Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

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goldenflash19
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Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby goldenflash19 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:44 pm

I'm all set to graduate in May and will have earned my bachelor's degree in 3 years. I'm currently going through the application process (retaking a disappointing Oct LSAT in 2 weeks, so I'm behind in the game).

I have been entertaining the thought of taking a year off to finish writing a novel I started last December. Writing has always been my forte, and I legitimately believe I could get this book published. The novel addresses a lot of current legal/corrections issues.

From an admissions standpoint, what would an adcomm think if I indicated that I basically took a year off to work on writing a novel? I would likely get a part-time job but nothing full time/related to my degree. I would essentially dedicate my life to making this book perfect. Would the fact I did not obtain any work experience after graduation detract from my application (T14+ UCLA&USC)? Would an adcomm look positively upon such a decision?

Thank you so much!

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:53 pm

Wouldn't be a problem. Getting the novel published would provide a much greater benefit than anything else you could do in your gap year.

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180asBreath
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby 180asBreath » Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:54 pm

If you're going to do this, you should cancel for December so you can spend the next year writing the novel and prepping for the LSAT. If you gave yourself until June, you'd definitely get a score in the 170's.

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goldenflash19
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby goldenflash19 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:01 pm

That's so reassuring to hear. My parents have been ready to strangle me all week for throwing the idea of a year off around, but I really think this is something I want to do. Once I sign my life away to law school, I know it's going to be tough to ever finish my book.

That's a good point about canceling in Dec. My parents have been pushing me to study hard for December and see what offers I can get, but I legitimately think I'll have a tough time getting into the schools I mentioned this late (4.0 GPA but need a home run on LSAT). I'm 50/50 on the 170 mark my last 10 tests, so June doesn't sound too bad at all. Not to mention I've had to balance LSAT prep with 18 credit hours winding down.

Thanks guys!

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Ernert
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby Ernert » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:02 pm

If this is something you're passionate about, I think it is absolutely worth it. Won't hurt (will likely help) your admissions, plus you won't go through your legal career wondering, "what if?"

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby franklyscarlet » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:02 pm

I think it's a great idea, but don't expect to finish and publish in a year. Publishing is a very fickle beast (said with experience).

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goldenflash19
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby goldenflash19 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:09 pm

How long did it take you to publish, Scarlet?

If I could finish it by Oct/Nov, would I at least be able to indicate on apps that I am "talking with a publisher/in the process of publishing," or would that be insignificant?

The whole "what-if" factor has been going through my head all week.
Last edited by goldenflash19 on Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Transferthrowaway
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby Transferthrowaway » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:14 pm

Michael Skarn, Threat Level Midnight by Goldenflash19

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:16 pm

I like that you're doing this.

It's actually what I did after UG, except I enrolled in an MA-Creative Writing program. But, the focus of my studies is writing my novel.

I think if writing is something you want to do, there's no better time than now. Once you begin law school you won't have time, and waiting until after law school is inadvisable.

As far as the publication process goes, this is what I'm working with:

Jan. 2012 - Final Edits/Workshopping
Feb. 2012 - Sending to Agents
Late March-April 2012 - If I get an agent, which is a huge if, I wouldn't hear back until about this time. From here, they would send my manuscript to publishers, so . . .

Summer 2012 - Publishers read/re-read, etc. If they're interested, it would be put through another edit process in fall 2012.

Winter 2012 - If the book is picked up, this would be about the time it would be sent to the publishers.

Obviously, there are a lot of hypotheticals in this situations, but such is the life of a writer. Timelines depend on how quickly an agent signs you, and how quickly they can find your a publisher--if they can find you one at all.

I say, write-write-write as much as you can. But, don't plan on having a publisher ready to go by this time next year.

Best of luck on your writing!

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goldenflash19
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby goldenflash19 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:17 pm

LOL, that's quite a title. If by some chance I'd wind up getting this thing published, I'd have to include an acknowledgement to all the wonderful users of TLS.

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goldenflash19
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby goldenflash19 » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:23 pm

Thank you so much for the timeline, the lawschoolproject!!! I cannot tell you how helpful this is!

If things would go perfectly for me, then I would likely have the ball rolling on getting my novel published as I would start LS in fall 2013. It's unrealistic for me to believe I would have it published when submitting applications, but hopefully I could indicate I have an agent or the manuscript has been sent to publishers.

I'm glad to see there's a fellow TLS'er in a situation similar to mine. This is definitely something I would love to do. Best of luck with your writing!! I would love to follow in your tracks getting a novel published!! Thanks again for the timeline and good wishes!!

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby franklyscarlet » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:31 pm

goldenflash19 wrote:How long did it take you to publish, Scarlet?

If I could finish it by Oct/Nov, would I at least be able to indicate on apps that I am "talking with a publisher/in the process of publishing," or would that be insignificant?

