On Writing And Foster Care with ‘Warm Bodies’ Author Issac Marion

From Shelfari:

Isaac Marion was born in north-western Washington in 1981 and has lived in and around Seattle his whole life, working a variety of strange jobs like delivering deathbeds to hospice patients and supervising parental visits for foster-kids. He is not married, has no children, and did not go to college or win any prizes. Warm Bodies is his first novel.

You can also find the author on his blog: http://burningbuilding.blogspot.com/

Sidney Sheldon Interview

From Wikipedia:

Sidney Sheldon (February 11, 1917 – January 30, 2007) was an Academy Award-winning American writer. His TV works spanned a 20-year period during which he created The Patty Duke Show (1963–66), I Dream of Jeannie (1965–70) and Hart to Hart (1979–84), but he became most famous after he turned 50 and began writing best-selling novels, such as Master of the Game (1982), The Other Side of Midnight (1973) and Rage of Angels (1980). He is the seventh best selling writer of all time.

 

Building a Writer with William Styron

William Styron

William Styron

INTERVIEWER

If you had to build a sort of composite writer, what attributes would you give him?

STYRON

I don’t know exactly, but first would be a background in reading. A writer must have read an enormous amount by the time he begins to write. I remember when I first wanted to be a writer, at the age of eighteen, just immersing myself in books—marauding forays I made at the Duke University library. I read everything I could get my hands on. I read promiscuously: I read poetry; I read drama; I read novel after novel. I read until I realized I was causing damage to my eyes. It was a kind of runaway lust.

The second thing is that you must love language. You must adore language—cherish it, and play with it and love what it does. You have to have a vocabulary. So many writers who disappoint me don’t have a vocabulary—they don’t seem to have much feeling for words.

Those are two of the most important things for a writer. The rest is passion and vision; and it’s important, I think, to have a theme. Melville said, probably in a grandiose way, To write a mighty book you must have a mighty theme. I do think there is something to that. You need not have a grandiose theme but you must have an important theme. You must be trying to write about important things, although a truly fine writer will deal with seemingly unimportant matters and make them transcendentally important.

From Wikipedia:

William Clark Styron, Jr. (June 11, 1925 – November 1, 2006) was an American novelist and essayist who won major literary awards for his work.

For much of his career, Styron was best known for his novels, including:

  • Lie Down in Darkness (1951), his acclaimed first novel, published at age 26;
  • The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), narrated by Nat Turner, the leader of an 1831 Virginia slave revolt;
  • Sophie’s Choice (1979), a story “told through the eyes of a young aspiring writer from the South, about a Polish Catholic survivor of Auschwitz and her brilliant but troubled Jewish lover in postwar Brooklyn”.

Styron’s influence deepened and his readership expanded with the publication of Darkness Visible in 1990. This memoir, originally intended as a magazine article, chronicled the author’s descent into depression and his near-fatal night of “despair beyond despair”.

 

A Quick Lesson on Persistence from Kathryn Stockett

Kathryn Stockett

Kathryn Stockett

Stockett’s advice for writers and anyone else who keeps hitting a brick wall?

“Give in to your obsession.”

“In the end, I received 60 rejections for The Help. But letter number 61 was the one that accepted me. After my five years of writing and three and a half years of rejection, an agent named Susan Ramer took pity on me. What if I had given up at 15? Or 40? Or even 60? Three weeks later, Susan sold The Help to Amy Einhorn Books.”

From Wikipedia:

Kathryn Stockett is an American novelist. She is known for her 2009 debut novel, The Help, which is about African-American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, during the 1960s.

 

 

Silver Linings: An Interview with Matthew Quick

Matthew Quick

Matthew Quick

**Interview obtained from CollingswoodPatch**

Patch: You’ve spoken about how taking a chance on writing saved your marriage and your professional soul. How much do you think being in a partnership with another writer helped make that moment something through which you could support each other?

Matthew Quick: Being married to a fiction writer means your partner understands your great need to write, the ups and downs of your creative mania, and that working a so-called traditional job can be seriously bad for your mental health. The stakes are high for both of us, and this intensifies everything, which can be both good and bad.

Alicia is a trusted confidante. We discuss all of our creative efforts on a daily basis, edit each others’ work, and take turns playing cheerleader and therapist. It’s a partnership that works, but it is somewhat rare. I wouldn’t have made it this far without Alicia. She has been and continues to be the most essential component of my creative process/career.

Patch: Now that you’ve arrived professionally, what’s the difference between breaking through and staying in the game?

Quick: I’m not sure you ever actually arrive professionally. When I was unpublished, my then-mentor and now-friend, Roland Merullo, used to tell me that just as soon as you rise up a level the goals immediately change. “If only I could get an agent” becomes “if only I could sell a manuscript” within five seconds of landing an agent. And I think this is the way of the world.

