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Writers or Authors plan and write literary or other written work for publication or performance. Writers may create original pieces of written work, which can take the form of poetry, novels, short stories, Future Growth Strong biographies, blogs, plays or film, radio and television scripts. They may also write for multimedia distribution.

Authors compose works of literature including poetry, scripts, articles, novels and works of non-fiction. Some authors prefer to research and carefully map out a story line, whereas others prefer to dive straight into writing with little preparation. Once an author is happy with their written work it is submitted to a publisher where it may be edited and changed for publication. Authors work with editors and publishers to ensure that their creative vision remains intact.


ANZSCO description: Produces literary or other written work for publication or performance. This occupation requires high levels of creative talent or personal commitment and interest as well as, or in place of, formal qualifications and experience.

Alternative names: Writer

Specialisations: Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Screenwriter, Script Writer

Writers may specialise in fiction writing, general interest non-fiction, journalism, children's books, educational textbooks, historical writing and transferring oral histories into written form, corporate or training videos, technical writing, magazine writing, documentation preparation, freelance editorial services, helping others to prepare manuscripts for publication, scriptwriting, documentary writing, humour, copywriting, editing text into accessible 'plain English' form or writing text for musical works.

Work may be commissioned by a book or magazine publisher, a theatre company, a film or television production company, or a radio or television station. Alternatively, work may be sold by the writer or a literary agent acting on the writer's behalf. Writers often work with visual or performance artists.

In the business environment, writers can work as communication specialists. They may design training seminars or packages, facilitate workplace discussions, identify problems in documentation and conduct communication audits.


Knowledge, skills and attributes

An author needs:

  • the ability to write creatively and clearly

  • observant and inquisitive approach to people and their environment

  • excellent understanding of English, particularly grammar and spelling

  • concentration, imagination and dedication

  • to be able to handle criticism

  • time management skills and the ability to work to deadlines

  • word processing skills.



Duties and Tasks

Writers may perform the following tasks:Writer sitting at desk

  • creating and developing ideas and themes for written works, such as novels, plays, musicals, screen productions, educational texts, information texts and multimedia products

  • choose themes or subjects for written work, conduct research into the subject, assemble background material and obtain other necessary data

  • researching subject matter through original and secondary materials, interviews and other media

  • reviewing and evaluating manuscripts of novels, biographies, short stories, poems, educational texts and other books, and ensuring coherence of style and development of theme, plot and characterisation

  • plan and organise material and write the work

  • revise or edit the work, making sure that the style is consistent; that there is proper development of theme, plot and characterisation; and that referencing is correct

  • set out the original manuscript so that it is clear and legible (typed or word processed, for example) and submit the work to a publisher

  • advising publishers about potential of works for publication and conditions of publication contract

  • negotiating publication details such as royalties, publication dates and numbers of copies to be printed

  • reviewing and assessing stories and other material for film, television, radio and stage productions

  • directing the preparation of scripts to be read by announcers to introduce and connect parts of musicals, news, sports and special events programs

  • work with other specialists such as scriptwriters, software developers, graphic designers and illustrators, to create multimedia works.

Working conditions

Authors can work in a vast array of environments, however quite often they work in offices, libraries or from their home. They work independently for long periods of time, although sometimes they collaborate with other authors or editors. After publication they may work with visual or performance artists.

Authors are also required to participate in some travel, both locally and overseas, for research, to give readings and to publicise their works.

Tools and technologies

Authors spend a majority of their time working on a computer with word processing software. They may also use the computer to access the Internet for research. Similarly, they may also use textbooks for research. Some authors prefer to record their ideas or research on a hand held dictaphone.
 
Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as an author without formal qualifications as the necessary skills are normally developed through experience and practice. However, you are more likely to improve your employment prospects if you have completed a formal qualification in writing or a related area.

Did You Know?

Miles Franklin Literary Award

Miles Franklin

Australia’s most prestigious literary award was established through the will of the writer Stella Miles Franklin, best known for her novel My Brilliant Career. The bequest came as a surprise to the literary world as Franklin had told nobody – save her trustees – of her plans.

Miles Franklin had first-hand experience of the struggle to make a living as a writer and was herself the beneficiary of two literary prizes. She was also extremely conscious of the importance of fostering a uniquely Australian literature. She wrote,

"Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil."

Accordingly, the Award is presented each year to a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.

The Miles Franklin was first awarded in 1957.
(Source: Miles Franklin Literary Award)

Writer

Journalist

Applications Programmer

Film Producer

Photographer

Web Designer

Cinematographer

Publisher

Graphic Designer

Multimedia Specialist

Newspaper Editor

Games Developer

IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

Illustrator

Director

Broadcasting Technician

3D Animator

Archivist

Librarian

Social Media Manager

Journalist

Applications Programmer

Film Producer

Photographer

Web Designer

Cinematographer

Publisher

Graphic Designer

Multimedia Specialist

Newspaper Editor

Games Developer

IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

Writer

Illustrator

Director

Broadcasting Technician

3D Animator

Archivist

Librarian

Social Media Manager

Journalist

Applications Programmer

Film Producer

Photographer

Web Designer

Cinematographer

Publisher

Graphic Designer

Multimedia Specialist

Newspaper Editor

Games Developer

IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

Writer

Illustrator

Director

Broadcasting Technician

3D Animator

Archivist

Librarian

Social Media Manager

Journalist

Applications Programmer

Film Producer

Photographer

Web Designer

Cinematographer

Publisher

Graphic Designer

Multimedia Specialist

Newspaper Editor

Games Developer

IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

Writer

Illustrator

Director

Broadcasting Technician

3D Animator

Archivist

Librarian

Social Media Manager

Journalist

Applications Programmer

Film Producer

Photographer

Web Designer

Cinematographer

Publisher

Graphic Designer

Multimedia Specialist

Newspaper Editor

Games Developer

IT Analyst

Radio Producer Presenter

Writer

Illustrator

Director