I was so excited to finally sit down today and write my first five “stream of consciousness” pages for my new Susan Kaplan mystery that I wanted to call someone–anyone–to talk about what I’d written. The tentative title I came up with (“Lights, Camera, Murder”), the bones of the story, various characters in various stages of development, but–and this is totally unlike gabby me–I didn’t. I’ve learned through hard experience: when you’re at the beginning stages of a creative project, it’s best to keep your big mouth shut.

When I was at a graduate student at William & Mary, harboring dreams of becoming a TV writer, I had written my first spec, based on the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati.” My playwriting professor, Lou Catron, read the script, gave me 15 pages of notes, and I embarked on a rewrite, finishing it a week later. Dr. Catron was so impressed by my efforts, he became my mentor, friend and champion.

So, it was with great fanfare that I embarked on a second spec, this time for “Barney Miller.” But unlike the process of writing “WKRP,” when I holed up in my apartment, writing the script in secret, I told everyone I encountered about my “Barney Miller” spec. Only problem was, I hadn’t written it yet. And the more I told people about it, the less I inclined I felt to write it.

It got to the point where talking about my unwritten spec was more interesting to me than writing it. It took me months to finally sit down and actually write a completed script. And I learned a lesson: Don’t talk. Write. So, as I toil away on my five pages a day, creating a characters, setting, victim, murder(s)  and a bunch of red herrings, I won’t be sharing any of that with you here.

At least not yet.

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