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LadyX
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:05:03 AM

Rank: Artistic Tart

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,827
What do you consider the qualities of a "real" writer? Are there professional writers that you would not consider "real writers", and if so, why?

This came up in another (sort of hilarious) thread, in a side discussion about whether or not writers of erotic stories are "real writers". Somebody brought up E.L. James, which made me cringe because of the bit I was able to read before I couldn't take it anymore, 50 Shades of Grey sucks ass*. I'm happy that it's made her so much money, and all of that, but it's a hack job in my opinion. Other than loose association with Twilight, I'm mystified by how popular her writing has become.

But even if one agrees with that assessment (and many do), does that somehow not make her a "real writer"?

When we say somebody's "not a real writer", are we really meaning to say that they're simply not a very good writer?





*at least, by the standard of what I'd expect from published literature that I pay money for, let alone considering its popularity. This is not to claim that I would prove to be less of a hack; I'm sure I wouldn't fare any better quality-wise, but then again, I'm not trying to earn a living doing it.
clum
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:18:33 AM

Rank: Clumeleon

Joined: 5/13/2011
Posts: 4,535
Location: Edinburgh, United Kingdom
I remember MagnificentRascal once spoke about the time that someone asked her what she did and she answered, "I'm a writer," and believed it herself. I think someone who is able to do that would be a fair definition of a "real writer", if we had to define it.

I know I made a comment about E.L. James in the other thread but that was really just a comment on my view of the quality of her writing. She should be incredibly proud of what she has achieved and I'm pretty sure she believes she's a writer.

I don't think that genre should come into it at all. Factual writers are just as "real" as those who write fiction; erotica writers are just as "real" as those who write non-erotica (is there a word for that?). Nor do I think that whether or not you are published is relevant.

Writers know that they are writers. I hope that, one day, I'll be able to do what Maggie did.

Every day is a school day.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:36:04 AM

Rank: Alpha Blonde

Joined: 2/17/2010
Posts: 6,274
Location: West Coast
If E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer aren't "real writers" then sign me up for that non-writer paycheque, please!

Yes, of course they are writers. I am not a fan of their writing style and skills but say what you want about them - they have managed to capture the attention and imagination of legions of readers. There's only so much you can chalk up to chance and the marketing/promotion push behind them. Clearly they are doing something right. They are commercial writers that know how to appeal to the masses - most of which are not interested in reading high-end literature and pulitzer prize winning prose. They want escapism and entertainment. The authors know their audience (the authors themselves are/were the exact demographic they are appealing to), so they are able to churn out exactly what their readers want to hear and in exactly the kind of language they can easily digest.

I think sometimes there is a bit of elitist snobbery at work when we try to classify what a 'real writer' is. To me - if someone is getting paid to read what comes out of someone's head in literate form, then yes, they are a writer. If someone isn't getting paid for what they produce but feel, in their soul, the desire/need to spin fiction or non-fiction for others to enjoy or consume, then they are also writers.

Being a 'writer' is a broad umbrella term. Quality, levels of success and preferred genre/style are all subcategories and subjective perceptions from there.


seeker4
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:39:48 AM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 10/17/2012
Posts: 3,487
Location: Gone walkabout, Canada
Erotic writers are real if they take their writing seriously as a vocation/calling/hobby/whatever role it plays in their lives. They develop their plots and characters, craft their prose, and edit until it's perfect. Being a "real" writer has nothing to do with what you write, but how you approach the writing. M. R. James was first a foremost and college professor who wrote stories and therefore was something of an amateur as a fiction writer. Likewise H. P. Lovecraft, who actually felt that professional writing (meaning writing for pay) was beneath him and a necessity rather than something desirable. He wanted to be a gentleman amateur and tried to make his living doing editing, proofreading, and revising for other writers. Today, these two rank among the most influential writers in the history of horror fiction, but by some definitions of "real" writer, they weren't "real" writers in that they weren't interested in being "professionals". They certainly were, though. Those definitions are wrong.

Now, someone who spends ten minutes knocking off their latest wet dream and posting it to their blog for their buddies to stroke to is not, to my mind, a "real" writer. There's no craft involved, no effort to maximize return for the reader. Just someone playing around.

