Ep 087: How to write your next novel in a castle for a month (for free!); why your self-published book needs a professional cover; words you need to cut from your writing; why writers need to get used to playing the waiting game. Win a copy of the novella “Thirteen Ways of Looking”; Mia Freedman declares that mummy blogs are almost over. And meet Writer-in-Residence Drew Chapman, author of The King of Fear. We also roadtest the app “Tape a Call” so you can record phone conversations on your smartphone.

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podcast-artwork In Episode 87 of So you want to be a writer: Congrats to our presenter Judith Rossell for making the shortlist for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards. Allison Tait’s The Mapmaker Chronicles 2: Prisoner of the Black Hawk is one of the best middle grade books for 2015! Also: would you want to write a novel in a European castle? Why you need a professional book cover for your self-published book, phrases to cut from your writing, patience for writers, and the death of the mummy blog. Plus: Writer-in-Residence Drew Chapman, the app “Tape a Call” to record your phone calls (perfect for journalists!), how to approach writing a trilogy, and more!

Click play below to listen to the podcast. You can also listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher Radio. Or add the podcast RSS feed manually to your favourite podcast app.

Show Notes

The best middle fiction books of 2015

2015 Prime Minister's Literary Award shortlists

Need a writer’s retreat? Write your next book in a castle.

Your Self-Published Book Needs a Cover. Here’s How to Create It

Phrases to cut from your writing

Writers, Are You Willing to Play the Waiting Game

‘Mummy blogs are almost over’: Mamamia scraps network approach and launches Instagram-style app and consultancy business

Writer in Residence 

Drew Chapman
Author Drew Chapman wearing a black overcoat with the collar turned up and standing in front of a mustard yellow bankgroundDrew works extensively in television, where he writes under the name Andrew Chapman. He has sold pilots to ABC, Fox, Amazon, ABC Family, and Sony. In 2014 Drew wrote and produced an eight part limited series for ABC called The Assets, and this year wrote on and co-executive produced the second season of the spy show Legends for TNT.

His first novel, The Ascendant, was released by Simon & Schuster in 2014. The sequel, The King of Fear, was published as an ebook and will be released later as a paperback.

 

Find Drew on Twitter

Find Simon and Schuster Australia on Twitter
Working Writer's Tip

How to approach writing a trilogy?

Answered in the podcast!

Competition

WIN Colum McCann's latest book

Entries close 7th December 2015.

Your hosts

Allison Tait

Valerie Khoo / Australian Writers' Centre

Connect with us on twitter

@altait

@valeriekhoo

Email us

podcast at writerscentre.com.au

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Interview Transcript 

 

Valerie

Drew, thank you so much for joining us today.

 

Drew

Thank you for having me.

 

Valerie

Now for readers who haven't yet read your book, King of Fear, can you tell us what it's about?

 

Drew

Sure. King of Fear is the sequel to my first book called The Ascendant, which it's a thriller that centers around a main character named Garrett Riley. And Garrett Riley is a young bond trader in New York City. He works on Wall Street and he makes his money through pattern recognition. He sort of sees the ebb and flow in the markets and that's how he kind of makes his fortune.

 

In the beginning of the first book he sees that somebody is selling off a massive amount of US treasuries to attack the American economy and then he realizes that it's the Chinese. And then he sort of understands in the book that there's an underground, almost invisible war going on between the US and China. And, he gets recruited by the government to help fight that war.

 

And the second book is the sort of ongoing story, it's a new nation and a new problem for Garrett to sort of deal with and in the second book it is about Russia. And, the sort of invisible war that's going on between the United States and Russia. And Garrett is recruited to help in that too.

 

But, ultimately what the books really are about are character studies of this main character, this guy Garrett Riley, who is this sort of young hotshot who's also troubled and is very much a subversive who never does what he's told, can't be trusted, smokes too much pot, sleeps with too many women, and gets into too many bar fights, and yet he has to be a patriot and he really doesn't want to be that thing.

 

And, so it's sort of about his journey growing up basically.

