Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Brief Note in the Interim...

If you're interested in becoming a novelist, screenwriter, or simply want to improve your writing skills, why not sign up for my online writing course, "Think Like a Writer"?

This right-to-the-point course deals with descriptions, transitions, dialogue and the crafting of believable, "breathing" characters your Readers won't soon forget. You'll get reports, exercises and If you're interested, please contact me at, and write the word, "Student" in the subject line. draft
More next time, I promise.
Lang out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

They stole my idea!

How many of us, especially in the beginning of our careers, have said (or shouted or cried) the same words!  Here we have a wonderful idea--for instance, a boy living with relatives or friends, somewhere out in the outback, who dreams of greatness, of going to the stars, as it were--and he's stuck, until--surprisingly--some wise, wonderful old tutor/mentor/guru breaks him free into a whole new life!

And then we go to the movies or buy a book, and by jiminy, there's our idea, staring us in the face!  Worse, this writer, whoever he is, is making a mint off of it!  What a ripoff!  What a gyp!  What a crume! 

What a mistake!  And we're the ones who make it.

You see, it's not really your Iidea!  The fact is, no one ever owns an idea

The scenario above, that I gave you as an example, could just as easily be applied to Star Wars as to Harry Potter and to a hundred other terrific stories.  Two really good writers took the same idea, the same "skeleton," and fashioned two entirely separate worlds,
two entirely different Protagonists and Villains and Gurus--from the same idea.

Ideas don't belong to anyone.   You can't copyright them, you can't bank them, you can't own them.  The only thing you can do is to make something amazing of them.  That you can own.  You can own and copyright and best of all, sell, whatever you make of an idea, and God bless you for it!  But you can never, never, NEVER own an idea.

So no, Virginia, nobody can steal your idea, because it's not yours in the first place.  (I was very annoyed when I realized this, and had it corroborated for me by professionals far greater than I ever have become; but whether or not I was personally annoyed, it's true, and that's that.)

But the ideas float around out there, waiting for some enterprising writer to grab them and make them into somethign.  So grab one or two or ten.

You can take that idea and run with it, mold it, shape it, craft and maneuver it, until it's something no one ever has seen or felt or witnessed, and every last letter, word, character, scene, and, yes, dollar it contains or can garner, is yours, plus byline.

So go for it.  Grab an idea and wrestle it into the shape you think it should have, coax it to bend, flatter it into shrinking here, expanding there, and one day you'll have something fresh and new and yet warmly familiar, that people will pay to read or watch or sit through.

Good enough?  Sure it is!

Now get out there, tiger, and show them how it's done.

More next time,


PS:  If you'd like me to show you how it's done, I'm opening my writers' membership group to online students in January, which will be ongoing thoughout the year.  It comes in three levels, and in it, I'll share with you everything you need to know to write a saleable story or novel.  But remember, my course doesn't work unless you do. 

If you're interested, and you're willing to do the work, drop me an email at with "Student" in the subject line.  Then I can let you know the particulars, when and where the course starts online, and you can decide which level you'd like to come in on.  Some of you will be more experienced than others, so the different classes address your own level of writing.  Looking forward to seeing you there!  L--