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What type of classes should i take in college to become a sucessful writer?

I am a high school junior. I have always loved to read, and i love to write poetry. I want to write fiction or fantasy novels when i get older. I just want to know what steps should i do now before i finish highschool to prepare for the classes i should take in college. writing reading fiction poetry fantasy

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Dan’s Answer

I think before you finish high school, you'll want to make sure that you research the Colleges you're considering to make sure they have a program that meets your needs. I'd look to make sure they have a writing related major, the strength of that major, if it seems like they have many well regarded published authors as faculty, and the quality of their literary magazine or newspaper. Many colleges with good programs will have a writing minor as part of a Major in English. Writing also encompasses many different career paths, whether you want to be a fiction writer, screenwriter, journalist etc is going to shape your decisions in which college to attend if you've made that decision. Once you've declared a major, most colleges require you to take a pretty broad amount of core curriculum classes, including several requiring you to read and analyze a significant amount of "classic" books. Reading well, and learning from great writers is extremely important to becoming a good writer, but it does mean that most of the classes you take at least your first year of college will be dictated by the University. In these core classes, I'd try to sign up for classes that have professors you're most interested in, or who are published author's themselves. Take lots of writing workshops, whenever you have the opportunity to, as that's what will most improve your own writing. Studying writing is really something you get out what you put in, so as much as you can, really try to foster relationships with professors you connect with, see if they can connect you to valuable experiences or internships, and absolutely get involved with the campus literary magazine or newspaper. The more actual experience you get writing, and publishing that writing in college, the better suited you'll be to pursue your writing career upon graduation.

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David’s Answer

Hamanda, I think one of the most important things you can do as a writer is to READ. There is so much you can learn from good writers by reading their works, taking note of things that stand out - their sentence structure, their vocabulary, their use of dialogue, their character development - and trying to emulate the things you like in your own work. Writing and reading go hand-in-hand, so I would prepare for college by immersing yourself in your loves - fantasy and fiction - from both the reading and writing perspectives.

Do you have friends with similar interests? (Maybe not the writing, but the reading?) Get a book club started, so that you have a regular avenue to read, discuss and analyze. See if you can find a writing group, too, if you're interested. Maybe 3, 4 or 5 people who like to write - you take turns submitting work to each other (maybe just a few pages of work, or a chapter in a novel) and giving each other feedback. As writers, we sometimes get stuck "inside" our stories and our characters, that it's outsiders who can take an objective perspective who benefit our work the most.

To go with what Dan said above, do your homework on colleges you're looking at. Also, do research on where some of your favorite authors went to school! There may be some common threads there. And it never hurts to send an email or message to your favorite authors - whether through the publisher, a Facebook page or some other official avenue. You might be surprised that some might write back!

I think the best way to plot out a path for yourself is to see how those who've traveled that same path before you have done it. Good luck!

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Judy’s Answer

Hi I agree with David to immerse yourself in reading the books you like to see what the genre of fantasy and fiction is all about. I do a bit of writing - non-fiction, nothing published like a book or ebook but 2 blogs, some online reviews, a couple of articles I did freelance. Get yourself out there. Put pen to paper and write something! I read some advice from a blogger once that said, I'm paraphrasing here - commit yourself to write 500-1000 words a day, even if 99% of it is unusable because in the end you will have a book's worth of 1% gems.

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Shreya’s Answer

I'd definitely recommend taking a Writing Workshop class. In a writing workshop, you'll write short stories or other works, and give them to your peers to critique. In return, you'll also critique their work and learn to appreciate what makes for a good story.

If your college doesn't offer such classes, you could always look on and see if there are any writing workshop meetups in your city.