NEWSLETTER NO. 2 - WINE & WRITERS
Good writers are like good red wine, both improve with age.
Of course, I do come from a prejudiced viewpoint, but for a good writer, the aging process produces subtleties that can result in a more interesting story for the reader. Experience and knowledge are not given, but rather are earned. Both with wine and writers, you need to start with quality.
While background and education do play an important part, I have to admit genes also play a big part in becoming an excellent writer. Like natural athletes, there are natural writers. That does not mean you cannot be a good athlete or a writer, just that it is easier for some, and they usually end up being the best. In writing interesting adult crime novels, I believe it’s helpful to have an awareness of society as a whole. That feeling or sense is generally gained from the time you spend on earth. You need to have gone to weddings, baby showers, and funerals. Experienced friends divorces, critical illnesses, visiting people in hospices, traveling, and on and on. They are all building blocks in our life experience.
I have the feeling many of today's TV shows are written to gain audience share. I can remember back in 2000 when 28 screenwriters filed a class-action lawsuit against the major networks, studios and talent agencies, alleging that a “systematic" pattern of age discrimination had denied them employment. The writers won a $70 million judgment.
The lawsuit contended that in their zeal to capture young audiences, networks, studios and agencies representing writers unfairly squeezed out writers over the age of 40, creating a climate in which otherwise successful writers with substantial credits on their resumes were unable to get work
The complaint included a report commissioned by the Writers Guild of America showing the decreased rate of writers 40 and older on broadcast network sitcoms and dramas. Nearly 75 percent of writers within the guild age 30 or younger were employed in 1997, vs. 46 percent of those in their 40s and 32 percent of those in their 50s. For some reason, they left out the 60 and 70-year-old writers.
I love to do research and was wondering the age of the principal writers for various T.V. shows. For Downton Abbey – 67 years old, NCIS – 50 years old, Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. – 41 years old, and then when I went to the same source for Mr. Robot – It indicated none. The show doesn’t have any writers, or they made a deal to be left off the credits. Funny, the age of the writers, match my liking for the shows.
A couple of weeks ago, I drove to San Diego for a celebration of my brother Chuck’s 90th Birthday. We reminisced for awhile about being brought up in old Hollywood and visiting the studio lots with my father. As one of my presents, I took a box of See’s Candy, which our mother always had in the house. We got off on the presidential race between Hilary and Trump and worked our way through many of the world’s problems. Don’t challenge my brother about what’s happening in the world. His mind is still top notch. I can remember my dad telling me in his late 80’s how his mind did not seem to have changed that much from when he was thirty. Oh, by the way, my brother drove us from La Jolla Village to Old Town in San Diego to eat at a Mexican restaurant. He just renewed his driver’s license. So much for age.
I will note that in my current FuthurLearn online Forensic Psychology course on Eyewitness Evidence, we’ve been advised that “it is known that our vision and hearing may deteriorate notably from around 70 years of age, and there may also be a decline in attention with aging. All of these (especially quality of vision) will impact upon the completeness and accuracy of eyewitness accounts.” So while I may no longer make a good witness, I’m counting on the fact that my imagination, and extensive business and life background will make me an excellent writer.
So yes, in my late seventies I decided to become a crime novel writer. Why not?
The good thing about writing novels is that you can be successful with a much smaller audience than with TV show or movies. My FBI Special Agent Hartmann series is written for an adult audience who like procedural crime novels. Of course, if some producer wants to make it into a TV series or movie, I would be on top of the world.
My first novel “Death & Taxes” has received great reviews and has won the IBPA Benjamin Franklin SilverAward for Best New Voice in Fiction. I hope you enjoy reading it.
P.S. Like my principal character FBI Special Agent Dick Hartmann, I love a good glass of red wine. Especially Brunello di Montalcino, which my wife Coleen and I first experienced on a wine tasting trip in Italy.
P.P.S. Please bear with me on my newsletter development. I am using a set newsletter template that I haven’t yet fully mastered. But I’m getting there.
Your comments, suggestions, and opinions are appreciated.
Richard V. Rupp