Friday, October 31, 2014


I get upset with my students and others who tell me they are aspiring writers.  If you are writing, than you are a writer, if you are putting your tush to the seat of your typing or writing chair, if you are in front of your computer (or maybe still writing by hand as some people like the feel the flow of the words), than you are a writer, plain and simple.  Just because you have not yet been published or produced yet, does not mean you are "aspiring."
It took me eight books, with my eighth being my first published book, to get my work out there. I was later able to go back and revise four of the seven for publication.  When I went back to some of those earlier works, I couldn't believe I had written so poorly. The fact is I learned with each progressive book how to mold my words, create better characters and suspense.
Like a brain surgeon, you don't graduate medical school and go immediately to being a top surgeon.  It takes time, it takes practice and it takes persistence.  We learn from others..constantly.  Even though I am multi published and produced I still take classes because the Torah says you can benefit from everyone and I find that while listening, even though I might know what the instructor is saying, it refreshes me and reminds me - Oh, have I done that with my characters?. Sometimes, even though I teach, I am in a hurry to get my writing out and I forget to do a complete character bio, or to do pay off and set ups.
Yes, we are all in a hurry, especially in this day and age.  Some people don't have the patience to wait to perfect their craft.  I took a class once from Harry Mark Petrikus, the Chicago writer in residence.  Someone asked him "when do you quit?"  His response was "honey, if you can quit, do so.  If it's in your blood, than you cannot quit."  I knew then that writing was in my blood and that I had to continue at all costs - even if it meant a failed marriage from someone who did not understand what writing meant to me, even if it meant isolation because I didn't want to hang with my buddies from work.  I wanted to write.
Write because you love it, not because you believe it will make you a lot of money. /Write what you are passionate about.   Very few writers make a living off their writing.  Announcements of a writer signing a multi-million dollar deal is put in the paper because it is rare.
Learning is an active process and it takes a lot of effort.  The fact is, if you are trying than you are.
So the next time someone asks what you do, don't say you are aspiring, just say you are a writer with works in progress.  Keep writing, even if it doesn't sound good to you, keep reading, keep taking classes and learn from everyone.  You will get day.  And maybe you will be among the 2% that makes a living at their writing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Characters Are Important

At a recent networking meeting, I was asked by a new writer how to get past his middle act slump.  I asked if he had done a character bio on his main people.  Of course, he had not.  Many new writers forget to do this.
I told him when he did, he had to know what the character wanted and how important it was for her to achieve her goal.  What was her inner goal and what was her outer goal? Then he had to find out who was against her and why?  How far would they go to stop her.  He even needed to do a character bio on the antagonist - who feels just as righteous as your protagonist.
In my book, The Ultimate Writers Workbook for Books and Scripts, I have a form that you can use for your character bios.  It's important to know specific details about your protagonist and antagonist.  Why did they become what they now appear to be?  How?
If you go to my web site, you will find not only a link for the book, but a special offer for my readers.
Good luck and keep writing.