HOW MY WRITING HAS CHANGED by Randy Rawls
When I began writing a long, long time ago, my stories were basic mysteries. A crime happens and my protagonist becomes involved. Through good investigative techniques and luck, he finds vague clues and puts them together to uncover the criminal. I say basic because, I suppose, that’s about every mystery that has ever been written.
However, over the years, as my protagonist has changed from Ace Edwards, Dallas PI, to Tom Edwards, S FL PI . . . and eventually to Beth Bowman, S FL PI, I find that my stories have become more real life, more based on the headlines in the news.
For example, Tom Edwards rescued a thirteen-year-old runaway, then backtracked to discover why she ran. His investigation (THE RUNAWAY) led him to her father who had been shoved out of her life when she was very young. During the course of the writing, Tom (and I) discovered a lot about runaway teens, why they run and what happens to them.
Then a five-year-old girl was kidnapped and it became Beth Bowman’s job to recover her. Another crime straight out of the headlines. Too often, the child is found dead in our real world, tragic losses. Fortunately, in BEST DEFENSE, Beth was able to make the recovery, saving me the trauma of writing something worse.
How about the drug problem across our country today? We read about the arrests, trials, and sentencing of the little fish—users, pushers, mules—but we seldom hear of big dogs, those making millions of dollars. So, when I finished a standalone book, JUSTICE SECURED, I discovered that’s what I’d written—bringing down a crime lord.
Then came a book looking at the “professional demonstrator/rioter” business. We seem to go through cycles where demonstrations are peaceful and controlled. Those are protected by the First Amendment. Then we hit a string where rioting, looting, and destruction of others’ property makes the headlines. Nothing in our Constitution gives the latter a “right.” My latest book SAVING DABBA takes on this problem—again, straight out of the headlines.
Now, I’m taking on illegal immigration and those who take advantage of those poor people whose only hope is to find a better way of life. There are truly despicable crumb-bums out there set to prey on these people—and they do. Beth Bowman finds herself dragged into this world as she tries to help a teenage illegal immigrant. With luck, this book will receive a title and be published during the fall/winter of 2018.
I made no conscious decision to switch to stories spotlighting the daily weaknesses of our society, but that’s what has happened. There is enough evil out there to keep me on the keyboard forever. My approach is no longer that of the pure mystery. They are more a hybrid between mystery and thriller.
The one point that has NOT changed, though, is the language I use. It might not be ready for a ballroom, but it’s not in the gutter either. It will always remain living-room clean.
I wonder what changes other authors have made without realizing such were occurring. Do you find yourself writing in a different genre than the one you started in? Have your stories become more (fill in the blank) than when you began and, was the change intentional? Just curious.
Randy Rawls was born and reared in Williamston, North Carolina, a small town in the northeastern part of the state. From there, he says he inherited a sense of responsibility, a belief in fair play, and a love of country. As a career US Army officer, he had the opportunity to learn, travel, teach, and hone talents inherited from his parents.
Following retirement, he worked in other ventures for the US Government. Every job has in some way been fun. Even the dark days of Vietnam had their light moments, and he cherishes the camaraderie that was an integral part of survival in that hostile world.
Today, he has short stories in several anthologies, and a growing list of novels to his credit. As a prolific reader, the reads across several genres and takes that into his writing.
He has written mysteries, thrillers, an historical, and two fantasy/mystery/thrillers featuring a Santa Elf. The count is now at fourteen and growing. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.
Buy links for Saving Dabba
Buy link for Jingle and his Magnificent Seven: