Marvin Herskowitz aka Mark Weston [marvinherskowitz]
What did you first read? How did you begin to write? Who were the first to read what you wrote?
I've always been interested in writing...but it wasn't until in the early 70's did I become seriously involved in writing. Why? Well, before that I was an actor and doing quite well in my field If you ever saw the Brylcreem commercials from 1954-1962, you saw me as the Brylcreem man...among many other products. In 1971, I was hit with Bell's Palsy, which paralyzed my face. That is when I had no other option but to pick up the pen.
I had as a mentor, Mr. Dwight Taylor (who wrote Top Hat!) who gave me my foundation as a writer. My first serious endeavor was a screenplay titled, Crispus,
about the first man to give his life for America...Crispus Attucks. It was optioned by a film company Professional Films.
What is your favorite genre? Can you provide a link to a site where we can read some of your work or learn something about it?
Unfortunately, I am a computer illiterate. However, if you tap into Amazon.com and/or Google...you should be able to find a web page a kindly soul set up for me. AOL also
for some reason deleted the original web page...but with luck it can still be found on line. A recent article was published re: my backgroung...which I will try to forward to you in another email.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
Process? Oh, my! I have no process other than what I was given by Mr. Taylor.
I do not believe in outlining my works...rather I try to find that ONE MAJOR THEME...
title the piece...then ONLY CONCENTRATE on the one major theme. In a sense I tap into my dream world subconcious and allow it to follow the major theme while I become a stenographer.
What type of reading inspires you to write?
I find myself more inclined to reading non-fiction.
What do you think are the basic ingredients of a story?
A story should alllow the audience or reader to associate with the characters.
If you feel them...they will! Again, I refer to the importance of finding that one
major theme and allowing it to write the story. -
What voice do you find most to your liking: first person or third person?
It depends on whether it's a play...novel...essay...or poem. However, I always keep in mind the importance of including both the subjective and objective, no matter what it written.
What well known writers do you admire most?
John Dos Passos...Irwin Shaw...George S. Kaufman...Paddy Chayefsky...
What is required for a character to be believable? How do you create yours?
The character must be able to be real and personal! The audience must be allowed to associate with him or her. If you feel the character...they will.
Are you equally good at telling stories orally?
Being an actor for so many years...telling stories orally isn't a problem. I recently have been performing in my one man show...and enjoy doing it.
Deep down inside, who do you write for?
If the subject interests me...I'm off and running. However, I have often been hired to write other works...but only with the stipulation that I have the right to be wrong.
Not being able to make mistakes...is like expecting a batter to hit a home run at every at bat.
Is writing a form of personal therapy? Are internal conflicts a creative force?
So far as I'm concerned...writing is food for the immune system. How many times have I relieved tension by using the pen? Too numerous to mention.
Does reader feed-back help you?
I'm a willow and not an oak...as a writer. I listen to feed-back...but not defensively.
If a suggestion is valid...I will and have used it. If not...I thank whoever suggests
something and accept my own decisions.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
I rarely enter into competitions...esp. those who require the writer to pay for being considered. Yes, I have received awards.
Do you share rough drafts of your writings with someone whose opinion you trust?
Rarely. If ever. Occasionally I would share new pages of a work with members of my writing class...mainly for their own edification.
Do you believe you have already found "your voice" or is that something one is always searching for?
My voice? I consider myself G rated. I also consider myself a very simpleton. I'm not interested in letting readers or audience know how brilliant (I'm not!) I am. I always
believe...just because you as a writer enjoy and understand what you've written...doesn't mean THEY WILL! So I keep a piece of myself so to speak in the audience...neutral...and make my decisions about whether or not things are working or not.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
An actor I feel should never force a reality...so too...a writer should never force creativity. It must come like soap comes in a tub.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
Noise! I find it difficult to write in silence. How many times have I removed my pad out of my bag...while riding on the subway...and writing pages and pages of dialogue etc.
Do you write on a computer? Do you print frequently? Do you correct on paper? What is your process?
I prefer writing long hand at first. Thoughts are transcribed much slower and fuller then when immediately written on the computer. Then once the cerebral comes in and tidies up...on paper...it then is placed into the computer.
What sites do you frequent on-line to share experiences or information?
(This is a continuation...after losing the initial entry) I have often used Google for
information. Also, for many years I wrote the questions for the TV show The College Bowl. I have an extensive library of material at my disposal.
What has been your experience with publishers?
I am publshed by Samuel French and Bakers Plays. Also, I have dabbled in having a few of my novels published by Author House and an Indian publisher. I no longer am interested in having self-publishing as an outlet.
What are you working on now?
I am deep into wriitng my biography. At present I have over 170 pages...and have only reached 1957. A play of mine is scheduled to open Off-B'way in the Spring...so there may be rewrites...and a new play titled The Traitorous Saint...which two Tony Award actresses are intereste in starring in.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
If they were frustrating when you wrote them...and experienced angina trying to get them produced...then I'd put health in front of wealth. It's no crime to fill cabinets.
Marvin Herskowitz aka Mark Weston
Hicksville, New York