The term "writer" is also used elsewhere in the arts — such as songwriter — but as a standalone "writer" normally refers to the creation of written language. Some writers work from an oral tradition. Writers can produce material across a number of genres, fictional or non-fictional.
Other writers use multiple media — for example, graphics or illustration — to enhance the communication of their ideas. Another recent demand has been created by civil and government readers for the work of non-fictional technical writers, whose skills create understandable, interpretive documents of a practical or scientific nature.
Some writers may use images drawing, painting, graphics or multimedia to augment their writing. In rare instances, creative writers are able to communicate their ideas via music as well as words. As well as producing their own written works, writers often write on how they write that is, the process they use ;  why they write that is, their motivation ;  and also comment on the work of other writers criticism.
Payment is only one of the motivations of writers and many are never paid for their work. The term writer is often used as a synonym of author , although the latter term has a somewhat broader meaning and is used to convey legal responsibility for a piece of writing, even if its composition is anonymous, unknown or collaborative. Writers choose from a range of literary genres to express their ideas.
Most writing can be adapted for use in another medium. For example, a writer's work may be read privately or recited or performed in a play or film. Satire for example, may be written as a poem, an essay, a film, a comic play, or a piece of journalism. The writer of a letter may include elements of criticism, biography, or journalism. Many writers work across genres. The genre sets the parameters but all kinds of creative adaptation have been attempted: novel to film; poem to play; history to musical.
Writers may begin their career in one genre and change to another. For example, historian William Dalrymple began in the genre of travel literature and also writes as a journalist. Many writers have produced both fiction and non-fiction works and others write in a genre that crosses the two. For example, writers of historical romances , such as Georgette Heyer , invent characters and stories set in historical periods. In this genre, the accuracy of the history and the level of factual detail in the work both tend to be debated. Some writers write both creative fiction and serious analysis, sometimes using different names to separate their work.
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Dorothy Sayers , for example, wrote crime fiction but was also a playwright, essayist, translator, and critic. I Will Write He had done for her all that a man could, And some might say, more than a man should, Then was ever a flame so recklessly blown out Or a last goodbye so negligent as this? Long letters written and mailed in her own head — There are no mails in a city of the dead. Robert Graves . Poets make maximum use of the language to achieve an emotional and sensory effect as well as a cognitive one. To create these effects, they use rhyme and rhythm and they also exploit the properties of words with a range of other techniques such as alliteration and assonance.
A common theme is love and its vicissitudes. Shakespeare 's famous love story Romeo and Juliet , for example, written in a variety of poetic forms, has been performed in innumerable theaters and made into at least eight cinematic versions. Novelists write novels — stories that explore universal themes through fiction. They situate invented characters and plots in a narrative designed to be both credible and entertaining. Every novel worthy of the name is like another planet, whether large or small, which has its own laws just as it has its own flora and fauna.
Thus, Faulkner 's technique is certainly the best one with which to paint Faulkner's world, and Kafka 's nightmare has produced its own myths that make it communicable. A satirist uses wit to ridicule the shortcomings of society or individuals, with the intent of exposing stupidity. Usually, the subject of the satire is a contemporary issue such as ineffective political decisions or politicians, although human vices such as greed are also a common and universal subject.
Philosopher Voltaire wrote a satire about optimism called Candide , which was subsequently turned into an opera, and many well known lyricists wrote for it.
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There are elements of Absurdism in Candide , just as there are in the work of contemporary satirist Barry Humphries , who writes comic satire for his character Dame Edna Everage to perform on stage. Satirists use various techniques such as irony , sarcasm , and hyperbole to make their point and they choose from the full range of genres — the satire may be in the form of prose or poetry or dialogue in a film, for example. It is amazing to me that Jonathan Swift , satirist . A short story writer is a writer of short stories, works of fiction that can be read in a single sitting.
Libretti the plural of libretto are the texts for musical works such as operas. The Venetian poet and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte , for example, wrote the libretto for some of Mozart 's greatest operas. Most opera composers collaborate with a librettist but unusually, Richard Wagner wrote both the music and the libretti for his works himself.
I'm a poet. What do I do? I write. And how do I live?
