Can You All Hear Me in the Back?

I’m a writer.

I’ve been one of the lucky ones to make a career out of it – out of screenwriting, actually. It didn’t happen right away, but once I was hired to write one film project, they started hiring me to write more.  I wrote a book about it, about what it’s like to be a screenwriter in Hollywood.  One of the reasons I wrote it was because most people have no understanding of what it is that we do.  They think the actors make up all the dialogue and we write down what they tell us.  I wish it was that easy.  But no one really seems to understand the nature of our work. I had a meeting at an unemployment office several years ago – I wanted to transition to writing multi-media content. The employment counselor behind the desk (well aware of my writing résumé) smiled politely as she told me, “Oh no, dear. You can’t do multi-media – You have to be creative to do that kind of work!”

Nobody really understands what a writer does.

I’m not sure I understand it either.  I know what’s expected from us – creative content.  But I’ve never understood the kind of magic that happens from that first creative spark that moves our hand to reach for a pen or a keyboard until some switch inside of us finally turns off.  What we are left with is truly a miracle.  I don’t care if you’re new and untrained, or if you’ve been published, acknowledged, and paid.  It’s a miracle because not everyone can do it, and creation should never be taken as commonplace, or easily accomplished.

Like everyone else who has gone to Hollywood, screenwriting wasn’t my first job in the town of broken dreams.  I started as a tour guide at Universal Studios

That’s a photo of me just off to the side – dressed in the red, white, and blue polyester-blend jacket and hot pants. There’s a photo of the tour tram at the top of this blog’s page. They look different now – the one in the photo is the style I used to ride in when I gave tours.  8 hours of non-stop talking in the summers when the park was over brimming with tourists. I was responsible for shepherding two hundred tourists in every tram, and every tour.

Tour guiding is a lot like writing.

You tell people stories, you inform, you entertain, you keep the people focused, and wanting more.  It’s not as lonely as writing because you can always see the people there in front of you.  You can tell what’s working and what’s not by the smiles on their faces, and the attention in their eyes.

“Can you all hear me in the back?”

They answer you.  They connect.  And that was the joy in doing the job – people were listening, and they wanted you to go on. That’s what’s missing in writing – that immediate reaction from another human being. You don’t get that from a solitary reader holding your paperback, or viewing your words through a window of pixels.

So I started this blog.

I’m slipping back into my tour guide role again – reaching out  (I hope) to an eager group wanting to be entertained and informed. I can’t promise daily content.  That magic of writing doesn’t necessarily visit a writer every day.  But when it comes, I promise to share it with you.  And in the meantime, let me know you’re out there.  Leave a comment.  Email me, if you want.  I will always answer.  Please let me know that you can all hear me in the back.

(Take a look at my most recent posting by clicking HERE)


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59 thoughts on “Can You All Hear Me in the Back?

  1. HI.
    Thank you so much for following my website – and I haven’t even published my book yet (though hope to do so by the end of the summer). It is a real confidence boost to have someone like yourself like my work.

    I’m so glad you found my page because it led me here and I really like your blog – I will be following


  2. I thought I was a ‘follower’ Darlene, but this was the first comment I received in awhile.
    Anyway, you made me love your Uncle Danny even though I am a stranger. Your remembrance of him teaching you to hold the pidgeon is so poignantly sweet. I love your writing and your sensitivity………Hope you’re working on a new project. Cheers, June


  3. It’s so true about the magic of writing appearing. After publishing my first novel, I was dry for a while. Only a few days ago was I inspired to write again and the flow started. For me, it really can’t be forced.


    • I find that I can’t force writing when Im doing it for pure love and enjoyment. There have been times when I’ve had to write for the paycheck, and that means daily writing and no time to wait for your muse to motivate you. Writing can become difficult when you find yourself in that position. I once was talked into writing an episode of “Dallas” and I really did not want to write it at all. I felt like I had nothing in common with wealthy oil people in Texas, and I just didn’t want to sit down and write that episode. I had to have a long chat with myself and find a way into that story. So I created a major character who was young and poor and hated the Ewings as much as I did. Now I had a character who could express what I was feeling while I was writing that episode. It also provided me with wonderful conflict in the story because this character was young, poor, and also pregnant. The Ewings wanted to adopt a baby, and this young woman wasn’t married and needed money. An arrangement was made to allow the Ewings to adopt her baby for a price. The title of the episode was, “Black Market Baby” and it actually turned out to be a wonderful episode.


  4. Thank you Darlene! I can hear you too down here in Johannesburg South Africa. Lovely post thank you and am now ‘following’ you ..


  5. Hi Darlene, I can hear you! I’m following you from Linkedin (Book Writer group). I’d like to say it’s a privilege to meet a working screenwriter, I look forward to reading your blog and I absolutely love your blog name!


