Confessions of a Story Teller and Would-Be Author by Gary Schwartz – Guest Post
Guest Post – Confessions of a Story Teller and Would-Be Author by Gary Schwartz
Today we welcome author Gary Schwartz with his guest post ‘Confessions of a Story Teller and Would-Be Author‘ and learn all about his new book, ‘The King of Average’, which was released on 6th October 2015. Post contains affiliate links.
I am a professional actor, mime and comedian and I’ve been telling stories all my life. Let me rephrase; I’m now a story teller. At first, as a boy, I was a story re-teller.
Without getting into too much boo-hooing about my lonely 1950s and 60s childhood, my only childhood friends were the TV set and the comedy albums of Bob Newhart and Woody Allen and the now reviled Bill Cosby (sorry, he’s despicable but a brilliant storyteller). I studied the comedians on Ed Sullivan and could imitate them perfectly – From Bob Hope to Alan King to the monologues of the great Yiddish raconteur, Myron Cohen (Google him).
I would then go to school and re-tell the jokes and stories I watched on TV the night before. I committed to memory the entirety of both sides of Bill Cosby’s ‘Why is There Air’? and The Buttoned Down Mind of Bob Newhart, George Carlin’s Class Clown and others and had my classmates in stitches. That’s when I realized that being funny was a ticket to social acceptance and I determined to add my own stories to the mix.
In high school I created monologues of my misadventures for my close friends on the subjects of failed pick-up attempts at our local movie house, awkward first dates and made up stories about my crazy family. It’s no wonder I turned to comedy and performing as a career.
Confessions of a Story Teller and Would-Be Author
I’ve had the idea for my book ‘The King of Average‘ since I was eleven and became a huge fan of Norton Juster’s ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’.
I came up with a similar story with my own characters and told it to my friends, using funny names and voices to hear everyone tell me the same thing. “Gary you have to write this down!” “Yeah…” I would say. “Someday.” But someday never came. I was having too good a time entertaining my friends with my own performance of the characters. Plus, I never had an ending – Just a good beginning.
Flash forward to Christmas 2008, and once again, I’m regaling my friends at a Christmas dinner party with this idea I have for a book similar to "The Phantom Tollbooth". In the fifty-odd years of telling, I’d actually written twenty pages, but it was always more fun to tell them than to lend them.
“Gary, I challenge you!” said my friend Mark, a corporate consultant and motivational guy. “You say you’ve got twenty pages? Show me two pages more a day for the next thirty days. I just want to see if you can.”
Well, what with the egg-nog, wine and conviviality of the moment, I said. “Mark! You’re on!”
And that’s just what I did. I prepared to write the next thirty pages of my story, just to show him I could. Three months later I had a manuscript of 360 pages. The story and characters took me by the scruff and I followed it to a conclusion. I presented the sheaf of pages to him and he was as elated as I was.
The trouble began when he read them. He said rather noncommittally, “Great, Gar. Well done.” But that was all. I thought I had the next children’s classic in my hands. I gave it out to friends and family and never heard a word back.
So, after a few months, I re-read the thing myself and to my horror, it was AWFUL. I mean the writing. I couldn’t get through it myself. I kept looking at the clunky sentences and over-wording and freaked out.
“I’m no writer.” I said to myself. “I talk a good game. I can pitch a good story, but who ever said I could write?” Depression ensued. So, into the drawer with the horrid thing and that’s where it languished for a few years. Every time I took it out, I was depressed all over again.
I’m one of those people who avoid, avoid, avoid until I get sick of avoiding then become obsessed. I’ve done it with weight loss, acting, and relationships. I was now ready to do it with writing.
In 2013 I resolved to learn how to write properly. I hired a mentor and got serious. I read books on writing, went to writing retreats, joined writer associations, wrote and re-wrote my story and within two years turned myself into a passable writer and now I’m proud to say, please read my book, ‘The King of Average’, published by Updrift Books, a division of www.booktrope.com .
The King of Average
Author – Gary Schwartz
Publisher – Updrift
Pages – 355
Release Date – 6th October 2015
Format – ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
I received a free copy of this book
James isn’t the world’s greatest kid, but he’s not the worst, either: he’s average! When he decides to become the most average kid who ever lived, James is transported to another world where he meets Mayor Culpa, a well-dressed talking Scapegoat who recruits him to become the new King of Average.
He’s joined on his quest by a professional Optimist and his grouchy companion, an equally professional Pessimist. Together, they set out on a journey of self-discovery that leads them all the way from the Sea of Doubt to Mount Impossible, the highest peak in the Unattainable Mountains. When James stumbles into a Shangri-la called Epiphany, he uncovers the secret of who he really is.
Follow James on his hilarious, adventure-packed journey to find self-worth in this heartfelt middle grade novel.