 

Valerie

And so your protagonist has a very specific skill, pattern recognition, did you know somebody who had this skill as well? Or did you have experience in the bond trading industry? Like, where did the first book, the idea for the first book and the setting and the character come from?

 

Drew

Well, you know, I'm obsessed with economics and I'm obsessed with math and numbers, so it comes from me. It's not like I'm some specialist in pattern recognition, I just love that idea. But, the real truth is what I really wanted to make the book about was about somebody who's called to service who doesn't want to do it. Who is the sort of very reluctant hero.

 

I always say that this is not Tolstoy, this is a book you pick up at the airport in Los Angeles and you read as you're flying to New York. I love those books. I think those books are great and fun, but these always have these protagonist who are so macho and male, and like they could kill you with their little pinky, I just I don't know that person. I've never met that person.

 

Valerie

No.

 

Drew

And I'm not interested in that person. I want to see a hero who's sort of like me, who is just an everyday guy who might have a particular specialty in life who applies that specialty to the world.

 

The real thing that happened that really… all of my books, all my television writing, whatever I do, it's always about a character, it's always about a person. Like, I always shape the story around that one person. And, the story that fascinated me was — I don't know if you know this in Australia, but in the United States there was this football player named Pat Tillman, American football. And he left American football and a lucrative contract and joined the army. And he went and he fought in Afghanistan and he was a big deal when it happened, and he was killed. And he was killed, it turned out, by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

 

And this was a really big deal in the United States. And at his funeral all of these people, he was from the state of Arizona, and all of these big fancy politicians showed up at his funeral, they had never known the guy, but they spoke about him because he was this national hero.

 

Valerie

Yep.

 

Drew

And, they spoke glowingly about the fact that he had died and that he had served his country, and then his brother got up to speak. And, I saw footage of it, and his brother was drunk, really drunk, and he spoke with a beer in his hand. And he was enraged. And, he cursed and he yelled at all of the people who had said these wonderful things about his brother, and he said, “You know what? You don't know my brother, you don't know why he died, you don't know what he was about,” and basically go to hell.

 

I thought, “Wow, that guy is interesting. Who is that guy?” And so I started researching him, the character is only very, very loosely inspired by the guy. And so my character has an older brother who dies in Iraq, and he hates the army and he hates the military because of it, and he hates the government, and now the government is coming to ask him to work for them.

 

And I thought, “Oh, that's an interesting contradiction, I want to explore that.”

 

Valerie
Yeah.

 

Drew

And that was really where it came from.

 

 

 

 

Valerie

And so can King of Fear, which is as you said the sequel to The Ascendant, be read as a standalone book, is it self-contained, would you suggest that to readers? Or do you think that they should start with the first one.

 

Drew

Well, of course I would always like them to buy the first one…

 

Valerie

Yeah, of course.

 

Drew

… and start there. But, yes, I wrote it absolutely as a self-contained book. You really have to. I always love JK Rowlings' Harry Potter books, which are… once you get to like the fourth or fifth book obviously you've read all the first ones, but when you read the second one she does a good job of sort of very quickly laying out what everything's about so if you've missed the first one you still understand what's going on. And, it's really an art. My editor had to really help me with that, and like I overwrote the first draft explaining every detail and she's like, “No, no, you can drop your readers right into the middle of it, just make sure they're not lost and then they'll follow along.” So, there's a lot of guys and women who write mysteries and thrillers who have the same character reoccurring and sometimes you pick up like their 13th book and you start reading it and you're completely lost. You have no idea, and I think they lost track of the fact that some of us are just wandering through the bookstore and going, “Ooh, I'd like to read that,” and you don't know what the first one is.

 

Valerie
You've been involved in writing for the television industry for some years, when did you know that you wanted to be a writer and what did you do to get there back then?

 

Drew

You mean just writer in general?

 

Valerie

In general, yes. As opposed to, you know, a chiropractor or a dog groomer or whatever, yes.

 

Drew
Well, you know the truth is, and this is probably not helpful to your audience, there's only been two things I've ever wanted to be in my life and one was a professional basketball player, and the other was a writer. And, given that I'm 6′ tall I was never going to be a professional basketball player.

