I have three books coming out over the next 5 months.
- Be Still ... and Let Your Nail Polish Dry, a devotional for Summerside Press, comes out this month.
- Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida, my second in that series, publishes in December.
- And The Big 5-OH!, for Abingdon Press' new fiction line, hits bookstores in February.
I know. It wasn’t my finest hour in scheduling when all three deadlines came from two different publishers within a few weeks of one another!
But as the fruit of my very intensive labor grows closer to bookstore shelves, I’ve been doing a load of promotion for these books. Mostly, the interviews are pretty much the same; however, last week one of them asked me that question that only comes up now and then:
Who was the most influential person at the beginning of your writing career?
I’ve referred to former Avalon editor Erin Cartwright-Niumata before when asked the question, because her influences over my writing style and process were great; and I’ve pointed to my father on occasion because he was a frustrated wannabe writer type who never made it a priority, and was thrilled when his daughter did.
But this time around someone else came to mind. His name was (and probably still is, although I have no idea what’s become of him) Len Wechsler, my instructor at screenwriting school in Hollywood back in the mid-80s.
“Show it, don’t tell it!” Len would bellow at us. “Nobody needs you to tell them what to see and how to see it. Paint a picture for them. Let them see it for themselves!”
To this day, I often hear his voice in my ear when I’m writing.
It occurs to me that learning to write with a visual medium as my platform was probably a really good thing for me as a writer who eventually turned to novels. I’ve carried Len’s voice, as well as his effective teaching, over to my books. I suppose proof of that is how often we’re contacted with nibbles on film and television rights.
As a READER, I know that I want to be carried away by a story. The combination of writer’s voice and “showing rather than telling” is really what draws me in. It would only make sense that as a WRITER, I would want to provide that for those reading my books.
I started trying to find Len this week in an effort to tell him that I was listening, that I’m listening still.
Is there a teacher or a mentor or an encourager in your past who might never have known what an inspiration they were to you? I urge you to make like Columbo and seek them out!