to sell any as it is the rejected paert that puts me off.
Sally - (2356)
A writer wanting to get published must have a thick skin. It is often easier to get a short-short story published, and there isn't has much work needed.
The first market is in some local magazines. See if they will publish something by you. The second place to look is in the New Zealand version of Writer's Market book. That lists many magazines and what they are looking for.
One nice thing about writing is that if one can't use your story, the next one might. Just don't take it personal. There often is no rhyme or reason to what they select.
Best wishes in your efforts.
Has problems with co-worker criticizing her writin
February 11, 2004
I am in a job which requires a lot of writing. There is a co-worker in my department who keeps telling me I need to take a writing class. She's been at the same job for 6 years or more and therefore she think her way of writing is the best. I know I lack in self confidence when it comes to my writing skills. I have a 4 year college degree but it's been almost 30 years since I've had to write. I have convinced myself that I'm a poor writer. You see, this co-worker, takes and picks my writing apart and partically rewrites anything which is shown to her. Keep in mind, I didn't ask her to go over my writing. How do I get her to stop picking my work apart when she hasn't been asked to rewrite it?
I mentioned to her I was thinking about taking a writing class to refresh and improve my skills. She automatically jump right in and told me that the schools I attended must not have had very good English and Writing teachers. Than she turned around and sent me your web sight. I feel this was a good move, but it bothers me the way she did it.
How can I get it across to her,I'm capable in writing my own memos without her rewording or correcting them?
From what I have already read, this type of person is one that you stay away from if you are trying to build your self-esteem in writing. I really can't stay away from her since we work so close, so what do I do?
I know part of this comes from my telling her that I want to improve my writing skills.
Can you tell me if this is a class and is there anyone who can look over what I write and give any suggestion on how to improve my skills and self-esteem?
People must use care in criticizing the work of others. Although she is probably well-meaning, this is simply a way for her to build herself up. Unfortunately, it is at your expense.
Since you have indicated to her that you have doubts about your writing ability, she is jumping in to try to help you. But she is doing too much.
Unless she is specifically told to proof-read and edit your work, you're just going to have to tell her to please leave your writing alone. It is almost as if she would start to criticize how you dress and want to do a complete make-over on you.
On the other hand, you may be able to pick up pointers from what she edits. That doesn't mean you need to follow everything she suggests. And everyone hates it when someone else tears their writing apart.
Taking a class in writing might not be a bad idea. But it is tough to be spending all day writing and then go to class to write some more.
The big thing is that you use the spell-checker and proof-read your wrting before it goes out. If your boss isn't complaining, then you don't need to worry. But one area of concern is if your co-worker tells your boss that you need a lot of help.
It is a tough problem. Certainly, you shouldn't confide in her about any doubts you may have. In fact, your writing seemed fine to me. If you tell her it isn't necessary to edit your material, she may say, "Oh, yes it is." It is worth a try, and if she continues, then don't pay any attention to what she suggests. Note that apparently, she isn't very busy in her job.
Anyway, don't let her comments or editing get you down. As long as you're doing your best and willing to learn, that is all that can be expected of you. Also, take a look at http://www.school-for-champions.com/writing/esteem.htm.
My dream to be a best selling author
February 9, 2004
I am so thrilled to discover this site, I stumbled upon it so to say accidentally, if you can refer a google search for writing as that. I am so excited, I am a writer, have been all my life.
I started early since my parents encouraged the reading culture in my family while I was a kid, I can't remember a single day back then when I didn't get to read a book.
This helped me a great deal as the writing skill of the authors I read appealed to me and young as I was then I didnt want anything so much as the desire to be a best selling Author.
I have never done any course in writing all my life, it came naturally. Like I said earlier on, I cultivated the culture of reading early enough, so that while I was in junior school, I had read up all the literature novels and story books recommended for my class and that of the senior school way ahead of the teacher.
I believe reading is the secret of my writing career. I remember while I was about to write English exams in high school, while my mates were running around with books like "English without tears" I kept on reading fictions.
This is simply because English language will test usage. Good books combine words to form sentences. The reader sees firsthand how best a good sentence is constructed. I wrote the exam and emerged the best student in a class of over 200 students.
I scaled through the university in glowing colours. I studied Philosophy, again my reading skill came to play, My exam were written so well the lecturers were always impressed. I remember one of my lecturers invited me to his office and congratulated me for a good write up.
I graduated and landed a writing job in a magazine publishing outfit, all I needed to show were my write-ups while in school and I got the job.That was three years ago, since then I have worked with three different publishing outfits and its been so wonderful.
My dream to be a best selling author has not been accomplished, nevertheless, each day of my life gets me nearer to this dream. My writing skill improves daily. I have written so many poems and short stories.
I am elated by the good work you are doing by this site. I really want to be a part of this wonderful idea. I will be sending my contributions in a few days time.
Please let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance to this great venture. Writing for me is a passion. Daily I get more and more addicted and I just enjoy this greatly. I thank God for this wonderful gift!
Bola - Nigeria (2317)
Thanks for sharing your experiences. And I'm glad to hear of your successes and passion for writing.
Constantly working at the writing craft through reading and writing is an important step in becoming an accomplished writer. The biggest problem in becoming a published author or a best selling writer is to be able to market and sell what you write.
Working at a magazine publishing company can help you find out what it takes for a submission to be accepted. Magazine articles can lead to getting a book published.
Our mission is in improving the knowledge and character of our readers, as well as getting people to contribute to helping others. We would be glad to have your assistance in our efforts.
How do I get my stories published and made into a
January 16, 2004
I have written several Comedy Adventures, and would like them published and they would make GREAT movies, for ALL ages.
Can you please advise me on what I need to do?
I do NOT want to pay a fee to go to school, I want ligiteament advice.
Judy - (1967)
A good place to start is with the "Writer's Market" book. You can get one from the library or bookstore. It will give you a listing of agents, magazine publishers and book publishers. It also goes through some procedures to market your material.
Getting a magazine article published--perhaps on part of your adventures is a good start. You won't make much money, but it gives you credibility. You can also try to get a book published.
If you want to sell a screenplay, you definitely need an agent. Also, think in terms or someone investing $10 million to make a movie. So, you really have to convince someone to make that investment. Most screenplays requires you to be in Los Angeles to get an agent and to sell the script.
Start with Writer's Market. That has a lot of good information about what to do.
Best wishes in your writing career.
Wants to be a professional writer
January 15, 2004
My name is Tiffany Cozby and I am 16 years old. I've been writeing fiction since I was little and have dreamed of being professional. My teacher, who has read a series of my short stories is absolutely fascinated by them and tells me I have potential to start a career in fiction. I need to know what I have to do to make you feel the same way about my writeing.
Right now I'm in the beguinings of a fictional story that I beleive has great potential and getting it published would fulfill a dream that I've had since I knew how to spell. This is the first attempt I've made to get my work published, and if you are interested in sampleing my writeing so I could get at least an opinion, please contact me soon.
Thank you very much
Tiffany A. Cozby
Tiffany - (1954)
Instead of getting another opinion, take a shot and try getting published. You can find some good information about writing and getting published from:
You can also submit some stories at: http://www.teenink.com/Submissions/
Another possibility is:
This would be a start at getting your material published.
Important note: Be sure to use a spell-checker before you submit material to any magazine. Also, have someone proof-read it for good grammar and punctuation. You had a number of misspellings in this email. That would not be good in a submitted story.
Best wishes in your career as a professional writer. Let me know how things turn out.
Confused how to write an essay
January 14, 2004
I am writing on the potentiality of farming. i.e on animals
what do i do? am confuse
kabir - (1932)
Your subject cannot be vague or just "about" something. Write the theme or topic as a specific question. Like: "What are the benefits of having animals on a farm?"
Then list all the benefits you can think of. Pick the best 3 and write the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Then draw a conclusion of your agruments and summarize what you ahve written.
I hope this helps you.
December 24, 2003
what is the basic principle of story generator?
oktia - (1693)
Taking a simple plot for a story, the main characters are selected randomly from a list. Likewise, various verbs, adjectives, and adverbs are selected randomly. Then those words are displayed to make the story.
Random selection was done using ColdFusion language, but it could be programmed in other languages.
Writing in India
December 17, 2003
I would like to know how to put my dreams, thoughts and life fantasies into writing so that I can sell. At times these weird ideas creep up in my head but I just could not put it to paper. I strongly believe that if I could do this I can pursue a career in writing and make a lot of money out of it, by not only selling these books to the readers but also to put them to the film-screen.
Where can I learn to attain a writer's qualites?
Jerry Lyngdoh - (1626)
It is good to try to write down your ideas right away, before you lose them. You can carry a small tape recorder with you for times when you aren't able to write things down.
Improve your skill by writing very short stories. You may be able to get them published oor even sold in magazines. Also, you may be able to use the material later in a book or movie script.
India has the largest movie industry in the world. The pay is not as great as in Hollywood, but there are more opportunities for script writers.
Writers write as much as they can. The main writer's quality is the love of writing. Look at samples of writing in magazines, books and scripts to learn the style used in each area. Then use that as a guide in your own writing.
Best wishes in your writing career.
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