 

I have wanted to be a writer since my earliest memories. That's the only thing I've ever wanted to do in my life. I can't explain exactly why, I love books and I've loved them from early on. Although I didn't write books for a long time, I just wrote in the movies and television. I did journalism. I don't… it's in some ways I've always been kind of, you know, a little regretful that I didn't explore… you know, I could have been a chemist or a whatever. You know, there's so many things I could have done.

 

But, no, I just had to be a writer and that's all I've ever done.

 

Valerie

You say that you've always loved books, but how come it took a little while for you to get to your first novel? What made you finally ready?

 

Drew

Well, I think I had a winding road. I mean I did start in journalism, and then I have a family history in the entertainment business. My dad is a cinematographer, a cameraman, so I had this sort of in to the movie business, and I kind of fell into it. I was kicking around and working as a bartender and just odd jobs, and then I thought, “Oh, I should, you know…” I mean I was writing all the time, and I thought, “Well, I should write screenplays, if I'm not writing journalism.” So, I didn't write a novel.

 

So, I sort of fell into writing screenplays and could make a living at it, and so you kind of are trapped by your own competence, right? I was pretty good at writing screenplays, so I never got around to actually writing the books.

 

I eventually wrote a book because I had the idea for my first book, The Ascendant, and I was under contract to a TV network to write a screenplay for them. But, they didn't need it for, like, six to eight months. So, I had all of this time and I was getting paid, which is, you know, like the rarest thing in the world for a writer. And I thought, “Oh, I could sell this idea as a television show,” and then I thought, “You know, maybe this is the moment for me to just like write it as a book instead, and not…” You know, when you're work in the entertainment business you get a lot of notes. People are always tell you what to change and what to do and how the audience is going to like it.

 

I thought, you know, I don't want that. I just want to write the thing I want to write, I don't care if it gets published, and I don’t care if anybody reads it. I'm just going to write this thing that I want to write.

 

So, I sat down and I did it.

 

Valerie

And so then what happened? Can you tell us how you got your book deal for the
The Ascendant?

 

Drew

Well, it's interesting, when I teach writing and talk about creative writing I really harp on this. I wrote The Ascendant entirely for myself with no expectation that it would ever, ever be published. I wrote it to self-publish on Amazon. I thought, “I'm just going to write this, I'm going to put it up, and if like my mom and ten of her friends read it, that's fine. Those will be my audience and I just don't care.”

 

And I really, really believed that. I mean to the point where it just… it was incredibly liberating, you know? I just was going to write this thing that was entirely my own.

 

And then when I had finished I sent it to a bunch of friends, and I sent it to my movie agents, who sell stuff to the entertainment business, and they said, “Well, let us get you a literary agent, because we think this could be published,” and I told them no. I was like, “No, I'm just going to publish it myself.” And they were like, “Please, just give us a shot. Come on, we can do this.”

 

And they did. And a publisher, a literary agent jumped on it and then a publisher bought it. It was really just incredibly lucky and I don't pretend that it was in any way skill. I think it was just the right moment, it just kind of happened and kind of fell into my lap.

 

Valerie

Brilliant. Do you find…

 

Drew

That's not a very good story, it's not a story of struggle and rejection, I'm sorry.

 

Valerie

Nothing has to be a story… not everything needs to be a story or a struggle.

 

Drew

I know, but it would be more uplifting if I told you, “I sent it out to 40 different people,” but, I didn't. I'm sorry.

 

Valerie

When you're writing, you obviously write for TV, which is a very collaborative process, as you say, you get a lot of notes. And writing a novel is a little bit more isolating, in a sense.

 

Do you have to do anything to switch hats or to think, “I'm in this mode now, I'm writing a television show.” “I'm in this mode now, I'm writing my novel.” Do you do anything or write in a different space, or anything like that?