The writers I read on here, while they may not achieve greatness in their prose, at least seem serious about making that prose readable and interesting. Maybe there's some half-arsed stroke stuff around here but I'm not finding it. Lushers are real writers, IMHO, and I am rather humbled to be among that group because I actually don't think of myself as a real writer, just a dabbler in prose.


Stories that satisfy about people seeking satisfaction

Satisfaction in the Park

Satisfaction in the Library
overmykneenow
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 9:52:32 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 6/8/2010
Posts: 1,022
Location: United Kingdom
A couple of evenings a month I get together with a group of my friends and we play a game of 5-a-side football - does that make me a footballer? I could come with arguments as why I could be and also why I'm definitely not but there's no clear distinction as what would be the right thing to call me.

EL James wrote something that millions of people identified with enough that they paid good money to read it. Whether that makes her a "good" writer is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Popular culture doesn't insist that you have to be good - just entertaining enough to keep the money coming in. There's no easier way to become successful than by making money for other people.

Publishing has never been as easy as it is now and it's changing every day, as are the definitions of "author" or "writer". We live in interesting times.

Warning: The opinions above are those of an anonymous individual on the internet. They are opinions, unless they're facts. They may be ill-informed, out of touch with reality or just plain stupid. They may contain traces of irony. If reading these opinions causes you to be become outraged or you start displaying the symptoms of outrage, stop reading them immediately. If symptoms persist, consult a psychiatrist.

Why not read some stories instead

NEW! Want a quick read for your coffee break? Why not try this... Flash Erotica: Scrubber
Guest
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:53:15 AM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 537,330
In line with the aforementioned thread I still maintain that if you write something you are a writer. However, to state on a passport that your job is writing and you have written two stories or essays or novels (unpublished perhaps?) Then perhaps a review may be needed.
OMNK, yes, when playing five a side you are a footballer whilst you are playing, it may not be your job or you may not be very good, but a footballer you are at that time.

Of course how we define words is perhaps the key point and I guess it could be described as semantics.

I believe there is a thread relating to over rated authors, there is a huge amount of discussion and comment there. Good, classic, popular, well written are all subjective terms.

I'm not a fan of Wuthering Heights, yet the Bronte sister is clearly a writer.

I am still of the opinion that real writers are those that write (in any form or medium) Sprite is a writer, DD is a writer, OMNK, E L James is a writer as is Stephanie Meyer, hey even Dan Brown is a writer, and I read LadyX's rage cage comment and that was certainly writing in my view.

Those are my thoughts.
Cheerio

Answerng the OP, I do think real writers and how people may describe them will depend a lot on if they "rate" them.
Tranquil
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 11:59:34 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 1/31/2013
Posts: 2,196
Location: Curled up in front of a beautiful fire
In my humble view: Anyone, who puts pen to paper, fingers to keyboards and let their imagination or technical knowhow take over is a writer.
anyone who is published is a successful author as they had the guts to put their work out there for the world to like or hate.

http://www.lushstories.com/stories/erotic-poems/my-mother-warned-me-1.aspx



[i]Poem : The Cyber Touch http://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-poems/the-cyber-touch.aspx
Poem : The Last Moments http://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-poems/the-last-moments.aspx
Story : One day only http://www.lushstories.com/stories/oral-sex/one-day-only.aspx
Poem: My Toy http://www.lushstories.com/stories/erotic-poems/my-toy.aspx#comments/i]


DirtyMartini
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:26:29 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

Joined: 10/19/2009
Posts: 5,790
Location: Right here on Lush Stories..., United States
LadyX wrote:


This came up in another (sort of hilarious) thread, in a side discussion about whether or not writers of erotic stories are "real writers".



Suppose somebody writes both erotic and non-erotic stories...does that mean they're real writers on some days, and on other days they're not? Or, are they just totally messed up in the head?

Btw...that forum thread is so entertaining, I think we should talk Nic into packaging it as the next Lush eBook...

