Journalism Has Made Me a Better Novelist

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing TV 10/55 news anchor Richard Rose for a public access television program that airs in East Hampton called The Writer’s Dream (I’ll be uploading the programs to YouTube soon). It’s a 30-minute show in which I chat with writers (Charlie Rose-style) about their writing process, their inspirations and motivations, as well as the business side of writing — from how their got their traditional publishing contract or why they self-published to how they’re spreading the word about their book. Richard recently self-published his first thriller titled Release the Butterfly (read my Debut Author Q&A with him here), and it was immediately apparent that his journalism background was key in the development of his novel. He was dispatched to do a story at a local laboratory, and it was there he learned about some of the science that serves as the basis for Release the Butterfly.

As I said to Richard on the program, journalism has been very, very good to me as well. Novelists draw from their worlds in order to write their books, and there is no doubt in my mind that my world got bigger simply by being a journalist. Till this day, I am assigned stories to go places that I probably never would have visited before and interview people whom I probably would have never met before. And many times while I am interviewing someone or observing an event, I am inspired to jot down information for my current novel or an upcoming one, thinking: Wouldn’t that be the PERFECT occupation for so-and-so? or Maybe that scene will take place in a setting like this!

Also, as Richard mentioned, the discipline of journalism — the fact that you MUST get this story done in an hour or afternoon — has taught us to write even when we don’t feel like it. And that skill, as any person who has tried to write a novel knows, is invaluable.

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One thought on “Journalism Has Made Me a Better Novelist

  1. That sounds like a fascinating TV show, and I’ll look forward to seeing it on youtube! I agree completely about journalism training being great for a fiction/novel writer. (Although I’m not as accomplished as Richard Rose!) Not only the skills of observation and deadline but also I think I can summarize thoughts and think in querying ways as a result of my training, if that makes sense. Some of this is merely my basic nature as a highly curious (ok, downright nosey!) person, but I also think my skills were honed with my journalism training. (I’ll look forward to youtube postings!)

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