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Subject:  Re: I wanna be Dave Barry (RANT) Date:  9/30/2003  6:32 AM
Author:  JamesBrown Number:  2394 of 4871

Dave Barry also has written fiction. He was part of a collaboration of Souther authors who co-wrote Naked Came the Manatee and he has written two novels of his own. Although his second book did not impress me, the first one, Big Trouble, was by far the funniest book I have ever read, bar none. If you like his columns, then the book is priceless, although it does have foul language in it, which might be a shock to his gentler readers.

If you are serious about your desires, I would recommend going for it. After all, there have been other humor columnists who may have inspired Mr. Barry, like Lewis Grizzard and Patrick McManus. The formula for breaking in is straightforward: write a handful of columns and offer them to markets. You might set your sights high and submit them to the number one newspaper in your city, but many, many more people got their break with smaller, local rags--the suburban newspaper with a circulation of a couple of thousand, weekly entertainment guides that are offered for free at restaurants, etc. You might even consider offering your work for free, if necessary, keeping in mind that once you've got a few bylines under your belt you will try to take your work elsewhere for renumeration. As you build a following, you will gain clout and perhaps land syndication, the Holy Grail for thousands of small-time columnists everywhere.

The advice I've seen in this area warns that many people have dreamed of writing a column, come up with one or two ideas, and then the inspiration runs out of gas. Could you come up with, right now, ideas for a dozen columns, for example, and write them to completion? Keep in mind, being expected to write a hilarious column week after week after week can turn an amusing sideline into something similar to work and for the first few years you may earn less than minimum wage for your efforts. Lewis Grizzard remarked, "Having a newspaper column is like being married to a nymphomaniac: for the first two weeks it's fun."

But there is definitely a market for your work. I've read some of your stuff, and you have a fresh voice. I'm sure that if you worked at it, you could find yourself hearing someone remark, "I sure do wish I could write like that Duck guy."

Good Luck and Keep Writing.
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