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Author Antics Not Just a Novelist

There are many articles in this blog that discuss technique as an author. However, as a writer, there are many types of pursuit other than a novelist. Even though I currently have two novels published with House of Honor Books, and I’m working on another manuscript submission, I also identify as a journalist/blogger.

Jack LaFountain recently shared he is termed a “Pantser.” Although my characters do speak to me like his do, my characters give me more advance notice. Am I also a pantser? Probably. I term myself more as a plotting pantser.  The relationship my characters and I share is slightly different though. My characters are more polite, giving me more notice of the plot unfolding. Unfortunately, they sometimes have to repeat themselves. This gets frustrating for all involved. The conflict will lead to short spells when communication breaks down.

My ability as a plotter may come from the fact, I’m not just a novelist. I also create as a journalist, or as a blogger. You may ask me does this dual endeavor conflict? Most definitely. There are invitations to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. That invitation would only make you tired. I’d invite you to spend an hour or two in my head. That time would scare, confuse, or maybe thrill. I really wouldn’t recommend the time though. Just wait for the finished product. Sometimes it’s best left unknown how it was derived.

Blogging isn’t easier than being an author. There is a lot of research involved to create a story of quality. I know bloggers that create content in a regular, concise, timely manner. That isn’t my style though. My goal isn’t quantity, I strive for quality.

I write what I know. I take the time to learn about what I’m writing. I’ll take weeks to sift through material to learn as much as I can, before I compose an article for my blog. Sometimes, I overlearn everything, only to create a moderately short article. A good journalist must have integrity. I won’t share a piece without being able to defend my work with facts. If I’m speculating, I let my readers know as much. My speculation is based on logical ideas from the facts I researched.

Researching is work. It can be frustrating, Sometimes the information is so well hidden I have difficulty discovering it. What can also be sad is sifting the facts from fiction. Not to point fingers, but some information put forth cannot be supported.

The good part about my dual pursuit is that my journalism grounds me in facts. My books are made up from my vivid imagination. If an author were to tell you they were an honest person, they’re lying to you. They are selling you a story they created, possibly in a non-existent world. I do that. My goal is to share a story or lie, that is so believable that the reader is caught up and compelled to believe. My work will always hold an element of truth. I leave the job of deciphering fact from fiction to my readership. If you want to label me a liar, I’ll own that. I’m using my deceptive powers for good, not evil.

I’m sure, after reading this, it’s obvious I create my own writing conflicts. Some can handle the pursuit though. My best advice is to pick your specialty and chase it with a heartfelt passion. I don’t follow my own advice though. Maybe, I’ll settle in my writing, and just become a novelist, I doubt it though. I gotta be me!

Rick Shaw

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