 

Drew

Well, when you're writing a TV show it is so collaborative. I mean if you're writing on a staff of a television show you're in a room with all of these other writers, so, like, you have no choice but to be, like, collaborative and outgoing with all of the other people, you're just throwing ideas around. I mean it's fun. It's a very… but, it's a very, as you said, very, very different. So, you know, two… if I'm writing a book and then I have to go write on staff, I'm forced into another headspace, so it's not a problem.

 

If you're going the other direction, from writing television to writing a book, yeah, you do have to… I spend a certain amount of time, there's no set time, just trying to be my own boss again. Just trying to really figure out what I want to say about the world, and not being… and this is just me, I try not to be commercial. I try not to think about what people will like or not like.

 

In the television business, in the entertainment business, you have to think about what people are going to like or not like, or you won't work. It is a prerequisite.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

Drew

But, for writing books, you know, I just it just… I'm sort of lucky that the stuff I like is pretty mainstream. I like thrillers, you know, I find them fun. I'm not Tolstoy in any way shape or form. So, that's not really going to be an issue for me. But, I do have to remember to just be really true to what I like and what I want to write when I'm writing a book.

 

That seems to me like the only advice that… the only advice that actually matters.

 

Valerie

When you wrote the King of Fear, and obviously when you wrote The Ascendant, did you know the entire plot before you started and work out, “This is my arc,” and all of that sort of thing? Or did you kind of just see what happens?

 

Drew

I am, and I think this is from being in the entertainment business for so long, I am a structuralist through and through.

 

Valerie

Right.

 

Drew
I have to know… I have to know everything that happens beforehand.

 

I have to know the ending. I have to know the middle. I have to know all of the scenes. I plot out everything to within an inch of its life before I write a word.

 

Valerie
Wow.

 

Drew

I put down cards, I change the cards around, I write it up as an outline. And only when I really know everything do I start writing. Like sometimes… I read an interview with Isabel Allende, you know?

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Drew

And she just sits down at the typewriter or the computer once a year, and she has no idea what's she's going to write and she just writes it.

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Drew

Like, I would just go out of my mind. I would never get a page written. I would just have no idea what to do.

 

Valerie

Practically speaking, how do you physically do that? You say you write on cards, so like index cards, you're talking about? Or do you do an electronic version of index cards, like what you can find on Scrivener, or do you stick them up on the wall? Or lay them out on the carpet? What's it look like actually?

 

Drew

Well, what it really looks like at first is it takes me weeks and sometimes years while I'm working on other things to think of that character that I want to write. Like, in this case Garrett Riley. So, I have this guy and I'm like, “Oh, I want to write about him,” and then I think about who he is, and then I sit down at my computer and this I guess is my Isabel Allende moment, right? I sit down and free associate about him and what his problem is and who he is and what his situation is — his parents and his past and his issues and his flaws and who he loves. And I just write that for as long as it takes. Sometimes it's, like, an afternoon. Sometimes it's, like, weeks.

 

And I just sit and I keep writing and the document can be, you know, 50 pages long, and it's all just nonsense, but it gets it onto the page for me and I refine and I get closer and closer.

 

Then once I've really finished that up, then I start laying out the story. And I work in big chunks. I think, because I'm, again, trained as a screen writer, so I think in thirds, I think in first act, second act third act. So, I think, “OK, in this first act this is what's going to happen at the end of the first act. This is that big change, this is the big sort of reversal. Here's my middle, and that's going to be the middle of the book. And then at the end of that here's my next big, like,
switch-a-roo. And then this is the goal I'm writing towards, here's my finale. And here's how it's going to end.”

 

And even before I've figured out any of those in between stages, I need to know what the final scene is.
Valerie

Yes.

 

Drew

I need to know how that ending is going to be.

 

Then I can work there. And then once I have those big blocks done I write… I just think about what are the most interesting revelatory scenes that I can come up with in between those moments that really… I like to think that even though I write stuff that has a lot of sort of action and thriller-y, mystery stuff in it, it's just a character study. It's just about people. And, so what are the scenes that are interesting and fun that really reveal who this guy is and all of the people around him?

