Never Quit

К оглавлению
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 
34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 
68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 
85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 
102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 
119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 

Work on your weaknesses. Learn to go left.

While my high school mates got their diplomas, I got a

security job during the daylight hours and a bartending

job at night, and I grumbled and moaned while I waited to

join a police department. I flunked out of college after three

years of lacrosse and football, and returned to Long Island a

failure.

But now, I’m a retired police officer and the author of five

crime novels, one of which, Exit Wounds, was made into a

hit movie starring Steven Segall and DMX. Sounds cool, but

before Exit Wounds was a movie, or even a book, it was

eleven drafts over eight years, on a manual typewriter. Before

that it was a street cop’s dream. The security job meant days

in a booth at the edge of a huge parking lot, killing eight

hours, reading the piles of paperback mysteries under the

counter. I knocked off maybe two hundred crime novels that

year before I was called to the police academy. Turned out to

be a useful senior year, where I was headed. One cop I

worked with told me he had never read a whole book. He

didn’t understand how I would have the audacity to think I

could write one.

Five years later, as a cop, I covered a sad and gruesome

homicide. I drove home from work and wrote about it, and

discovered I liked writing—the fixing and pruning of sentences,

sifting for best word, the image that transports, the

performance aspect of the process. Dialogue, I love writing

dialogue. Plotting, I detest, a defect not faced that cost me

years. (Take-home lesson: Work on your weaknesses. Learn

Source: Printed with permission from John Westermann.

to go left.) And don’t quit, ever. Eight years with no outward

signs of success and endless stationhouse criticism preceded

the phone call from the agent that led to the book that led

to the movie. I might have quit a month too soon and never

known how close I came. Talk about an exit wound. Yikes. If

you love the work, you are doing what you should be doing.

So don’t quit. Chin up. You are ahead of the game. Things can

only improve with practice.