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CHAT & CHOW: writer Lisa Klink

While I’ve written a bit about being a mom, and a bunch about food, I’ve barely written anything about writing.

I’ve decided to remedy that.

Don’t worry, I’m not neglecting food. In fact, I’m combining the two. Introducing…

CHAT & CHOW — a Q&A series highlighting a different writer each week.

My one request for a writer who agrees to participate — the person has to either a) meet me at a food truck or b) have boba with me.

Today’s guest, Lisa Klink.

Check out her IMDB page here.

Not only has Lisa written on some of my favorite guilty pleasures, but she has also just released her DEBUT NOVEL, Slaves to Evil (Dead Man #11), check it out here.

When she’s not writing, Lisa’s saving the world! Or at least making it a better place with her devoted work to Much Love Animal Rescue and the Red Cross.

Lisa decided to go with the food truck option. I may have been her first (blush).

"You want me to eat what?"


1. When do you like to write?

Maybe it’s because I started in television, where I showed up to an office every day, but I like to write during business hours. Late morning is my best time.

2. When do you actually get to write?

One benefit of being unemployed – I get to write anytime I want.

3. Not including the show/project you’re working on now, name a series you would love to write for:

The Walking Dead. Love that show.

4. What surprised you most about writing a novel vs. writing scripts?

There are so many more words! Really. On a script page, there are maybe a couple hundred words and a lot of white space. That translates to a single paragraph in prose. I would work on the novel for what felt like a long time and not even write half a page. It was really kinda frustrating until I adjusted my expectations.

5. Every person has a unique “breaking in” story. Can you single out a “sliding doors” moment you feel would’ve taken your career in a different direction had it happened the other way?

My moment is actually a note I sent to Rene Echevarria, at the time a producer on “Deep Space Nine.” I had already pitched to Rene without selling a story. I went to a Duke in Hollywood event and discovered that he was a fellow Duke alum. We chatted for a while. Then I did what “how to succeed” books always tell you to do. I followed up. I sent a brief note saying it was nice to see him at the event, and letting him know that I was leaving my day job to concentrate on writing. He called a couple of days later. The WGA intern who was supposed to start work on Monday had flaked out, and since I wasn’t working, would I like to do the internship? Hell yes! I got paid to shadow the “DS9” staff for six weeks. We reworked a story I had pitched and I got to write the script. Sure, I might have kept pitching and sold a story anyway, but I’m convinced that they let me write it instead of just buying the idea because they’d gotten to know me for six weeks. Moral of the story: when you make a professional contact, send a note.

6. When reading someone’s script, what’s the main thing that turns you off or keeps you from finishing it?

The biggest, and most common, mistake in the spec scripts I’ve read is a failure to understand the show. That can range from getting character voices wrong to getting the tone of the show wrong to missing an element altogether. I read a “Buffy” spec once which had great dialogue but no action. Not a single fight. It was still a decent writing sample because the other elements were good, but I’d hesitate to hire a freelancer who didn’t pay attention to the “rules” of the show.

7) What’s the biggest DON’T you would tell a new writer working in a room?

DON’T be intimidated into silence. A story room is fast-paced and often loud, with writers interrupting and shouting over each other. As a newbie, it’s tempting to shrink back and wait for your turn to talk. Or to feel like your ideas aren’t good enough to mention, certainly not at the top of your lungs. Keep in mind that most of the ideas everyone comes up with don’t work, but they can lead to other ideas which do. Jump in there. Be rude. Be prepared to have your ideas shot down, repeatedly. Don’t let that stop you from coming up with more.

One more don’t, related to confidence. DON’T apologize when you hand in a draft. Even if the script is genuinely bad. Do not say anything like “Act Two doesn’t really work,” or “I know I need to make that character funnier.” Give the script to your boss without comment. He or she will find the flaws, which every script has. He or she knows what kind of time pressure you’re under, what constraints you had to work around, etc. This is the best you could do and it will get rewritten.

8. Your advice to writers in 3 words.

Write something else. I’ve met many writers who finish a script then spend all of their time trying to sell that one project. Spend half your time doing that and the other half writing your next script. Then write another one. If you only have one good idea in you, you’re in the wrong profession.

9. Multiple choice question: Jacks, yo-yo or hula hoop?

Yo-yo. Because I’m just that sedentary.

She liked it!

Follow Lisa on Twitter! @LKKlink

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