    • Sometimes I forget that not everyone read my first blog post that explains the tour guide photo and motif. So I am now linking everyone to this entry as a way of introducing who I am and what this blog is all about. Glad you found your way here!


  6. Hi Darelene. Still working on my sequel to Goodbye Junie Moon. I thought I’d be finished by Christmas but no such luck. Had a month where I didn’t feel like writing. Decided to jump ahead of the serious part I was not enjoying writing and write a humorous part instead. Did that and now enjoying writing once more. Able to go back and do the part that stopped me. Writing is an emotional pastime, isn’t it? Hope you are doing good things, June


    • You found a writing trick that hopefully all writers have discovered. When you hit a scene that blocks you, move on to another part of your story that excites you. I guarantee (as you so wisely discovered) that it will start the words flowing again. I can’t wait to read the sequel – Please let me know when it’s available. I enjoyed Goodbye Junie Moon so much, and I’m thrilled that more of the story is on its way.


      • Thanks Darlene.
        Re your blog followers. I rarely get an e mail alert when you post something. Don’t know if the fault lies my end or yours. I follow Lynn Schneider’s blog ( very good one) and I always get an alert if she writes a new post. Just thinking about your comment on not getting the numbers. I’ve been told that we need to post often to increase followers. I don’t know the answer or I would be doing better myself. Cheers!


  7. P.S. Do I have to tick the little boxes at the bottom EVERY time???? Maybe that’s the reason. OR maybe I never thought to tick them in the first place. DUH!!! Anyway, done now! June


    • I’m a neophyte when it comes to running a blog so I don’t know what the answer is. I hope that now that you’ve “ticked the little boxes” you’ll be getting a notice the next time I post. I try to put up a new post once a week, but there have been times (after I’ve posted a longer story that involved a lot of research) when I don’t post for 10 or 12 days. I feel I owe it to my readers to give them quality rather than quantity, and it takes time to get an idea and to develop it into something special. I’m so glad you dropped by to say hello, June.


  8. Hi Darlene and EveryOne. Yes I can hear you. I understand what you’re saying.
    You probably learned a lot about what workd and what doesn’t from the instant feedback on the faces of the people you were guiding.
    Wonderful article. It’s going to be fun. 🙂


  9. Hi Darlene!

    I can definitely hear you in the back! And you’re sounding good. :-). I received your play, Pizza Man, in my Master scene study class to work on. I chose Julie as my character. Normally, playwrights of the plays I work on are unaccessible. I’m so happy I found this blog during my research! Our class works under the Stella Adler technique and I have a few questions for you about the play and Julie that I hope you don’t mind answering to provide me more insight. Here goes!

    1. Julie only mentions her mom. Was this on purpose? Did her father leave her at a young age, or did she never know him? (daddy issues)

    2. What was the catalyst for you to write about these two characters and their lives?

    Thank you so much, in advance! I look forward to talking with you. I love this play!


    • Just saw this before going to bed so I will have to answer these questions tomorrow. Great questions, by the way. Thanks for stopping by and let’s chat more tomorrow. I’ll need the time to think up some answers!


  10. Hey, without going full “spoiler alert,” can you say a bit about the genre of your pending novel and/or some of the themes it deals with?


  11. Hey old friend (or at least an old San Marcos high school alumni), do you still have any gas in your tank? I remember that you mentioned that you are always looking for new material. I have been looking for a little help with a script idea I have, and then I thought: “Well, send the idea to Darlene.” Here is what I have just sent out to AFI alumni department. Take a look. It would be cool if we ended up working together.

    Looking for a Screen Script Writer

    My name is Chris Boys. My background is editing books, and also writing books in the legal field. I also write screen scripts. I have a well-developed idea for a screen script. I have had it appraised by a professional who works in the industry (on some major films and with important directors). She assessed it as “a dead-bang winner,” not just commercially but also as an artistic effort. The genre of the film is not unusual; however, the subject matter is unique. I am careful to write where I have a good deal of personal experience. I am particularly allergic to “inventing” things. This script involves cultural, artistic, and psychological themes heretofore not attempted in a film (though again, the genre is not unusual – in fact it is one where a well-done film is always successful).

    For the next two years, however, my time and attention will be completely taken up with a massive legal project I am involved in. Thus, I had the idea to look for a writer to take a crack at putting the idea into a formal script. I have the script written out in story form. If you are interested in becoming a collaborator in this script, I can send it to you via email.

    Final note: I have communicated this script in story form to a good number of my friends, all highly educated professionals in different fields, and big-time film buffs. Just recounting it to them as a raconteur would. Without exception, they have been mesmerized by it.

    This is a serious offer. If you are interested, contact me at

    Chris Boys


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