HOME Shopping PediaCard™ Directory Buy a PediaCard™ Advertise With Us Site Menu

Welcome to WritersPedia™ -- The Writers Encyclopedia

Our Mission:
Provide consumers with faster, easier access to the information, products and services they want.

We search the major search engines and remove the duplicates, the advertising sites, the pop-up ads, and anything that might harm your computer. Then we include all the related products and services in this easy-to-remember place where you can spend less time searching, and more time finding what you want.

Writer's News Links:

Powered by MediaPedia™

Writing and Writers:

Writing:
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of signs or symbols. It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and the recording of language via a non-textual medium such as magnetic tape audio.

Writing began as a consequence of the burgeoning needs of accounting. Around the 4th millennium BC, the complexity of trade and administration outgrew the power of memory, and writing became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form.

Writing as a Category:
Writing, more particularly, refers to two things: writing as a noun, the thing that is written; and writing as a verb, which designates the activity of writing. It refers to the inscription of characters on a medium, thereby forming words, and larger units of language, known as texts. It also refers to the creation of meaning and the information thereby generated. In that regard, linguistics (and related sciences) distinguishes between the written language and the spoken language. The significance of the medium by which meaning and information is conveyed is indicated by the distinction made in the arts and sciences. For example, while public speaking and poetry reading are both types of speech, the former is governed by the rules of rhetoric and the latter by poetics.

A person who composes a message or story in the form of text is generally known as a writer or an author. However, more specific designations exist which are dictated by the particular nature of the text such as that of poet, essayist, novelist, playwright, journalist, and more. A person who transcribes, translates or produces text to deliver a message authored by another person is known as a scribe, typist or typesetter. A person who produces text with emphasis on the aesthetics of glyphs is known as a calligrapher or graphic designer.

Writing is also a distinctly human activity. It has been said that a monkey, randomly typing away on a typewriter (in the days when typewriters replaced the pen or plume as the preferred instrument of writing) could re-create Shakespeare-- but only if it lived long enough (this is known as the infinite monkey theorem). Such writing has been speculatively designated as coincidental. It is also speculated that extra-terrestrial beings exist who may possess knowledge of writing. The fact is that the only known writing is human writing.

Means for Recording Information:
Wells argues that writing has the ability to "put agreements, laws, commandments on record. It made the growth of states larger than the old city states possible. The command of the priest or king and his seal could go far beyond his sight and voice and could survive his death".

Writers:
A writer is anyone who creates a written work, although the word more usually designates those who write creatively or professionally, or those who have written in many different forms. The word is almost synonymous with author, although somebody who writes, say, a laundry list, could technically be called the writer or author of the list, but not an author. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images, whether fiction or non-fiction.

A writer may compose in many different forms including (but certainly not limited to) poetry, prose, or music. Accordingly, a writer in specialist mode may rank as a poet, novelist, composer, lyricist, playwright, mythographer, journalist, film scriptwriter, etc. (See also: creative writing, technical writing and academic papers.)

Writers' output frequently contributes to the cultural content of a society, and that society may value its writerly corpus -- or literature -- as an art much like the visual arts (see: painting, sculpture, photography), music, craft and performance art as drama, theatre, opera, musical.

In the British Royal Navy, Writer is the trade designation for an administrative clerk.

An Honorific:
In some circles, "Writer" has become a term of station and significance beyond its original meaning. Like the Platonic "Philosopher," modernists edged the Writer (along with the "Artist") beyond a mere occupation to a state of being, a prophetic and exilic stance from which to observe and critique mainstream society. Americans like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Henry Miller found that they could become Writers only by leaving home and settling in expatriate communities abroad, especially in Paris. Writing thus became a transcendent act, a means to objective knowledge beyond the specific mores of particular societies and the point of departure for future movements and possibilities. For them, often, Writers are born and not made; as such, their whole being is taken to be infused with sacred purpose.

Arguably, the modernists' Writer is no longer possible in the postmodern condition. Recognizing that no particular viewpoint offers objective knowledge, postmodernism makes the transcendent observer and critic seem less plausible. In addition, the rise of media technologies that is part and parcel of postmodernist experience places the modernist Writer's printed word in competition with electronic media like television, film, video games, and the internet. In this context, literary artists have tended to recognize the commercialism and commodity built into their work. Rather than a transcendent purpose in itself, writing again becomes a means to an end. Dave Eggers, for instance, has used his success as an author for political purposes and to support other aspiring writers. While having learned from the modernists' suggestion that writing can be an agent for change and a definite vocation, postmodernists reject the objective stance and wonder what the particular perspectives of writers can contribute.

Types of Writers:

Author:
An author is defined both as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and as "one who sets forth written statements" in the Oxford English Dictionary. The first entry suggests that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. The second entry goes on to clarify that, when using the term author, the "anything" which is created is most usually associated with written work.

1. Legal Significance:
In copyright law, there is necessarily little flexibility as to what constitutes authorship. The United States Copyright Office defines copyright as "a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) to authors of "original works of authorship". Holding the title of "author" over any "literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, [or] certain other intellectual works" gives this person, the owner of the copyright, exclusive right to do or authorize any production or distribution of their work.

