Wednesday, October 26, 2011

3 WOW Wednesday: Greg R. Fishbone on Making the Jump from Writer to Author


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In law school, I was taught that there's a difference between a lawyer and an attorney. A lawyer is qualified to engage in the practice of law, while an attorney is engaged in the practice of law for somebody else. A lawyer becomes an attorney by taking on a client and representing that client's interests.

So what is the difference between a writer and an author? I think it's pretty much the same thing.

A writer is a person who writes, while an author writes with a readership in mind. 


Being technically proficient in the craft doesn't turn a writer into an author. Having books in print doesn't turn a writer into an author. Attending book talks, receiving positive reviews, or winning awards doesn't turn a writer into an author. Putting the reader's experience first is the only thing that will ever turn a writer into an author.

Starting out, I wrote mainly for myself. I wrote stories because they were fun for me to write. I wrote stories because they were challenging and I wanted to hone my skills. I wrote books I would have enjoyed reading as a kid. I shared my writing with others and enjoyed their positive feedback, but I was a writer because I wrote primarily for myself.

Today I have two books in print and I'm still struggling with the transition from writer to author. I'm happy to report that I am making progress. While writing the upcoming sequel to The Challengers over this past summer, I was finally able to keep an imaginary reader in mind as I worked. I'm becoming more aware of certain phrases or characters that existed primarily because they amused me. "Aha!" I'd say. "So these must be the metaphorical darlings that Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch was urging us to murder!"

Not to say that authors can't have a little fun as well. I think a reader can tell when a story was written by somebody who was having a good time with the process. When you read The Phantom Tollbooth, you just know that Norton Juster had to have been pretty pleased with all the wordplay and puns. Lemony Snicket's books, with their heavy-handed, intrusive narrator, wouldn't have worked unless the reader was meant to be in on the joke. These and other fun-loving authors keep the reader in mind and still manage to have a blast with the writing process.

I'm still trying to strike the right balance, but it feels good to finish a new chapter and think, "I can't believe I just did that--the readers are going to love it." It really makes me feel like an author.
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The Challengers - Book #1 in the Galaxy Games Series
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Today's WOW guest is Greg Fishbone, author of the Galaxy Games, a  middle-grade romp through space, in which eleven-year-old Tyler Sato leads a team of kids representing all of Earth in a sports tournament against alien kids from across the galaxy. You can find Greg at on his web site or on Twitter.

3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post! I'd like to think of myself as an author, since I'm constantly thinking of the reader and trying to keep it interesting and flowing. I guess I'm not sure and feedback is the key. I know I'll always strive to reach that balance. Your book sounds like one my son would love!

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  2. Your book sounds like a blast! I'm with Michele...my sons will love it.

    I never knew the lawyer/attorney thing. Cool! And I've never thought about your angle with writer/author. It's an excellent point to remember. I have a teen niece, and I try to keep her in mind when I'm writing. She's my target audience!

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  3. Trying again, since gmail/Blogger wouldn't let me post yesterday. Twice.

    Interestingly enough, I hardly ever think of a reader when I'm writing my novels. If I do, it's a critique partner or my agent I think of. LOL Best wishes transitioning from writer to AUTHOR!! and thanks for the thought-provoking article.

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