Might be a best seller actually...Regaeman Man


You know you want it, you know you need it bad...get it now on Amazon.com...
Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

crazydiamond
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:34:09 PM

Rank: Clever Gem

Joined: 7/17/2011
Posts: 2,286
Location: Exactly where I should be!, Canada
DirtyMartini wrote:


Suppose somebody writes both erotic and non-erotic stories...does that mean they're real writers on some days, and on other days they're not? Or, are they just totally messed up in the head?

Btw...that forum thread is so entertaining, I think we should talk Nic into packaging it as the next Lush eBook...

Might be a best seller actually...Regaeman Man


Hey what about if you use invisible ink or a white typeface?? Then you must be a fake writer right? Write? kekekegay

LadyX
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 1:39:55 PM

Rank: Artistic Tart

Joined: 9/25/2009
Posts: 4,827
DirtyMartini wrote:


Suppose somebody writes both erotic and non-erotic stories...does that mean they're real writers on some days, and on other days they're not? Or, are they just totally messed up in the head?

Btw...that forum thread is so entertaining, I think we should talk Nic into packaging it as the next Lush eBook...

Might be a best seller actually...Regaeman Man


I couldn't agree more!
EDWolfe
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 3:32:57 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 2/5/2013
Posts: 1,033
Location: United States
When I saw that thread, one of the first thoughts I had was the central theme of this thread. I mean, I consider myself a real writer; I take my craft seriously. In fact, part of the reason I joined Lush was to get feedback on my work, something I've been missing since my USI days. Really, the only way a person can't be a "real writer" is if they don't write anything.

This does bring up another point, however. Am I a professional writer? No. I don't get paid for my work, and I'm not submitting for publication outside of Lush at this point. (I hope to publish some novels in the future.)

Am I a good writer? That is something that I have to leave up to my readers. I can tell you my opinion of my work, of course, but a "good writer" is an opinion. For example, I could tell you that I think Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, or Justin R. Macumber are good writers, but Nicole Louise Reid, Silver Ravenwolf, or Stephanie Meyer aren't good writers. However, that's my opinion. Silver Ravenwolf and Stephanie Meyer are both bestselling authors (Silver Ravenwolf in a specific subculture, but she is well-known), while Macumber is still not very well known by comparison. (He doesn't have a big studio movie, or TV commercials like James Patterson, at least.)
MrLosAngeles
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:31:38 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 2/11/2013
Posts: 484
Location: Marina del Rey, United States
It's a bit tricky, like being an artist. In my opinion, a "real writer" is a person who couldn't not write. It's a fulfilling part of their life, like breathing, more than a hobby, more than a job, more than a way to "get the perks". The motivation to "be a writer" can be focused or scattered. Some people write to have that lifestyle, whatever it may be. Some write as a kind of therapy. As for good or bad writers, I think there's a definite and obvious distinction. Many "good" writers are creative; most bad writers are not (they continue to use cliches, the same old situations, the same shallow characters, the same predictable formula dynamics). That doesn't mean they don't get published. In fact, most bad writers get published over good writers. Examples of bad writers are Ian Fleming (James Bond books), Stephen King, James Rollins, Clive Cusler, most novel series authors -- best sellers, but bad writers.
Examples of good writers are Charles Dickens, Dan Simmons, Neal Stephenson, and early Clive Barker. Also best sellers, but creative, innovative, surprising writers with a real sense of using the language to paint scenes and tell a story.

That said, I also have to mention "bad" readers. They're out there.
CurlyGirly
Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 6:37:03 PM

Rank: CurlyFries

Joined: 10/5/2012
Posts: 1,778
Location: United States
Dancing_Doll wrote:
If E.L. James and Stephenie Meyer aren't "real writers" then sign me up for that non-writer paycheque, please!

Yes, of course they are writers. I am not a fan of their writing style and skills but say what you want about them -they have managed to capture the attention and imagination of legions of readers. There's only so much you can chalk up to chance and the marketing/promotion push behind them. Clearly they are doing something right. They are commercial writers that know how to appeal to the masses - most of which are not interested in reading high-end literature and pulitzer prize winning prose. They want escapism and entertainment. The authors know their audience (the authors themselves are/were the exact demographic they are appealing to), so they are able to churn out exactly what their readers want to hear and in exactly the kind of language they can easily digest.