 

And then I write those out and I have those on cards and then, yeah, I pin those up on a big board on a wall and I lay them out and then I move them around and I change them, and then once I've settled into, like, a sort of outline that I like, I type out that outline into my computer, it becomes, like, five or ten pages, very brief outline, print it out and then I write from that outline.

 

The outline changes as I'm writing, so there's a lot… the spontaneity is there, it's like… like that first scene, “No, I don't like it,” I change it completely, because I'm writing it differently, but I need the safety net of that thing that I can refer to all the time.

 

Valerie
Which is the most fun part for you, where you're creating and free associating and discovering that character, or the bit where you're putting all of the cards out, or the actual writing?

 

Drew

None of those. I have two fun parts that are…

 

Valerie

 

Drew

I mean all of those parts are fun, but the real fun for me, and I know this is very strange, is after I've written the entire thing and I've printed it out, all 400 pages, and I sit down in a room with a pen and those 400 pages and I go through and I edit them.

 

Valerie

You like the editing process?

 

Drew
I love editing my own work, and just throwing stuff out and changing it and rewriting… I'll write… my first draft has as much written in scrawl in the margins as it does typed on the pages. So, I just keep changing and changing and changing, and I rewrite, and I rewrite, and I rewrite, and I rewrite until I feel like it's good.

 

Valerie
Wow.

 

Now, I understand that your publisher, Simon and Schuster, is field-testing a new launch model with The King of Fear, and they're releasing it in three parts in digital format, and that started on the 3rd of November 2015. Tell us about this idea. It's very innovative.

 

Drew

Well, it is an experiment. It is a field test, for sure. You know, I think that my editor at Simon and Schuster, a woman named Marysue Rucci, who is a great editor, she read the first third of my second book, The King of Fear, and she got back to me and said, “OK, this is good, I like this, I like that, but… why don't we release it like in parts?” Because she has always felt that as somebody who writes a lot of television and movies I'm good at sort of those cliff-hanger endings.

 

Valerie

Yeah.

 

Drew
She's like, “Why don't we use that sort of talent of yours to our advantage and release it like in a serialized version? And you write those big cliff-hangers and then we'll wait and we'll release the second part.” And at first I was like, “What the hell is this?” I mean I had no idea what she was talking about, but then I thought, “OK,” so I wrote the book to be released that way. I mean I wrote it in thirds with big cliff-hangers because I thought, “Well, that makes sense. I could kind of get into that.” And it makes sense given my TV writing background.

 

But, I mean the real truth is, it's a bit of a marketing experiment. I mean I don't — I have no idea if it will work or not work.

 

Valerie

Sure.

 

 

 

Drew

I'm very afraid that people who like my first book will read the first third and then will be pissed off like, “Hey, how come I can only read a third of this? What the hell is going on?”

 

Valerie

Right.

 

Drew
And I actually have received a couple of those emails already. So, I'm a little nervous.

 

Valerie

With your protagonist, Garrett Riley, I love that his name is not Jack, because every protagonist in Hollywood is name…

 

Drew

Is named Jack, yeah.

 

Valerie

Yeah. But, with your background in the film industry did you write it with an actor in mind?

 

Drew
No. I never write… even when I'm writing a TV or movie script, I never write with an actor in mind. I don't… because the truth is you have no idea who you're going to get.

 

Valerie
Yeah, sure.

 

Drew

If you will get… and if you write with a specific actor in mind, at least in my opinion, you kind of narrow your vision.

 

Valerie

Sure.

 

Drew

And especially for the book, I didn't want… I wanted the book to be a book, separate from any kind of movie/TV world. I just wanted it to be that thing with words on a page.

 

The great, you know, frustration of any TV or feature writer is that you write so many things that nobody but a small handful of executives ever reads. And, that's just like… that's heartbreaking.

 

And so I just thought, “This is not for those executives. This is for me and for the people who just want to read a good thriller.”

 

Valerie
Now, let's say you've written your outline, your 10-15 page outline, you're now in the throes of writing, do you have a particular writing routine, like you aim for a certain word count, or you write for a certain number of hours, or you have to go for a walk first, or whatever, put on some music.

 

Do you have any kind of writing routine when you're in the throes of writing?