I try to appreciate all that has come my way and celebrate every success, but I’m also always writing the next book. This isn’t a hobby for me. My goal has always been to be a working fiction writer in the present tense. Fans will always be asking what’s next and I aim to always have an answer.

Patch: Sorta Like a Rock Star and Boy21, your two subsequent novels, were written for a Young Adult audience. Why the switch in genre focus?

Quick: Given my experience as a high school English teacher and the fact that my adult novel is about a man who gets knocked back into a teen-like mindset, my agent suggested I write a young adult novel. I resisted at first, but he talked me into it.

My first attempt didn’t sell. It was a (somewhat insane) novel called ELEPHANTMOUSE. There was one editor who said nice things about it and asked to see another book from me, so I wrote her one and she bought it. Since, I have read a lot of very good, current, realistic YA and befriended some publishing YA writers. It’s a vibrant, healthy and lively community. I’m happy to be a part of it.

Patch: How have your experiences in the classroom helped you fictionalize the adolescent mindset? What are the most important things to keep in mind as an adult writing for that audience?

Quick: I taught, coached, chaperoned and counseled teenagers for eight years. During that time period I gained an appreciation for just how difficult and formative the teen years are. What struck me was how hard most teens work to be seen as adults, even before they are ready to be adults. They’re stuck in this in-between world. Sometimes my students shocked me with great insights and maturity way beyond their years, and other times I’d catch them coloring in class, or humming childlike in the hallway, or singing on the bus ride home from a sporting event, or crying over the most trivial occurrence.

When I write YA, I try to remember that teens are neither adults nor children, but maybe people with one foot in both worlds. I think the best thing we can do for kids is to reassure them that they can step fully into adulthood and be OK—help them make that leap.

Patch: As a South Jersey/Philly-area resident, you must know how the region can be neglectful of its local artists until they make it bigger elsewhere—and then takes pride in owning its own once they hit the mainstream. What are your feelings about success, and what do you expect of your homecoming?

Quick: I don’t feel that way at all about the SJ/Philly area. Collingswood has been incredibly supportive of my career from the beginning. Even when I was a student at Collingswood High School, there were people encouraging me to write, albeit a small number. But I understand what you mean.

Part of being an artist is stepping away from the herd and into the fringe. The artist does this to find some sort of unique perspective. The herd is very suspicious of fringe people until they understand what they are doing out there all alone. Publishing—especially if you receive any sort validation from credible sources—confirms for the herd that you really are a fiction writer and not delusional. I can’t wait to speak with the Collingswood community.

Patch: Along those lines, in what ways do your South Jersey roots influence your approach to storytelling, if at all? What do you miss most (and least) about the region now that you’re living elsewhere?

Quick: I set most of my stories in or around Philadelphia, partly because I know the area, but mostly because I love Philly. Setting my stories in and around Philly is a way to come home. The thing I miss the most about SJ/Philly is good pizza. Hands down. You cannot buy a slice in my town here in Massachusetts. How crazy is that?

Patch: In Collingswood, you and Alicia lived above the Cheese, Etc. gift shop. (Just so you know, the Horlachers still keep a copy of The Silver Linings Playbook on hand.) What are your memories of that period of time?

Quick: Kenny and Gina Horlacher are fantastic people and trusted friends. Their cheese selection is also wonderful. (I recommend the drunken goat.) Many a Second Saturday we closed the cheese shop wine-tasting parties. Alicia and I really miss living in Collingswood. We made many friends who were also artists, writers, filmmakers. It’s a fantastic community. Definitely where you want to be in South Jersey.

Patch: Now that you’ve had a first-hand taste of two of the most passionate rooting interests on the East Coast, who’s worse Negadelphians or Ma–holes?

Quick: If you are driving, Ma–holes are terrifying. Watch out on I-90, because people drive fast and aggressive! But when it comes to rooting on a sports team, especially in central Massachusetts where I live, people are so polite it’s almost embarrassing. They are passionate sports fans around here—every man, woman, and child can name the Red Sox starting lineup—but they are just so nice. They never rub it in when the Philly teams lose, and often mention the Philly wins to me with true excitement, as if they are happy that their neighbor’s team won. It is indeed a strange place for a Philly sports fan to live.

Patch: If you could sit in Jeffrey Lurie’s desk, what would you do with the current Eagles franchise?

Quick: Go back to kelly green uniforms. The Eagles uniforms will always be kelly green in my mind. Midnight green is not our color. I lost faith in Andy last year, but I’m feeling hopeful enough to buy in again next year. I just paid for my season ticket. What can I say? I’m a hopeful guy.

Patch: What story ideas are on the horizon for you? On what kind of timeline are you operating for the next novel?

Quick: I have another young adult novel due out in the spring of 2013 called Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. I’m working on an adult book too. And I’ve been toying with a screenplay.

Patch: What’s your advice for unpublished authors who share your irrepressible impulse to write? Would it vary by age? Status? Income level?

