A Little About Myself
My own writing career was heavily inspired and influenced by Rod Serling and his classic '60s television series, "The Twilight Zone." I was enthralled by the way he showcased ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and I especially loved the plot twists common to Twilight Zone stories. I've tried to accomplish something similar in everything I've written. I personally feel that readers love to be surprised.
I was also inspired by Richard Matheson, a terrific author from my youth who passed away in 2013. Mr. Matheson's work was always lean and fast paced. He rarely burdened his reader with excessive verbage. He was direct and to the point.
As an editor, I stress that anything that doesn't advance the storyline or characterization should be considered for deletion. Readers like stories that progress at a steady, reasonable pace and are likely to be distracted by details that may prove to be irrelevant.
My favorite author, when I have an opportunity to read for pleasure, is Harlan Coben. I enjoy stories that pull me in quickly and give me a reason to continue reading, the earlier in the story, the better. A perfect example is the opening line of Mr. Coben's No Second Chance:
When the first bullet hit my chest, I thought about my daughter.
In one brief opening line, Mr. Coben presents a character who was
shot multiple times and survived, but was a good father, concerned
about his daughter as he thought he lay dying. I like this
character, and I've only read one brief line! I encourage all writers to
bond the reader with the lead character as early in the text as
I've always enjoyed helping new writers improve their craft. Since
1986 I have presented highly acclaimed writing workshops at major
colleges and universities across the nation. This allows me to
work face-to-face with struggling writers, and I find it quite
rewarding to help eliminate some of the confusion about a subject
so dear to them.
Finally, I respect the author's creative voice. I believe that
authors and artists have much in common, only writers paint
pictures with words instead of paint. I would never attempt to put
words into an author's mouth just as someone should never tell a
painter where to apply his brush. I tell an author
where a problem exists and explain why it's a problem, but the
author should decide independently what to do about it; I never want
to intrude on nor disrespect the author's vision.
Throughout my career I've worked with both best-selling and never
before published writers and have found them to be special people.
Serious writers seem to be more sensitive to certain issues and
have a tendency to view life from a different perspective than
non-writers. If you're a true writer, if it's in your blood,
you'll keep writing and improving, never giving up. It becomes a
part of you and even haunts you at times, but it's a wonderful
feeling to create something that can be shared with others.
Writers are entertainers. They don't perform on stage or screen,
but on the printed page. Keep your audience in mind as you write;
you're writing for them, not for yourself.
I hope you'll find the process as fulfilling as I have throughout