 

Drew

Absolutely. I'm very much a morning person. So, get up, you know, have coffee, walk the dog, sit down, you know, write a couple of emails, and then I have a page count. I try to do ten pages of writing, and that's hard. That can be, you know, a lot of times I don't make it, but if I get there really fast then my day's over. If it takes me until, you know, 9:00 at night, then I just keep going until I'm done.

 

So, it's very much a… that is a holdover from writing screenplays.

 

Valerie
Yeah.

 

Drew
Like, pages as opposed to words. And I could never quite get the word thing, like my editor will be like, “Well, it needs… we need to trim 10,000 words,” I'm like, “I have no idea what 10,000 words is, can you just give me a page number?”

 

So, yeah, that's it. I have rules. I'm a little anal on that kind of stuff, you know, as you can tell.

 

Valerie

So there's much talk these days in the industry about having an author platform. What do you think of this? Do you think it is important?

 

Drew

You mean like a social media platform?

 

Valerie

Yeah, and building your profile as an author, gone are the days where you can just sort of leave it to your publisher to do all of the publicity, now you kind of need to do a bit of… you both need to contribute.

 

Drew

Yeah, I mean I'm for sure doing that. I am somebody who… I like to talk and I like to do these kinds of podcasts and interviews and I do a bunch of radio and I like to teach classes and go to book readings. So, I'm not like a shut in writer, I'm a little bit more of an extrovert writer.

 

I hope my publisher doesn't hear this, it amazes me how the marketing arm of publishing houses in the United States is not more aggressive about stuff. Like, in the entertainment business your marketing arm, they run the show. I mean they are throwing millions of dollars around all the time, trying desperately to get people to show up and put their butts in seats at movie theatres or turn the channel to watch their show. I mean that's their life blood.

 

And in publishing it's kind of… it's a really old-fashioned business.

 

Valerie

Yes.

 

 

 

Drew

And I'm kind of shocked. So, yeah, I feel very much that you have to take matters into your own hands. I have a website and a Twitter and Instagram and I blog, and I do as many interviews as people will want to do, and I like to spread the gospel of writing and storytelling and how important it is, and how to do it. I feel like it's not just, you know, that you want to be a writer, but it's how you can tell stories in your life and how that can help you in all kinds of ways.

 

So, I'm all for it. I feel like, you know, I can be an evangelist, not just for myself and not just for the Drew Chapman brand, but, you know, just for writing in general.

 

Valerie
I love something that you wrote on your blog where you talk about clustering events, and how last year The Ascendant was release on the 7th of January 2014, and two days later a TV show you produced and wrote, The Assets premiered on ABC, but then this year rolls around and on November 2nd a TV show you co-executive produced and wrote, Legends, which interestingly I literally only discovered yesterday on the plane — yeah, only yesterday. And, the next day after that was released on November 2nd, your second book, The King of Fear, was released.

 

So, that begs the question, what's in store for 2016? What are you working on now that we're likely to see within two days of each other?

 

Drew

I know, it's kind of amazing, right? It's like how did that possibly happen? It's just so random.

 

Valerie
Yeah, it's great.

 

Drew
Yeah, well, so 2016, so the Legend show is done, we're finished writing it. It's showing in the United States now, and my book is obviously coming out. I'm writing a TV show for Amazon, actually. Amazon is in the TV business now.

 

Valerie

Right.

 

Drew
So, I'm writing a pilot for them, whether they actually pick it up to series is another question, but I've sold it as an idea. And, it is a little crazy, it is about a woman, a soccer mom in the United States who becomes a revolutionary, like a real full-on Che Guevara, like, crazy revolutionary in the United States and tries to overthrow the government.

 

Valerie
Wow.

 

Drew

It's not entirely straight, a little comic.

 

And, then I want to write… I'm going to start writing my third book, and I may actually go away from the whole Garrett Riley thing and write a legal thriller. One of the things I love is… the other thing, you know, when you asked me, “What do I love to do?” And I said, “Editing.” The other thing I love to do is research.

 

Valerie

Oh, yes.

