Journalism, Creativity and Reactionary Creativity
by Jay Dubya
Page 1 of 2
On January 1, 2002 I had finally finished authoring my latest
fiction book, which is titled The Great Teen Fruit War, A 1960’
Novel. The work was quite a Promethean task to complete, having 162,000
words on 468 pages presented in 46 Chapters. When I read my final draft, I
think I felt a little like Victor Frankenstein must have when he first fully
viewed the monster that he had created.
The Great Teen Fruit War is set in 1960’ Hammonton and
involves conflict between the Blues, the sons of blueberry farmers and the
Reds, the sons of peach farmers (please remember, a novel is fiction).
The Blues are the antagonists and wear button-down blue denim jackets, and the
Reds are the protagonists and wear zip-up red James Dean’ jackets like those
worn by the famous actor in the 1955 classic film, Rebel without a
Cause. The Great Teen Fruit War is the sequel to Black Leather
and Blue Denim, A ‘50s Novel.
In the Great Teen Fruit War, Bellevue Avenue is the
dividing line between blueberry country to the east and peach territory to the
west. To spice up the story, the Reds have one "antagonist" named Ronald
"Goose" Restuccio, the son of a Mafia kingpin. Complicating matters even
further is a third gang, The Ramrodders, a group of greasers that interact with
the Reds and the Blues.
Now here’s the essential difference between fiction and
non-fiction. The Fruit War’s setting is real, but the story and the
characters are not. Most of the "characters" are composite, a combination of
two or more people I have known. I have taken elements from these past
acquaintances and synthesized each of them into a new person just like
Victor Frankenstein had done with his monster.
In all due respect to Hammonton Gazette writers Gabe
Donio and Gina Rullo, front-page journalism or news reporting is relatively
easy compared to short story or novel authoring. Newspaper journalism is
basically accurate descriptive narrative’ writing that involves answers to the
questions Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? and then the reporter
provides a few direct quotes and a first paragraph hook that captures
the reader’s attention. The hook is the only element that really
requires any degree of imagination.
Now Gabe Donio and Gina Rullo take the Hammonton
Gazette to a higher level of thinking when they write the Editorial
Page, because now we have opinion based on fact, which involves interpretation,
analysis, problem solving and controversy. These are "higher level’ thinking
skills" where some local citizens might become inflamed because they didn’t
savor the way certain facts have been interpreted, analyzed or problem
However, Gabe and Gina are still honoring their oath to good
journalism by basing their judgments and conclusions on fact, even if
they adroitly employ persuasive writing techniques.
Short story and novel writing use facts as their basis also,
but then they deviate from factual writing (journalism, biography, etc.) when
the author creates imaginary characters, plots, situations, subplots,
themes and conflicts. Novel writing requires the highest forms of thinking
skills, a continuous combination of creativity and synthesis.
It is always easier to borrow than to invent. Most authors
know this very well since just about all plot ideas have already been
created. It is hard to be absolutely creative where everything or
anything in your book is entirely original and invented. And so, most
authors depend heavily upon "reactionary creativity," combining
personalities we have known into a new protagonist or new antagonist
(synthesis) or taking ordinary objects and attributing to them
For example, in The Great Teen Fruit War the Reds had a problem.Next Page
Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Jay Dubya, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.