Write Until It Hurts by Gary Morgenstein

Jesse's GirlI have with me a very special guest today. Please welcome Gary Morgenstein, the author of JESSE’S GIRL who is going to offer up some tips on writing!

Without further ado, here is Gary’s WRITE UNTIL IT HURTS!

Writing is a muscle like any other requiring exercise. Relentless, agonizing, sweat-drenched, every single day. No time to rest sore muscles. Sorry but, as Vito Corleone said, that’s the life we choose for ourselves.

Beyond the pain, a writer must, as Faulkner said, be able to devour its young. As I learned in my thriller Jesse’s Girl, sometimes you have to let go. You know, Luke Skywalker closing his eyes and feeling the light saber?

Jesse’s Girl is about a widowed father’s search for his adopted teenage son, who has run away from a drug wilderness treatment program to find his biological sister. Now when I started the book, I had all these ideas. A small story, small canvas, almost a two-hander of a father and a son overcoming their troubled relationship.

So much for that. I wrote the opening scene where Teddy, the father, gets the call from the wilderness program that Jesse, his son, was missing, and after that, all bets were off. Characters I had thought of changed or vanished. New ones beamed down into me. Storylines emerged. Suddenly it was a thriller. I had to discard all my pre-conceived notions. From the excellent reviews Jesse’s Girl has been getting, I’m glad I did.

Admitting you made a mistake is essential in writing. Never be afraid to say you’re on the wrong path. Just because it sounded good in your head or in an outline doesn’t mean it will necessarily work as a story. How many times have you played out a scene in your head and then wrote it down and said, Ew!

Philip Roth said that there were times he wrote 100 pages only to realize that inside that was the one paragraph that contained his story. The rest of the 99 plus pages was simply the path to get him there.

As life is the constant journey for a writer, so is writing the constant road to your art. You might get ambushed, but that is the process. To paraphrase FDR, the only thing we have to fear is not writing.


In addition to Jesse’s Girl, Gary Morgenstein’s most recent novels, both available exclusively on Amazon.com, are the political baseball thriller Take Me Out to the Ballgame and the romantic triangle Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman. His chillingly prophetic play Ponzi Man played to sell-out crowds at a recent New York Fringe Festival. A PR consultant for Syfy Channel, he lives in Brooklyn, New York, with lots of books and rock and roll CDs. You can visit him at www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Morgenstein/1011217889 or at http://redroom.com/member/garymorg.

2 thoughts on “Write Until It Hurts by Gary Morgenstein”

  1. Your reference to Roth writing 100 pages to finally get to the paragraph of importance is so true. However, an issue occurs when the author doesn’t delete the 100 pages from the final printing. And, then the author is upset when a reviewer points out that “less is more.”

    Thanks for your article.

  2. Great blog! Gary, it sounds like you had a wonderful journey while creating your characters… Congratulations! Your story sounds great!


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