Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writer Influence

by Sandie Bricker

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!

12 comments:

Erin C. Niumata said...

Sandie, I"m still a big fan of your writing. Nice to see you're doing so well!! - Erin C. Niumata

Loree Lough said...

Sandie, you are an amazing woman. I'm sure I'm not the only one reading this blog who considers you a dear friend, and that I'm not alone in calling you an inspiration, either!

Can't wait to get my hands on your yet-to-be released titles!

Laughter is a beautiful sound, and you are responsible for a lot of it, thanks to your wonderful novels.

So thanks... for all you are and all you do!

Love you, girl!
Loree

Suzie Johnson said...

Sandie, I have to echo what Loree said. You are an inspiration. Truly. And you make me laugh!

I can't wait to read all three books.

Oh, and I pray to eventually know what it's like to have a nibble for film rights.

Cynthia Ruchti said...

The ACFW conference in Denver held many personal highlights for me, but one of the sweetest was sitting with Sandie and finding out what all the fuss was about! She is an amazing woman, an amazing storyteller, and a laughter linchpin for a world that needs the endorphins.

Debra Ullrick said...

I love that...about painting a picture, I mean. I have a book called: Word Painting. And isn't that what we writers are about. Instead of using charcoal or pastels to draw a picture, we're using words to draw/paint one. Thanks for the reminder.

I can't wait to get my hands on your next books. My only problem with your novels are...THEY ARE TOO LONG IN BETWEEN! The wait is horrible. Sigh.

When you find a fabulous author you just love, you hate that you don't have another book of theirs to put your grubby little hands on. Okay, MY grubby little hands on, but let's not go all techy, K? hehehe

Keep up the awesome work,Sandy!

Your number one fan,
Debra Ullrick

Rachelle said...

Sandie, my roots go back to screenwriting, too. I'm always thinking of all the ways novel-writing is similar. Great post!

Rachelle said...

Sandie, my roots go back to screenwriting, too. I'm always thinking of all the ways novel-writing is similar. Great post!

Sandie Bricker said...

Wow. I just dropped in to see if anyone had been by, and some of my all-time favorite women had been here!! Exciting stuff, and kind of humbling to read. I love you guys so much. And I'm thrilled to know you're entertained, blessed or otherwise intrigued by what I have to say in my stories. Thank you so much.
Sandie

Jessica said...

Great post! I remember you talked about this at the FL meeting and I really liked it. I didn't do screenwriting but I was in drama for four years so I kind of get what you mean.
Will try to remember when I work on my wip today. :-)
Thanks for sharing Sandie! I'm looking forward to reading your next books too!

S said...

If you wanna get the job done - give it to the busiest woman around! Keep on goin' girl -

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Sandie-

Great post. So glad to see so many good things for you. Cheers~

Carolyn said...

Sandie,
I'd have to say Erin was mine also. She's the absolute best!

Congratulations on your upcoming releases, and a huge thank you for reminding us to take a step back to reflect.