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The Amateur Writer - The Motive Center
September 11th, 2004
10:52 pm

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The Amateur Writer

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From:kamenkyote
Date:September 11th, 2004 08:14 pm (UTC)
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Hey, Steve! Wish you'd told me about the LJ! So. I read the first paragraphs here and wondered how you were going to prove that it was impossible to be an amateur writer. Seems that wasn't exactly your point! Still, I think "amateur writer" is just as valid a term as "amateur painter" (which I consider myself) as is "hobbyist writer." When I was learning to be a magician (a LONG time ago), I was told that the difference between an amateur and a pro was that the pro earned at least half his or her income from said occupation. That's seemed to be a decent divider between the terms for me. While it doesn't address issues such as conviction and drive, there are some indicators as to polish and quality.

I would also disagree that published novels based on existing ideas, be they shows, movies, radio plays or what have you would be considered "fan fiction" if only for the reason that they're sanctioned by the original creators. There are details and issues that have to remain consistant and are not easily changed or bandied about by the author if said author did not originally create the body of work on which the novel's based. One could also argue that being published and being paid for same excludes such a work from the "fan fiction" category. This isn't necessarily an indication of quality on either side, but it was my understanding that "fan fiction" was produced by and for fans without necessary regard to the creators. Correct me if I'm wrong here. :)

Anyway, howdy and howdy to the whole family! Neat idea for a livejournal!

-mike
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From:stevekelner
Date:September 11th, 2004 08:39 pm (UTC)

Amateur or not?

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Hey, Mike! I agree that "amateur writer" is a valid term--my point is that most people don't acknowledge it as so, and we should. There are a lot of things attached to the word "professional," including quality issues, being paid at all, etc. Your criteria of "half his or her income" would, sadly, exclude many if not most of the published writers I know...

I want to draw a different line than you did on fan fiction as well. If a writer is working in someone else's universe, particularly if they don't have to (which fits things like Poul Anderson writing a Man-Kzin War story), it's a kind of fan fiction--you're a fan of someone else's world and writing in it. Not that I disagree with your points in general, but I was trying to link fan fiction with published works and show they are not impossibly far apart!
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