Using My Degree

By Bryan Cohen

I graduated from college in 2005 and I was determined to use as little of my education as possible. At least, that’s how it looked from the outside. I’m not saying that my degrees in English and Dramatic Art and my minor in Creative Writing were particularly practical to begin with, but it would not have been difficult to channel them into a high school or college teaching career. Instead, I earned money through the computer and common sense skills necessary for temp work and spent the rest of my time doing comedy.

After a few years as a barista (likewise, not using my education), I quit and started to write full-time. At first, I wrote freelance for whatever companies would have me. I wrote “how to” articles or lists of various products like herbal remedies. While I was writing, and I was happy to be using some of my education practically, it still felt empty.

It was then I got to thinking, “What would be the best use of my education?” As part of my English degree, I read a collection of the classic works of fiction and poetry of the last four centuries. I learned about plot and theme and the structure of a well-written book. For my Dramatic Art degree, I was taught firsthand about character motivation: the desires and overarching goals that a character has within a story. In my Creative Writing minor, I did the grunt work of actual writing and having it critiqued in front of my peers.

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A logical combination of these three sets of education was to become a fiction writer. This led to the creation of my first book, Ted Saves the World.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t until I’d been out in the real world for a few years that I was able to truly use this education as a career. When people used to ask me what I did for a living, I’d say something like, “Well, I’m an actor and a comedian that works at a coffee shop.” Now I can proudly say, “I’m a writer” and mean it.

Description of Ted Saves the World (Available for just $0.99):

A possessed cheerleader. A cursed gang of criminals. Mysterious telekinetic powers. An angry ex-girlfriend in gym class? One second, sophomore in high school Ted endures his first breakup in his favorite place in town. The next, a mysterious blue light turns him into a worldwide superhero sensation for taking down a posse of grisly murderers. As his views on YouTube increase and his friend Dhiraj tries to capitalize on the marketing potential, his dangers increase as well when a presumed-dead cheerleader begins taking a personal interest. Can Ted survive his first week as a superhero in the public eye? This novella is the first taste in a series of full-length novels about the adventures of Ted Finley and Erica LaPlante. The book is also available on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords for $0.99.

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Giveaway:

Bryan Cohen is giving away four $25 Amazon gift cards, one for each week of his month long blog tour. To enter, simply comment with your e-mail address (feel free to substitute @ with (at) or other tricks to stop spammers from getting it). Bryan will draw the four names at the end of the tour, picking one entrant at random from each week’s set of blog posts. Entries will be counted through Monday, August 15th, 2011. Enter on as many sites as you want, follow the tour at Build Creative Writing Ideas. If Ted reaches the Top 100 on Amazon at any point during the tour, a fifth $25 card will be added to the giveaway.

Biography:

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written seven books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More. Contact Bryan through his Ted Saves the World blog, his Build Creative Writing Ideas site or Twitter.