Quick: At any age/status/income level, you must make writing a priority. If it’s not your first priority, it should probably be in your top three. Write a lot. Read a lot. Write some more. Learn how to edit. Learn about the publishing business. Be professional. Say thank you. Encourage other writers. Support other writers. Don’t trash other writers online, because the publishing world gets very small once you get a foot in the door.

Perhaps most important—remember that you are not competing with anyone except yourself. Celebrate success wherever it lands and try to stay positive. My grandfather used to say, “It’s a long race,” and it is.

From Wikipedia:

Matthew Quick (born 1973) is an American author of young adult and fiction novels. His debut novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, was adapted into a movie, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, with Robert De Niro and Chris Tucker.

Quick was finalist for a 2009 PEN/Hemingway Award, and his work has been translated into several languages. In 2012, his young-adult novel, Boy 21, was reviewed favorably by The New York Times.

Who is We and What is the Short Attention Span Press Doing Here?

 

The Oracle

 

The Short Attention Span Press is a group of people that post important advice to writers of all genres under the guide of accomplished author Meyer Lane. Meyer Lane, himself, takes the time most every day to make comments and post advice that he also sees fit along with posting an an occasional original piece of work for exclusive release to the internet for free. You may be able to catch him online at any time.

We at the Short Attention Span Press are glad to be a part of this most unusual mix of accomplished and struggling writers. We would also like to thank Meyer Lane for his guidance and willingness to put a pen name up in order to consistently assist new writers. Know that there is a measured amount of contractual risk he is taking by doing so. It is for this reason that he cannot reveal his true name. He feels that it is a small amount of risk to take in order to reach into the void of unknown great writers and inspire them (even give them a place to showcase their work) to become known for their own unique abilities that only they have.

Now a word from Meyer;

“It is a shame that I have seen a great many artists that not only had the ability to be listed amongst the great writers in history but were already producing works that reflected so only pass into the emptiness. I am here to try to stop the attrition. I am here to give people the inspiration and the chance to become what I know they can become. We are not looking for the muse. We are the muse.”

~ Meyer Lane

We at the Short Attention Span Press would like to again thank you for your continued support.

~ Gabriel M., Supervising Editor

Robert Towne on Screenwriting

Robert Towne

Robert Towne

ON STRUCTURE

“Generally speaking, if you don’t set everything up in the beginning, you’ll pay for it… in the middle or in the end. So I would rather pay for it at the beginning. It’s not television and they’re not going to go off into the icebox, or they’re not going to change channels. An audience in a movie will forgive you for just about anything for the first 10 minutes or so. But really nothing at the end. So it’s the time to prepare… the beginning.”

ON THE QUESTION “WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?”

“I don’t think there are principles, other than asking yourself over and over again what’s going to happen next… and seeing if you’re interested in what’s going to happen next. I’m upset if what I think is going to happen next or I think should happen next, there’s something about it that doesn’t, I guess, ring true. That’s not quite real.”

ON CHARACTER

“The single most important question, I think, that one must ask one’s self about a character is what are they really afraid of? What are they really afraid of? And if you ask that question, it’s probably for me the single best way of getting into a character. That finally is where stories are told… with a character that’s real.”

ON REWRITING

“In rewriting what you have to be able to do is read a piece of material, say what’s wrong with it, know how to say what’s right with it, and then be able to do it yourself. That’s really what it comes down to. Some people say what’s wrong with something, some people can even say what’s right with it, and some people can do all three. but, you know, the more things that are required, the fewer people can do it. I think I can do it.”

ON WHAT JACK NICHOLSON TAUGHT HIM ABOUT CHARACTERS

“Watching Jack improvise really had an effect. His improvisations were inventive. When he was given a situation, he would not improvise on the nose. He’d talk around the problem, and good writing is the same way: it’s not explicit. Take a very banal situation — a guy trying to seduce a girl. He talks about everything but seduction, anything from a rubber duck he had as a child to the food on the table or whatever. But you know it’s all oriented toward trying to fuck this girl. It’s inventive, and it teaches you something about writing.

“Most scenes are rarely about what the subject matter is. You soon see the power of dealing obliquely or elliptically with situations, because most people rarely confront things head-on.”

 

From Wikipedia:

Robert Towne (born Robert Bertram Schwartz; November 23, 1934) is an American screenwriter and director. His most notable work may be his Academy Award-winning original screenplay for Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974).

Towne is the author of many notable film scripts, including Chinatown (1974), for which he received an Academy Award, plus its sequel, The Two Jakes (1990), and Oscar-nominated screenplays The Last Detail and Shampoo as well as the first two Mission Impossible films. Towne has also a “stellar reputation” in the motion-picture industry as an uncredited script doctor,who has worked in such a capacity for The Godfather, Bonnie and Clyde, The Parallax View, The Rock and dozens of other Hollywood films.