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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Two Things

Being a copy editor (grammar and spelling and clarity and chronology and fact-checking, etc.) and having been a legal assistant (details, details, details, plus grammar and spelling and clarity and chronology and fact-checking), I'm very sensitive to word choices and their exactness and fit within the context of phrases and sentences and overall story structure.  And I can point to a reference book or two which backs me up.

First, I use "pantster" not "pantser" to describe us plot-challenged novelists.  Say it out loud and you hear the second T.  It is a word built like "teamster" or "gangster" or "youngster" with the "ster" suffix.

Second, I am an author, not a writer.  It is a fine distinction but here is my argument for using same.  I create, therefore I am an author (the "au" is a truncated prefix for "author" and/or "to hear/listen" and/or "self" which my mind combines to mean "self-generated words, spoken or written" and the "thor" meaning "God/Creator" further emphasizing the creation part).

The writers, I maintain, are directed to bring to life someone else's idea.  Thus the term "screenwriter" is usually an independent freelancer who takes an author's book and adapts it into a screenplay for either a movie or a live theater production.

A copywriter is just that, someone who writes copy (think advertisements, whether for print or for radio/TV, etc.).  That writing assignment, job if you will, is at the urging of the person who hired them.

A ghost writer is, again, one hired to do a task at the prompting of the employer, the author, who needs help with his vision, his idea, his plot, his story.  I've never heard of a ghost author.

Web11 defines "author" as one who originates or creates.  While I may write, I am not a writer.  Not in the strictest sense of the word.  Not that you can't be a writer AND an author.  But there is a difference.

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