Advice to the Young Writer

There are Seven Writing Secrets.

Ha — surprise.

If you promise Seven anything Secrets, people will read you. (See? I’ve gotten you this far…)

Now, on to writing secrets…

Ryan, early 20s, the nephew of an old friend, made it known that he would deeply appreciate tips from someone who has written such nonsense as Miami Vice and Star Trek.

We met at Mel’s Diner.

Here is a letter prepared by a friend (a law graduate) after Ryan and I lunched there.

Dear Sir,

On Sunday, August 11, 2002, at approximately 12:00 p.m. noon, I visited Mel’s Diner on Ventura Boulevard, in Sherman Oaks, CA, accompanied by a friend.

While I was seated at the counter, the backrest of the stool upon which I was seated collapsed and shattered, causing me to fall backwards to the floor.

As a result of the fall, I am experiencing severe back and shoulder pain accompanied by headaches. If the pain does not subside, I must seek medical attention.

Based upon the foregoing, I hold you liable for my injuries.

Jaron Summers

Following is the exchange Ryan and I had prior to my tumble.

First I stressed how important it was for Ryan to be honest with not only himself but with his audience.

Ryan said that was no problem, but he was so busy scrambling to earn enough to live on in Los Angeles, there was no time to write.

My suggestion:  “Reduce expenditures. Transport a cockroach in change purse and introduce critter to plate after dessert.”

“Is that legal?”

I explained that an even better ploy is to dine in a fine restaurant, gorge, and then set the tablecloth ablaze. “Scream ‘Fire!!!’ and bolt.”

“You do such things?”

Our waiter brought the check. Since I had neither my cockroach nor lighter, I reached for my wallet. For some stupid reason, I leaned back slightly and my stool gave way. I fell backwards and landed on my ass much to the brief horror and then sustained merriment of my fellow lunchers.”

The manager raced to pick me up, mumbling there would be no charge for the food.

“Numb from temple to toes…suspect soft tissue damage…What about drinks?” I gasped.

“On the house, also, sir. And we’ll take care of any medical treatment.”

As we left Ryan looked at me with great admiration.

What I never told Ryan was that while I was falling I was befuddled and terrified. How the freak accident happened (between you and me) I don’t know.

That night I examined my body for bruises. Zero. My headache mysteriously subsided. Tenderness in my arm vanished.

Attempted to will back ailments and afflictions. No luck.

After third vodka I shall employ a hammer to my backbone.

When Ryan visits yours truly, enjoying some well deserved R & R at the UCLA Spinal Injury ward, I will share with him additional lectures on the importance of honesty in the literary world.

Young writers long for (and require) the older artist’s wisdom and guidance.


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