'Journalistic license,' it's called by some who
write for money. There are less complimentary
euphemisms used too when one kind of writing is
not what it's represented to be. Aren't there
are only two kinds of writing? The truth (non-fiction)
and non-truth (fiction). Seems to me all that has,
is, or will be written must fall somewhere between
those two limits.
I have tried to keep them separate and only cheat
when absolutely necessary. But I find that writing
in the field of fly-fishing it's often a damned
If I try to explain how to do a certain thing; a
knot, a cast, select a fly rod or reel, then that's
non-fiction. Should be truth, right? Or at least as
close to it as I can get? How about 'coloring' it up
just a little because I like the guys who make the
reel, or I get a nice discount on rods from them,
or hope I will in the future. No point in burning
bridges is there? So far I have tried not to do
Let's say I do a review on a fly line. "Wow, for the
average user, this line has it all. "Then two years
later out comes a line from a different company and
I like it even better. Well, that can not be helped.
There are improvements on most everything. I might
report and or recommend or review but I do not endorse.
That trap I so far have been able to avoid.
I may give my true feelings about a fly line, but
as to which fly line company is the best? Well,
that is a worthless question anyhow. Who knows or
cares. I want to know which fly line is the best
for the particular application at hand. Same goes
for rods, reels, waders and the rest. I may say I
like the gang over at some outfit, and if I say so,
than it's true. But, I will not suggest you buy
things based upon that either. Read my reviews and
you will see what I mean. Do I try to 'color' them
up a bit? Yes, but not in any un-truthful way, at
least I try not to. But, when was the last time you
had fun reading something non-fiction. Pretty hard
Fiction can be exciting or dull, dull does not often
sell well. Non-fiction can be written the same way,
but dull again does not sell well.
Exciting stuff does sell though. By that I do not
necessarily mean a thriller. A great writer can
keep you grabbing breathlessly for each word,
sentence, paragraph and page. Talent is the key.
Flash a hot title, hook the reader in the first
paragraph and away you go. Fill the middle, wrap
it all up nice and tidy and close it down. Simple,
nothing to writing at all. I know of one writer
who could hold me spell bound if he wrote the
phone book. There are a few out there.
I personally spent too many years reading non-fiction.
I had a long way to go and a short time to get there,
and fiction 'pleasure reading I called it' offered
nothing worthwhile. My reading time had value and I
made the most of it. I was logic, Spock from space.
In so doing I missed out on plenty. All of the
dreams hopes, ideas and private thoughts of others
preserved in text. Their gift to all of us and future
readers as well. What a nice thing. Very few who
write can make a living on it, most hope to break
even at best. There is no way they can ever be
fully paid for what they have done. Their writings
are gifts indeed. Over the years I have found a few
writers whose works I enjoyed and I treasure what
I have from them.
I think a lot of what I see in print these days is
a mixture. Half truth and some fiction. Stories
written about fishing someplace, several events
all rolled into one, then mixed with a few
embellishments for 'color' and passed off as
a story 'based on real events.' More fun to read
but not really quite true. Looks suspicious to
me most of the time. I am not that good. I think
I would get caught, found out and pay for it.
Besides I think it is cheating, but somehow
in today's society seems to be acceptable.
All of this makes me want to write fiction. Ok,
some of you think I already do. Yes, sometimes
I do, but I don't try to pass it off as truth.
The last couple of columns on why we like bugs
and ladies in fly fishing have tip-toed back
and forth between the two but I think they were
understood for what they were. Satire is a fun
sport, kind of 'mental ping-pong,' but must not
be abused. I get to ask the questions and you get
to answer them. Works for me!
This writing stuff can be fun I guess, just wanted
to give you a little glimpse from this side of the
keyboard. Oh yes, I am currently reading (studying)
a book on writing. Talk about dull! ~ JC