Do we need to have a college degree to become a novelist?

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  1. cianeko profile image87
    cianekoposted 6 years ago

    Do we need to have a college degree to become a novelist?

  2. gypzeeme profile image60
    gypzeemeposted 6 years ago

    Absolutely not!!!!  If you are a student of life and can express what is in your head and heart you can most definitely be a novelist....  You may wish to smooth out your style through attending some workshops and reading the works of other novelists....but the conveyance of emotion, experience and the ability to "paint a literary portrait" are, in my opionion, the necessary gifts.

  3. Dean Traylor profile image93
    Dean Traylorposted 6 years ago

    Not necessarily, but it can help. Due to draconian budget cuts and the emphasis on teaching pure academics -- such as Language, Science, and Math -- in the public schools, they rarely have a class for creative writing. Colleges at every level (community college or university) do.  They can give a budding novelist the education and tool to get started.

    Still, some people are natural story-tellers. They may have acquired the ability to put together a great story and have perfected a prose-writing style that can communicate well to the masses.

    If anything, college programs can help those either (1) want to know more about the business side of creating a novel; (2) to learn more techniques in writing prose; (3) to eventually become a teacher or instructor in creative writing;  or (4) to further one’s knowledge in various fields (thus, have more topics to base your writing on). 

    Still, educating one’s self by reading and writing is the most important road to take. It doesn’t matter how much college training you receive. If you don’t expand and practice on your own, nothing will matter.

  4. dohn121 profile image81
    dohn121posted 6 years ago

    Absolutely not.  And this is coming from someone who has a Bachelor's in Creative Writing!  You do however need to know the ins and outs of publishing to get published.  If you're planning to do just that then you need to have a viable agent who will get your work known to others.  And the way in which you get an literary agent is by building up a resume of your works--I'd start with contests and literary journal.  Once you do, your work won't be deemed "unsolicited."  Anyone can write a novel but not everyone can get published outside of self-publishing.

  5. SylviaSky profile image95
    SylviaSkyposted 6 years ago

    Absolutely not. Good novelists have come from all walks of life. What college gives you is a disciplined mind. That's very valuable for a novelist.

  6. MeagDub profile image79
    MeagDubposted 6 years ago

    No, there is no college degree requirement for becoming a novelist. I don't think you can even get a major for that, though you can of course major in English (or whatever language)  and/or creative writing. To write a novel, all you need is a story idea, probably an outline, and the dedication to sit down and write. At least, that is what I understand.

  7. hawaiianodysseus profile image78
    hawaiianodysseusposted 6 years ago

    I am a college graduate, but I can tell you from my experience that the only degree one would ever need to become a novelist is the one that life itself hands you.

    Not unlike the manner in which an oyster is so irritated by the presence of a grain of sand that it secretes such a buildup of lubricants that then become a magnificent pearl, more often than not, the challenges and pain you encounter in life can be fodder for some wonderful writing.

    If I'm not mistaken, none of the following famous authors had college degrees (well, maybe they received honorary degrees because of their literary contributions, but you know what I mean):

    William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Dylan Thomas, Agatha Christie, and--yes--even J. K. Rowling!

    Great question, cianeko! I learned some new things as a result of researching an answer for you. Thanks for sharing!

  8. profile image0
    girltalksshopposted 6 years ago

    There have been many authors who have not obtained a college education to write their all important novel. So, I would have to say 'no'. I am sure it helps to have the knowledge of professional writing behind ones belt, for the editing process, etc. But although I did take a correspondence course in writing to help me learn some of the tricks of the trade, I think writing can be accomplished without it. Just saying...: )

  9. drmiddlebrook profile image93
    drmiddlebrookposted 6 years ago

    This Hub examines the fundamentals of what it takes to write your first novel. The author/teacher wrote this article after being asked hundreds of times: "Do I need a college degree to write a novel?" read more

  10. silvatungfox profile image73
    silvatungfoxposted 6 years ago

    Harry Truman to Mark Twain, success is not based on a college degree. A college degree is a paper that states you have been fed a certain base curriculum in a given set of subjects. There are websites that list by last name drop outs who have  to current values had success in their life be it in writing or any other endeavor from acting to politics.   A college degree can be of great value as it is a way for strangers to verify you have at least a set of data that should correspond to their needs of you as an employee.  Most folks think inside the box of being an employee. It is safer than striking out on one's own and being responsible for all aspects of your success or failure.  Couple of things to think about, if you never give up you cannot ever really fail.  What you perceive as failure is one more lesson towards your success, whatever you learned is what is of value.
    It is probably true that everyone has at least one book in them.

  11. M. T. Dremer profile image94
    M. T. Dremerposted 6 years ago

    I do think that a college degree helps. Other than being exposed to a wider pool of literature, college also provides strong workshops that are invaluable when it comes time to edit your work. But it isn't a requirement. In my mind, the only requirements for being a successful novelist are a passion for reading/writing and the perseverance to see it done.

  12. donabhatt profile image78
    donabhattposted 6 years ago

    Not really.. at least I don't feel so. One just need the ability to imagine, words to express to make it sound real. And all those are in born talents and cannot be taught.  In college degree one can only learn grammar and the right way to write a sentence.

  13. katyzzz profile image59
    katyzzzposted 6 years ago

    Definitely not, and I see there are very comprehensive answers here, so there is no need to say more.  Good Luck.

  14. tajman profile image70
    tajmanposted 6 years ago

    Nope. I think you need to have a flare for expression and passion for the written word.  Novelist can help you visualize through their words.  They tickle your senses and cause your memories and knowledge to become your experience as you read. I don't think a college degree can really teach you that.

  15. thebaldmen profile image70
    thebaldmenposted 6 years ago

    Absolutely not! Just read and write every day and you will get better. Same as everything else in life.The more you do it, the better you get!!

  16. profile image0
    Starmom41posted 6 years ago

    nope-  all you need is a true love of writing, something to say, and to be motivated enough to do it.

  17. nochance profile image92
    nochanceposted 6 years ago

    College gives you a lot of tools through disciplined classes but you can find everything you need to know on the internet and by joining the right sites and writing groups.

    And now, with the advent of self-publishing, anyone can publish a book easily and cheaply. It's easier and cheaper to publish an e-book.


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