The whole "what-if" factor has been going through my head all week.


There's no official timeline for publishing, and that was my point. I all depends on if an agent likes your work, and then, if they can sell it. Publishing without an agent is even more of a crapshoot, especially when you've never published in journals. It took a few years to find an agent who wanted to shop my work. It's very unpredictable.

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby franklyscarlet » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:32 pm

goldenflash19 wrote:How long did it take you to publish, Scarlet?

If I could finish it by Oct/Nov, would I at least be able to indicate on apps that I am "talking with a publisher/in the process of publishing," or would that be insignificant?

The whole "what-if" factor has been going through my head all week.


Insignificant unless you've signed a publishing contract.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:33 pm

goldenflash19 wrote:Thank you so much for the timeline, the lawschoolproject!!! I cannot tell you how helpful this is!

If things would go perfectly for me, then I would likely have the ball rolling on getting my novel published as I would start LS in fall 2013. It's unrealistic for me to believe I would have it published when submitting applications, but hopefully I could indicate I have an agent or the manuscript has been sent to publishers.

I'm glad to see there's a fellow TLS'er in a situation similar to mine. This is definitely something I would love to do. Best of luck with your writing!! I would love to follow in your tracks getting a novel published!! Thanks again for the timeline and good wishes!!



No problem! But, in the interest of full disclosure I still have a long way to go before my work graces the hallowed shelves of Barnes and Noble :)

Again, just stick to your guns and do what you love. I'm a firm believer that will pay off in the end.

Transferthrowaway
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby Transferthrowaway » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:35 pm

Just tell yourself that if Stephenie Meyer can do it, you can too.

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thelawschoolproject
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby thelawschoolproject » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:36 pm

Transferthrowaway wrote:Just tell yourself that if Stephenie Meyer can do it, you can too.



Totally not a Stephenie Meyer lover . . . but, I wouldn't pass on the cash that she has.

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby franklyscarlet » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:36 pm

Transferthrowaway wrote:Just tell yourself that if Stephenie Meyer can do it, you can too.


Just thinking of her makes me all stabby.

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TrojanHopeful
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby TrojanHopeful » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:37 pm

Great discussion. First, I think having a published novel on your resume would be an awesome soft.

Second, I have been playing around with short stories and enjoy writing them. I can't imagine putting in the time just yet to try and build the character depth that is needed for a novel. How do you go about creating your characters? Do you build them from similarities with people in your life or do you use some other type of measure?

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franklyscarlet
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby franklyscarlet » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:40 pm

TrojanHopeful wrote:Great discussion. First, I think having a published novel on your resume would be an awesome soft.

Second, I have been playing around with short stories and enjoy writing them. I can't imagine putting in the time just yet to try and build the character depth that is needed for a novel. How do you go about creating your characters? Do you build them from similarities with people in your life or do you use some other type of measure?


Depends. I find that the more time I spend with the characters, the more I know about them, but it's a very natural process. They become real people, and the characters traits come naturally. Some things can be based off of people I know, but it's often random quirky things rather than personalities.

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TrojanHopeful
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby TrojanHopeful » Wed Nov 23, 2011 8:51 pm

thelawschoolproject wrote:
Transferthrowaway wrote:Just tell yourself that if Stephenie Meyer can do it, you can too.



Totally not a Stephenie Meyer lover . . . but, I wouldn't pass on the cash that she has.


I'm getting the urge to start a favorite author thread.

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ThreeRivers
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby ThreeRivers » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:40 pm

<Idk much about this subject and I think others itt have a lot more knowledge, but I'll give my opinion (since I'd imagine most adcoms don't know about the writing / publishing process as well).

If it was published I believe it would be an AWESOME soft, but if its not when you're applying I wouldn't state "took a year off to work on this book that I'm trying to get published."

Either way if it is something you want to do / a true passion, go for it imo... You finished school in 3 years so it'll just be like your fourth year, and you only live once (Imo if you just went straight to ls you'd never finish your book)

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goldenflash19
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Re: Acceptable to Take a Year Off to Write a Novel?

Postby goldenflash19 » Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:03 pm

That's a great point you brought up about the potential year I'd take off essentially being my fourth year of college. I'd be right on track even if I did take the year off. I agree that I'd probably never finish the book once I start LS; hours of studying + hopefully long hours at a biglaw firm would make it near-impossible.

As far as my characters go, I based my main character heavily on my self. My journey towards LS has been filled with quite a bit of adversity, and I feel I've been able to reflect it pretty well. IMO, I'm a little bit crazy, and that has only helped me add depth to my character. I've done a lot of in-depth work with offenders during my time as an undergrad. I've incorporated some of the traits of these people into the characters in my novel. I love basing both my novel and its characters on powerful personal experiences.




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