Monday, May 16, 2011

Sidney Sheldon by Morgan Mandel

  On the way  home from Wisconsin, instead of reading my Kindle, which I've been doing lately, I pulled out a hardcover I'd purchased a while back, called After the Darkness, by Sidney Sheldon and Tilly Bagshawe.

I enjoyed the larger than life characters and the plot's twists. Sidney Sheldon was one of my favorite authors and I'm sad I won't be able to read any new books by him.

Over ten years ago, when I wrote feature stories for the Daily Herald, I interviewed Sidney at a local Barnes and Noble book signing upon the release of  his mystery, The Sky is Falling.

You would never guess he was a star in his own right, not only the sixth best selling writer of all time, but also the creator, producer and writer of The Patty Duke Show and I Dream of Jeannie, after writing for Broadway.  He was very gracious. When we spoke of his writing methods he mentioned he liked to dictate the words to his assistant, then would read it all back. It worked for him, but I'd have trouble keeping track that way.

I'm so grateful for my computer. I would hate to write my manuscripts in longhand, much less use a typewriter and have to try and get it all perfect.

What method do you use for writing?  Or, maybe you'd like to share a meeting with a famous author you've met.

Morgan Mandel

Killer Career now 99 cents on Kindle and Smashwords.

20 comments:

Mona Risk said...

I love Sheldon's books. Maybe he dictated his stories because he couldn't type? When I started writing, I got myself a voice program and I used it to dictate to my computer. I didn't know how to type. I still don't type with both hands, but I am very fast with one hand and find it more efficient than dictating. As you said, it's difficult to keep track of ideas if you write orally.

Betty Gordon said...

Morgan, a great post. I, too, love Sidney Sheldon. You've inspired me to pull out some of his books and read again.

Shirley Wells said...

Sidney Sheldon was one of my favourite authors, too. I have some on the shelves so I'll have to did them out. I thought he was a master of characterisation and pace.

I would hate to write without my trusty computer. I'd never cope without the search/replace or the cut/paste. Also, when the deadline is looming, I need to check on the word count every 5 seconds. :)

jenny milchman said...

Sidney Sheldon was also apparently great about what Dennis Lehane calls "sending the elevator down" to up and coming writers. I've just begun reading the work of someone he was there for--Lala Corriere. Suspense with a dash of romance--well worth checking out. She's indie published too, something I always cheer for :)

I have been helped by so many authors I can't list 'em all (never mind how) in a comment!

But I do want to give a shout in agreement for the word processor--and for Morgan's terrific blog.

Carlene Rae Dater said...

I've heard he was a very down-to-earth wonderful man and that he helped a lot of writer. I try to pay it forward too as I've had SO much help from other writers in my career. One thing I love about my profession is that we are all competitors but most of us are welling to help others.

Carlene

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Everything I write is done first by longhand. Something that is getting increasingly harder to do.

My son Scott types everything into the computer. That is a great help but it can get very amusing when what he types in has very little relation to what I wrote.

With Sandi still home on unpaid medical leave, paying the rent is becoming a major issue for us. Assuming we are not evicted at the end of the month, I am going to see what can be done speech recognition wise as, despite what is happening to me medically, I am not about to give up writing.

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Morgan,

I'm a Sydney Sheldon fan as well as a frequent viewer of both the Patty Duke and I Dream of Jeanie shows.

Everyone comes to their writing from a different lifestyle and a difference way of doing things. I say, however works for you, go for it. I make a list of book events and write to them, enjoying the confines of a very loose outline and the freedom to write all over the map.

Maggie

P.I. Barrington said...

Interesting to hear that Sheldon verbally dictated his stories! I've always thought I'd like to try it with a recorder but having grown up writing with pen/paper but have always been to afraid to try it, figuring it would freak me out too bad, lol! However since Sheldon created and wrote television shows, it makes sense that he would have to use an assistant for speed and efficiency.
My most personal, honest and emotional writing is almost always done by longhand--that's how I learned to do it and it will always have its huge place in my heart. I'd kill for my PC though...

Linda Palmer said...

I had the pleasure of knowing Sidney Sheldon well. While he did dictate the first drafts of his novels, when the pages were typed, he then did all of his editing and revising in longhand. He did anywhere from ten to a dozen or so drafts because he wanted every book to be the best he could make it. Nothing pleased him more than learning that readers liked his books.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Erle Stanley Gardner also dictated his books, sometimes four at a time. I have to see what I'm writing. Though I began by writing in long hand and they translating it to typewriter, when the computer came along I made myself compose in the word processing program. Now I can't imagine going back.

Marilyn

Lala Corriere said...

I have the distinct honor of having been endorsed by Sidney Sheldon, and I would like to add that that was another part of his 'writing journey'. He gave back with time, support, and mentor-ship.
There are a lot of other big, and not so big authors out there that don't have the time of day for the 'wee people. This was not the case with Sheldon and I will forever remember it.

Cheryl said...

I like many of Sheldon's books too. I usually write at my PC most days. Sometimes I write longhand, but it takes to much time to enter everything in later.

Morgan Mandel said...

It's good to know Sidney Sheldon's talents and generosity are not forgotten!

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://facebook.com/morgan.mandel

Kelly McClymer said...

I think many author dictated their books in the old days. I remember reading that Georgette Heyer did that, too.

I tried dictating my stories when I was driving a lot. I couldn't do it well, although I could do dialogue exchanges and do a scene outline to transcribe into a real scene later on.

I've been typing so long, my story comes out of my fingers, not my mouth :-).

Heidiwriter said...

What a coup to have interviewed him, Morgan! Some writers are more visual, others are more auditory--I suppose that's the difference.

Zequeatta Jaques said...

I loved reading Sidney Sheldon. My favorite book of his is If Tomorrow Comes. I still have that book. I had read that he dictated his books to his secretary. Always thought that that would make it hard to keep track of where you were in your writing. He's one of the great storytellers.

V.R. Leavitt said...

Wow! I had no idea Sidney Sheldon had written for Broadway. How cool.

My writing method, well, I'm definitely a computer girl, unless of course I'm not at one, in which case I always have my notebook handy, just in case.

Lucille said...

Love Sheldon's books. I hadn't known he dictated his stories, but I've heard there are writers out there that do it. As for myself, I tried the dictating to a recorder and the dictation part is great, it's when you want to transcribed it to written form and can't type fast enough. I'm also glad the computer came along. So easy to delete the bad isn't it?

xl pharmacy said...

I am going to see what can be done speech recognition wise as, despite what is happening to me medically

jaluif said...

As someone has posted earlier, dictation has to do with your learning style. Auditory learners, for example, can benefit from dictating their prose because they tend to verbalize what they put down the paper. Visual learners, in contrast, have a hard time doing that. Sheldon was probably an auditory learner.

As fast typist, I love touch typing. However, by dictating my prose I produce better and faster texts.

If you're an audio learner, take advantage of dictating by using a great software called Dragon NaturallySpeaking.Give it shot.