Why I Write

Jean Lorrah

I'm a storyteller. The first time I experienced the power of creating story, I was in third grade, about eight years old, and enjoyed telling stories to the other children in my neighborhood. I set the stories right there, in our gloomy, sooty, steel-factory-town neighborhood, inventing a brilliant world of fairies that came to life every night in our drab back yards.

But my budding career as a bard was cut short when the parents of the kids I told the tales to complained to my parents: the other children believed my stories, and were sneaking out at night, seeking to enter the world I had invented!

For a long time thereafter I kept my stories to myself, filling notebooks with the tales of my heart. About the time I was in junior high school, I learned that it was possible for actual people like me to sell stories to magazines and book publishers--and I began a long stint of collecting rejection slips. I was writing from my heart, all right, but I didn't know there were rules for storytelling beyond a beginning, a middle, and an end. I just poured my ideas onto paper.

In college I found Star Trek fandom, where the fannish stories I wrote were loved by uncritical fans, but attracted the attention of professional writers. Marion Zimmer Bradley and Jacqueline Lichtenberg became my mentors. They taught me how to structure my stories--and I began to be published.

In the 1980's I sold everything I wrote, and four of my books made the New York Times best-seller list. But...during the 1990's, along with thousands of other professional writers, I went from best-selling author to unpublishable, due to corporate takeovers.

If you think Hollywood is run by bean-counters, try publishing. The difference between the two industries is that independent publishing is struggling and dying, while not only the indie film industry is thriving, but so are webcasts, podcasts, direct to DVD movies, and a constantly increasing number of cable and satellite channels, all hungry for material.

Tired of feeling strangled, unable to make our voices heard, my writing partners and I decided to learn a new means of telling our stories: screenwriting. We are not fools; we have spent three years taking screenwriting lessons, writing scripts, and having those scripts vetted by professionals. Finally, we have begun the long, hard process of marketing our scripts.

As of January, 2008, Lois Wickstrom and I have four completed and vetted scripts ready to go. We are seeking representation, and pitching our scripts everywhere we can. We're determined to make it in a difficult profession--and we will, because we made it in an equally difficult profession before.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg and I are also working on a script together, a Sime~Gen movie, but that work is going slowly because of everything else we both have to do.

But I have no intention of giving up storytelling--and to be a real storyteller I need an audience. Watch this page and my Latest News page for developments.