Ask the Author: Douglas Schwartz

“Ask me a question.” Douglas Schwartz

Answered Questions (7)

Sort By:
Loading big
An error occurred while sorting questions for author Douglas Schwartz.
Douglas Schwartz It's funny this question was asked. Back in school, I found a picture in my car of someone I don't know and don't know how the picture got into the car. I stumbled across this picture recently. I've considered how I would go about figuring out who this person is and solving the mystery of how the car came into possession of this picture. This scenario is actually a story I have considered writing. I probably wouldn't write it as a murder mystery, and it wouldn't be a thriller. I'm thinking of something along the lines of Dirk Gently or maybe something similar to Dogs of Babel, but more lighthearted.
Douglas Schwartz When asked this question, there are a few couples that came to mind from TV shows (like X-Files' Mulder & Scully), but I had a hard time thinking of many couples from the books I've read. When I look over my books, there aren't many about couples. Most of them are a single person or groups of people on a journey who are not really considered one half of a "couple".

One couple that came to mind that I like is Romeo and Juliet. The love they shared was so pure and innocent, yet it was complicated by family circumstance. There is a couple in a similar situation that I like better than Romeo & Juliet, and that is Henry DeTamble and Clare Abshire from the book The Time Traveler's Wife. I love how they both meet the other for the first time. In both circumstances, one side knows a lot more about the other while the other knows nothing about this person. They both get to experience that sensation due to their situation. It reminds me of the relationship of Dr. River Song and the Doctor, but again, that's a TV show and not a book. Like Romeo and Juliet, their story is filled with tragedy leading to an inevitable ending, but it is still a beautiful story. Plus, it has time travel.

There are a few couples in my own fiction I've enjoyed writing. One of the quirkiest is Rachel and Sam from Silent Partners in Pickled Bananas. Sam has an imaginary friend named George and Rachel talks through a puppet named Bernice. Sam and Rachel build up a friendship, but the couple in this story is the pretend relationship between the puppet and the imaginary friend, which helps bridge a growing friendship between Sam and Rachel.

Two of the couples I've enjoyed writing are in Checkered Scissors. Ed, the protagonist, and his neighbor, Penny, have a unique relationship. They get along together like old friends and enjoy being in each other's company, yet circumstance keeps them apart. Either one is in a relationship while the other is available, or they are separated by being worlds apart. Their story continues in the sequel I am currently editing, where the complications persist.

The other couple I enjoy writing about are Penny's moms. Penny is a young woman raised by two mothers. The mothers are two best friends in a relationship that is equivalent to a heterosexual, single-sex marriage. Neither are sexually attracted to the other, but they enjoy being in each other's company so much, they decided to live together and support each other. To me, that is what a marriage should be--two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together and take care of one another. No man in their lives will make them as happy as they are being with their best friend. Somewhere along the way, they decide to raise a daughter together.
Douglas Schwartz My next novel will be a sequel to Checkered Scissors. After that, I might either write another short story collection where each story is time travel related, or I might work on an idea about superheroes.
Douglas Schwartz (1) Many other writers I've met offer the Nike advice -- Just do it. Don't sit there thinking, "Oh, I wish I could write a story." Start telling yourself a story and write it down. You can do it.

(2) Make your writing honest to yourself. Do not try to imitate others. Find a way to tell your stories that best fits you.

(3) When you are ready to share your stories with the public, grow thick skin. Listen to what people tell you about your writing, but parse out the feedback and decide what you want to change or not. If it's opinion, you don't have to change it. If it's structural, learn from what someone tells you. Always strive to improve. Just because your writing improves, does not mean you need to change your written voice.

(4) Never give up. Learn to accept that not everyone will love your stories, especially not as much as you do. I don't read romance novels, and sleep through technical manuals, but that doesn't mean those books aren't any good. It just means that I am not the right audience for those books.

(5) Don't be intimidated by how many people are out there self-publishing. It's like "Where's Waldo?" The pictures are full of characters, but that doesn't mean Waldo will never be discovered. Think about it. You could go to the library or bookstore and look at all the shelves at once, but you aren't expected to read all those book. People narrow their choice down to what they like. In that smaller sub-section, do your best by making your book stick out. If you write well and tell an enjoyable story in your own written voice, people will discover you, too. And those readers will help their friends find your Waldo, too.
Douglas Schwartz As a kid, I loved to pretend. I love listening to my kids pretend and invent all sorts of scenarios (especially when they plot ways to catch Santa over the holidays). Writing feels like an acceptable way for an adult to play pretend and get away with it. Not only that, but I can share my imagination with anyone who wants to explore it with me. I love my imagination, and I love to share it.
Douglas Schwartz I keep a journal in which I add to and read from all the time. I write down interesting dreams, snippets of conversation, random thoughts, and a bunch of other stuff. If I need inspiration, I flip through the journal. I think I must have over 100 typed pages of randomness.

My bigger problem is with procrastination, which I've overcome by sticking to a set routine.

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more