I live. Usually writing in verses and choruses, a lyricist specializes in writing lyrics , the words that accompany or underscore a song or opera. Lyricists also write the words for songs. In the case of Tom Lehrer , these were satirical. Writers of lyrics, such as these two, adapt other writers' work as well as create entirely original pieces. Making lyrics feel natural, sit on music in such a way that you don't feel the effort of the author, so that they shine and bubble and rise and fall, is very, very hard to do.
Stephen Sondheim , lyricist . A playwright writes plays which may or may not be performed on a stage by actors. A play's narrative is driven by dialogue. Like novelists, playwrights usually explore a theme by showing how people respond to a set of circumstances. As writers, playwrights must make the language and the dialogue succeed in terms of the characters who speak the lines as well as in the play as a whole. Since most plays are performed, rather than read privately, the playwright has to produce a text that works in spoken form and can also hold an audience's attention over the period of the performance.
Plays tell "a story the audience should care about", so writers have to cut anything that worked against that. Playwrights also adapt or re-write other works, such as plays written earlier or literary works originally in another genre.
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Famous playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen or Anton Chekhov have had their works adapted many times. The plays of early Greek playwrights Sophocles , Euripides , and Aeschylus are still performed. Adaptations of a playwright's work may be faithful to the original or creatively interpreted. If the writers' purpose in re-writing the play is to produce a film, they will have to prepare a screenplay.
Shakespeare's plays, for example, while still regularly performed in the original form, are often adapted and abridged, especially for the cinema. An example of a creative modern adaptation of a play that nonetheless used the original writer's words, is Baz Luhrmann 's version of Romeo and Juliet.
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Tom Stoppard 's play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a play inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet that takes two of Shakespeare's most minor characters and creates a new play in which they are the protagonists. Player : It's what the actors do best. They have to exploit whatever talent is given to them, and their talent is dying.
They can die heroically, comically, ironically, slowly, suddenly, disgustingly, charmingly or from a great height. Screenwriters write a screenplay — or script — that provides the words for media productions such as films, television programs and video games. Screenwriters may start their careers by writing the screenplay speculatively ; that is, they write a script with no advance payment, solicitation or contract. On the other hand, they may be employed or commissioned to adapt the work of a playwright or novelist or other writer.
Self-employed writers who are paid by contract to write are known as freelancers and screenwriters often work under this type of arrangement.
Screenwriters, playwrights and other writers are inspired by the great themes and often use similar and familiar plot devices to explore them. For example, in Shakespeare's Hamlet is a "play within a play", which the hero uses to demonstrate the king's guilt. Hamlet gains the co-operation of the actors to set up the play as a thing "wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king".
A speechwriter prepares the text for a speech to be given before a group or crowd on a specific occasion and for a specific purpose. They are often intended to be persuasive or inspiring, such as the speeches given by skilled orators like Cicero ; charismatic or influential political leaders like Nelson Mandela ; or for use in a court of law or parliament. The writer of the speech may be the person intended to deliver it, or it might be prepared by a person hired for the task on behalf of someone else. Such is the case when speechwriters are employed by many senior-level elected officials and executives in both government and private sectors.
Biographers write an account of another person's life. Richard Ellmann — , for example, was an eminent and award-winning biographer whose work focused on the Irish writers James Joyce , William Butler Yeats , and Oscar Wilde. For the Wilde biography, he won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography.
Critics consider and assess the extent to which a work succeeds in its purpose. The work under consideration may be literary, theatrical, musical, artistic, or architectural. In assessing the success of a work, the critic takes account of why it was done — for example, why a text was written, for whom, in what style, and under what circumstances.
After making such an assessment, critics write and publish their evaluation, adding the value of their scholarship and thinking to substantiate any opinion. The theory of criticism is an area of study in itself: a good critic understands and is able to incorporate the theory behind the work they are evaluating into their assessment. For example, they might be novelists or essayists. Some critics are poor writers and produce only superficial or unsubstantiated work. Hence, while anyone can be an uninformed critic, the notable characteristics of a good critic are understanding, insight, and an ability to write well.
We can claim with at least as much accuracy as a well-known writer claims of his little books, that no newspaper would dare print what we have to say. Are we going to be very cruel and abusive, then? By no means: on the contrary, we are going to be impartial.