I think sometimes there is a bit of elitist snobbery at work when we try to classify what a 'real writer' is. To me - if someone is getting paid to read what comes out of someone's head in literate form, then yes, they are a writer. If someone isn't getting paid for what they produce but feel, in their soul, the desire/need to spin fiction or non-fiction for others to enjoy or consume, then they are also writers.

Being a 'writer' is a broad umbrella term. Quality, levels of success and preferred genre/style are all subcategories and subjective perceptions from there.


This!

I was surprised that people in the other thread said they didn't consider her a "real writer." I don't much care for her writing (insert rolling eyes here) or her books, but I certainly consider her a writer as well as Stephanie Meyer. Again, I don't care for their writing, but that doesn't mean they're not writers because of it.

I've written and co-written a few stories on Lush, but I definitely do NOT consider myself a writer, and I honestly don't aspire to be one. I wrote my first story to see if I could do it and it sort of evolved from there. I certainly don't feel a burning desire to write as a lot of authors seem to do. I prefer to read over write any day.



It won a potato. Aren't you intrigued?



EDWolfe
Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013 10:49:51 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 2/5/2013
Posts: 1,033
Location: United States
I had a thought earlier today that is relevant to this thread. In the fall of 2006, I took a fiction workshop class with a teacher who strongly believed that there were two types of writers. The most common writers write the most common material--genre fiction like science fiction, fantasy, Westerns, mystery, etc.--weren't as good as those who tried to be original and create "literary" fiction. She didn't say that writers of genre fiction weren't "real" writers necessarily, but the attitude she (and several of my classmates) had appeared to coincide with this sentiment. A lot of them seemed to think that genre fiction was more "juvenile."

I strongly disagreed with their positions; after all, one could apply literary principles to genre fiction and create truly unique stories. On the other hand, the elements that make literary fiction unique, in my opinion, make literary fiction its own genre The stories I wrote for this class were easily the worst stories I'd ever written, simply because I tend to create my own worlds instead of trying to recreate a real-world locale. (I've never been to New York, for example, so I wouldn't feel comfortable writing the details of New York as much.) The main point of my argument was well-illustrated in the teacher's own novel, which she listed as a required text for her class. Her story didn't appeal to me as a reader, and I never finished the novel. I simply didn't see why her book was better than Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide, or any of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
DLizze
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013 8:30:02 PM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 4/23/2011
Posts: 2,552
We had a similiar discussion among my fellow pit musicians today. As is often the case when a bunch of musicians join, who have not worked together before, we were discussing our "day" jobs. I am a licensed professional civil engineer. One of the others is a rocket scientist (she works for NASA, and was a project manager for the Hubble launch). Another is a neurosurgeon who works for National Institute of Health. A fourth member is a mathemetician at Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, and two others are attorneys. Yet we all are, (a) being paid, and (b) pretty darned good at playing the parts placed before us. So far as I know, I am the only one who was a musician in the US military service. So the question was, are we musicians? What constitutes a musician? We decided it is not level of achievement, nor is it being paid to perform, though those two things surely enter into it. ("Being paid for a service is prima facie evidence that one is a provider of that service," said one of the attorneys.)

But our conclusion was, it is our serious attitude toward the music and toward performance that made us musicians. I would respectfully suggest the same is true of writing, or for that matter, any other creative art form.


EDIT:
I like what someone here said about a writer being someone who couldn't NOT write. Under that criterion I am definitely a musician, but, although I have quite a few written pieces on here and on the sister "blue" site, I am not a writer. If I had to stop writing tomorrow, I would miss it, but it would not be the end of my world.

If I had to stop playing music ... Well, when that day comes, I hope to die immediatly. With any luck at all, I will play a performance (or a rehearsal) go home and to bed, and have a stroke and die in my sleep that night.

"There's only three tempos: slow, medium and fast. When you get between in the cracks, ain't nuthin' happenin'." Ben Webster
TxSwinger
Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:33:16 AM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 4/26/2012
Posts: 34
Location: United States
A 'real' writer is someone who takes what they do to heart. Putting personal ideas, fantasies, etc. to paper and making it come 'alive'. So basically, anyone can be a real writer - the distinction comes regarding whether or not they are a 'good' writer.
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