SL: I had written a few short stories when I was in elementary and high school, but it wasn’t until I was working in the movie business in Hollywood as a sculptor for special effects, that the bug finally hit. I was required to read the scripts of the movies I worked on and kept thinking that I could do better. Then a friend presented me with a writing challenge, where we would hang out at his house, eat, drink, play in his pool, and write something in one day.
I was aghast at how awful mine turned out! I’d like to blame it on the food, drink, and water sports, but the food was great, my drinks were Cokes, and wet frolicking was inducive to writing on a hot California day. However, what seemed like an easy idea wasn’t so easy to put down on paper and have it make sense. I found that my concepts were good, but my writing skills sorely needed study.
After that day, I decided to learn my way through this skill set by writing a novel. Talk about jumping into the deep end! A few months went by before I could read what I wrote without cringing. I was working on a lot of big budget movies at the time and still kept thinking that there must be a way to write better films. So I started on a screenplay. Again, this turned to be harder than it looked. I then started down the road of taking every screenwriting course out there—and being in Hollywood, there were plenty! I took seminars from the hottest writing gurus, workshops with well-known writers and directors. I went to a plethora of film screenings and picked the brains of the writers, directors, actors and producers, and did the same on all the movies I was working on. And I wrote.
Though at times ego-crushing, fortunately, I had the best of unfiltered criticism from the many directors, producers, and agents I pitched to at all the famous production companies and agencies. I became somewhat battled hardened, but also became a better writer. Years down the road, after I had mastered the skills of a screenwriter, I went back to writing novels, and found a whole new love. I continue to write both.
- BACK FROM THE DEAD: the true sequel to Frankenstein (paranormal thriller)
- SHADOW HOUSE (supernatural thriller)
- CLAIMING LIVES (crime thriller)
- EPIPHANY (speculative fiction)
- CROSSING THE DOUBLE YELLOW (action adventure)
- ENDLESS SKY: the sergeant’s pledge (book one) (science fiction)
- ORIGINAL BLOOD: Gailene’s Vow (book one) (paranormal, vampire)
- ORIGINAL BLOOD: Szejna’s Revenge (book two) (paranormal, vampire)
I also have 18 screenplays in various genres.
RL: They come from all over the place. Ideas are so plentiful, you just need to be aware of them. I get them from living an unusual life, dreams, world events, local events, something I overhear someone say. Or something just pops into my head for no apparent reason. My problem is never a lack of ideas, only which one I want to spend the next three months to a year researching and writing. When I commit to writing a particular story, I will have to live with those characters night and day, 24-7, be inside their minds, know them better than I know my living friends, and like with real friends, allow them to be who they are without any manipulation from me.
RL: I don’t get conventional writer’s block, that is, I generally don’t get stumped on where to go, or what my characters need to say. This is because storytelling for me now is pretty much intuitive. A owe a lot of that to writing so many screenplays, which force you to learn a very tight structure and know where every second of your story is going. Just as important, I allow all my characters to live their lives their way. I just follow them around and write it all down. I’m a voyeur and eavesdropper. My problem comes from choosing which idea to write.
SL: I’m doing a rewrite on an old script because a producer expressed an interest and wanted to see it updated. But I’m also in the final throws of decided which new novel to write. On one hand, I have books to write for my science fiction and vampire series. On the other, after reading a fantastic author that I’m sure is going to win the Pulitzer, I’ve become super inspired to write a literary novel. See, there are so many choices!
SL: The very best and easiest way to learn more about me, and more importantly, my writing, is to visit my new writer’s website and blog at www.stuartland.com.