 

Drew

I just… I can do research, like, I could just do research forever and never actually do any writing.

 

Valerie
Right.

 

Drew
That would be…

 

So, for The Ascendant and for The King of Fear I sat with bond traders, I went to China, I went to Eastern Europe, I talked with the FBI and the CIA, I mean I just like do all kinds of research, and now I started doing lots of legal research in the United States and sitting in court rooms and talking to lawyers. So, I think that will be my next project.

 

Valerie

Do you already know… like, you say that you plot within an inch of your life, do you already know what's going to happen in this book?

 

Drew
No, I know the character.

 

Valerie

Right.

 

Drew

I know I want to write about a woman who is defense lawyer in Seattle. I live in Seattle, who is the daughter of a fancy corporate lawyer and who's sister is very successful and has lots of money and she's a down and out defense lawyer trying to defend people who are wrongly accused of this or wrongly accused of that. And she's the black sheep. And, I just love that particular character. I have a whole sort of backstory worked out for her.

 

Once I know the character then the plotting, you know, that's sort of the easy part, in a way. The fun part.

 

But, I know who she is. I can really get into what she's going to do.

 

Valerie
So, in 2016 we're going to have the legal thriller and the Amazon TV series being released within two days of each of other.

 

Drew

No, that will have to happen in 2017. It will take me at least a year to get all of those things going.

 

Valerie
OK, have a year off.

 

Drew
Exactly.

 

Valerie

All right. So, you said that you loved to be an advocate for writing generally and for storytelling generally, so what's your advice for aspiring writers who are listening to this and who may not have that in like you did into the entertainment industry, but who want to get paid to write, who want to write their novel one day? What's your advice to them on what they should do, what's the steps they need to take?

 

Drew

Well, I think that is a really interesting question, and one that I get asked all the time. I think there's a couple of ways to approach it. I think the first, most important way to approach it, and this is the one that writers always hate to hear, it takes a long time, and that is I think you have to really figure out who you are. I think you have to figure what you care about and what you're passionate about in the world. And that requires a lot of self-reflection and a certain amount of living.

 

I think you need to really come to grips with what your obsessions are and what your passions are, because in writing most of the time you're going to get no's you're going to get rejections, people are not going to be interested, or even if you get a ‘yes,' nobody is going to read it, or they're going to only… a few people are going to watch it. I mean there's so few, like, unadulterated hits in the world. That rejection is just a part of the process.

 

So, you have to really understand what you want to say and who you are, because you're just going to be telling that same story over and over and over again in various different ways, in a little different ways for your whole life. I mean I feel like I just tell the same story over and over again, just tweak it here and there.

 

So, you have to be very thick-skinned and you have to be very persistent, and it has to be OK with you, you have to really come to peace with the possibility that you might not succeed. That you might just be writing this and fail, and that has to be OK. And, not just like sort of surface level OK. It has to be really OK. And, that gives you a sort of inner strength to keep going, and certainly I have been rejected a million times and have been, you know, broke or nobody wanted to hire me so many times in my life. And you just have to feel that it's going to be OK, you're going to… that that's OK. You'll just keep going.

 

And then once you really come to sort of a peace with that it's very liberating, because then you can tell the world what you want to tell them. Then you have a voice all of a sudden, and nobody can squash that voice. That voice is yours and that voice is powerful.

 

And, I don't know what it is, and I can't tell you, obviously, each one of us has his own voice. It may be women's rights, it may be… for me, you know, math and economics, I find those things fascinating. It's a weird niche, but I love it.

 

I think you just have to really be at peace with that, and then forge ahead. And then you have to write, you have to have, you know, examples of what you do. And you have to have a lot of examples of what you do, because I think that the real truth is not everything you write is going to be good. Some things are going to be good, and some things are going to be bad. And, you have to have a lot of them so that you have the good ones as well as the bad ones to show, so that, you know, the goods ones you sell and the bad ones you tuck in a drawer.

 

Valerie

And on that note, thank you so much for your time today, Drew.

 

Drew
Thank you for having me.

 

 

 

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