Q & A About Writing

People often want to know more about my job as a writer. Here are some of the most common questions I’ve been asked, and – of course – my answers.

How does soap opera writing work?  Do you write for certain characters?

First of all, if you watch soap operas and hate what is going on on your show – it’s probably not my fault!  Really. My job is just to write the dialogue.  Other writers (head writers) plot out the stories, and then breakdown writers dictate in great detail what happens in each scene.  Each show has about 10 writers on staff. Usually five scriptwriters are working on different episodes at the same time.  Finally, there is a script editor who pulls everything together.

Most soaps have been on the air continuously for several decades, with no hiatus and no reruns.  It is much harder work than anyone would ever imagine – but also much more fun.

Hint: What happens behind the scenes on TV shows is often at least as exciting as what you see on the screen.

How do you get a job working on a soap opera?

It’s very hard.  I was very lucky.

Hint: You probably need to move to New York or Los Angeles if you want to work in TV.  I was lucky enough to be able to move back home to Maryland after I got established as a writer.  Almost everything on soaps is done via e-mail nowadays.  Despite the wonders of modern technology, most writers in other TV genres need to live in LA.

How do you get your book published?9781582975870

See above (hard work and luck).  But before the luck part falls into play… there’s the writing part.  And the revising part, which is the real hard work.

If you have a finished manuscript ready for submission, here’s the book you want to check out of the library to figure out what to do with it:

Another great online resource is the site for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

What is ghostwriting?

No, it doesn’t involve a ghost. At least not usually. Some series of books are written by many different authors. Someone else gets credit as the writer (i.e., Laura Lee Hope — even though she’s not a real person). I have ghostwritten three books, and it was really fun. If you can guess their titles, I’ll send you a… guess what?

How much money do you make writing children’s books?

Averaged out… well below the minimum wage, I’d wager.

Why do you do it?

I love it.  (Okay, I don’t always love the writing part and I never love anything I’ve written.  But I can’t not write; so write, I do.)

How many unpublished manuscripts do you have sitting in a drawer or on your hard drive?

Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever been asked this question.  But the answer is… at least two dozen and counting.

All materials © 2018 Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford. Web site by Websy Daisy.