2. Literary Significance:
In literary theory, critics find complications in the term "author" beyond what constitutes authorship in a legal setting. In the wake of postmodern literature, critics such as Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault have examined the role and relevance of authorship to the meaning or interpretation of a text.

Barthes challenges the idea that a text can be attributed to any single author. He attests, in his essay "Death of the Author" (1968), that "it is language which speaks, not the author". The words and language of a text itself determine and expose meaning for Barthes, and not someone possessing legal responsibility for the process of its production. Every line of written text is a mere reflection of references from any of a multitude of traditions, or, as Barthes puts it, "the text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture"; it is never original. With this, the perspective of the author is removed from the text, and the limits formerly imposed by the idea of one authorial voice, one ultimate and universal meaning, are destroyed. The explanation and meaning of a work does not have to be sought in the one who produced it, "as if it were always in the end, through the more or less transparent allegory of the fiction, the voice of a single person, the author 'confiding' in us". The psyche, culture, fanaticism of an author can be disregarded when interpreting a text, because the words are rich enough themselves with all of the traditions of language. To expose meanings in a written work without appealing to the celebrity of an author, their tastes, passions, vices, is, to Barthes, to allow language to speak, rather than author.

Michel Foucault argues in his famous essay "What is an author?" (1969), that all authors are writers, but not all writers are authors. He states that "a private letter may have a signer--it does not have an author". For a reader to assign the title of author upon any written work is to attribute certain standards upon the text which, for Foucault, are working in conjunction with the idea of "the author function". Foucault's author function is the idea that an author exists only as a function of a written work, a part of its structure, but not necessarily part of the interpretive process. The author's name "indicates the status of the discourse within a society and culture", and at one time was used as an anchor for interpreting a text, a practice which Barthes would argue is not a particularly relevant or valid endeavor.

3. Relationship Between Author and Publisher:
A percentage calculated on a wholesale or a specific price and or a fixed amount on each book that is sold. Publishers, at times, reduced the risk of this type of arrangement, by agreeing only to pay this after a certain amount of copies had sold. In Canada this practice occurred during the 1890's, but was not commonplace until the 1920's.

4. Commissioned: Publishers made publication arrangements, and authors covered all expenses (today the practice of authors paying for their publications is often called vanity publishing, and is looked down upon by many publishers, even though it may have been a common and accepted practice in the past). Publishers would receive a percentage on the sale of every copy of a book, and the author would receive the rest of the money made.

Expanding upon Foucault's position, Alexander Nahamas writes that Foucault suggests "an author is whoever can be understood to have produced a particular text as we interpret it", not necessarily who penned the text. It is this distinction between producing a written work and producing the interpretation or meaning in a written work that both Barthes and Foucault are interested in. Foucault warns of the risks of keeping the author's name in mind during interpretation, because it could affect the value and meaning with which one handles an interpretation.

Novelist:
A novelist (from, Italian novella, Spanish novela, French nouvelle for "new", "news", or "short story of something new") today writes a long written, fictional, prose narrative. The seventeenth-century genre conflict between long romances and short novels, novellas, has brought definitions of both traditions into the modern usage of the term.

Ghostwriter:
A professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, or reports which are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written material. In music, ghostwriters are used in classical music, film composition, and popular music such as hip-hop. The ghostwriter is sometimes acknowledged by the author or publisher for their assistance.

The division of work between the ghostwriter and the credited author varies a great deal. In some cases, the ghostwriter is hired to polish and edit a rough draft or a mostly-completed manuscript. In this case, the outline, ideas and much of the language in the finished book or article are those of the credited author.

In other cases, a ghostwriter does most of the writing, using concepts and stories provided by the credited author. In this case, a ghostwriter will do extensive research on the credited author or their subject area of expertise. It is rare for a ghostwriter to prepare a book or article with no input from the credited author; at a minimum, the credited author usually jots down a basic framework of ideas at the outset or provides comments on the ghostwriter's final draft.

For an autobiography, a ghostwriter will interview the credited author, their colleagues, and family members, and find interviews, articles, and video footage about the credited author or their work.

For other types of non-fiction books or articles, a ghostwriter will interview the credited author and review previous speeches, articles, and interviews with the credited author, to assimilate their arguments and points of view.

Ghostwriters are hired for numerous reasons. In many cases, celebrities or public figures do not have the time, discipline, or writing skills to write and research a several-hundred page autobiography or "how-to" book. Even if a celebrity or public figure has the writing skills to pen a short article, they may not know how to structure and edit a several-hundred page book so that it is captivating and well-paced. In other cases, publishers use ghostwriters to increase the number of books that can be published each year under the name of well-known, highly marketable authors.

Hack Writer:
Hack writer is a colloquial, usually pejorative, term used to refer to a writer who is paid to write low-quality, quickly put-together articles or books "to order", often with a short deadline. In a fiction-writing context, the term is used to describe writers who are paid to churn out sensational, lower-quality "pulp" fiction such as "true crime" novels or "bodice ripping" erotic paperbacks. In journalism, the term is used to describe a writer who is deemed to operate as a "mercenary" or "pen for hire", expressing their client's political opinions in pamphlets or newspaper articles. So-called "hack writers" are usually paid by the number of words in their book or article; as a result, hack writing has a reputation for quantity taking precedence over quality.

If you have information or links that you would like included in WritersPedia™, please email us at: