My daughter, Dorothea, is my greatest creative asset.
She has been by my side in the creative process since she was a young adult. She’s always been a heavy reader and a lover of movies. For example, when she was nine years old we watched Hitchcock’s The Birds. As soon as the movie was done, she turned to me and said, “Okay, let’s watch it again, except this time tell me what the director was trying to do.” She’s always loved movies and she’s always loved novels, having devoured classics and modern tales alike.
As I’ve taught her the structure of screenplays, she has been my co-creator in many story lines, including the Gabby Wells trilogy. I come up with the idea and the broad strokes and she helps fill in the important, gritty details.
In 2008, Dorothea helping flesh out a screenplay called Martyrs
Where my strength is plot, hers is character. I’ll go over the story I have in mind and she’ll offer character reactions, choices and directions that will either augment or alter the direction of the original story. She’ll mull and think and ponder the characters within the story and come up with extensive analysis. Since we originally created the Gabby Wells character five years ago, she has spent more time thinking about that role than I have.
I jokingly say to her, “I created Gabby Wells, but you know her better than anyone.”
Over the years our process has become more streamlined. I no longer have to teach her what we’re trying to accomplish while trying to accomplish it. We’ve been doing it so long we quickly move through the steps needed to outline a story.
For example, a few days ago we sat on our front porch and, within about an hour, sketched out the third Gabby Wells book. It’s great stuff, if I don’t say so myself. Powerful, spiritual and exciting. It was the easiest outline we had ever drafted. I hope our collaboration continues so effortlessly in the future.
In 2013, me and Dorothea sketching out the third Gabby Wells novel
She’s a very gifted writer in her own right. Much better than I am, actually. I have no doubt that if she ever decides to write a novels or screenplays, she will be a force to be reckoned with. Maybe then, she’ll let me be her greatest creative asset and I can help her try to achieve her dreams as she has helped me try and achieve mine.