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  • Here’s How I Write My Serials…

     riva pomerantz updated 2 weeks, 4 days ago 19 Members · 58 Posts
  • riva pomerantz

    Administrator
    May 30, 2020 at 10:32 pm

    Yep, ladies, it’s that time of year again when…I’m starting a new serial, be”H! 🙂

    Thought I’d give you a little behind-the-scenes of the process for me, if you’re interested.

    First, I search my mind for anything interesting. It’s a long, arduous process :-).

    As I do an exhaustive brain scan, I need to filter out anything I’ve already addressed in my previous 12 books (thank You, Hashem!). This includes:

    trauma
    bullying
    domestic violence
    adult ADHD
    children leaving Yiddishkeit
    materialism v. spirituality
    horrible marriages and how they can turn around

    I’m probably forgetting a whole bunch. That said, I CAN revive certain topics as long as they are reframed in a totally new light, or looked at through a totally new lens. Just because I’ve written about shidduchim in 6 Degrees, for example, doesn’t mean I can never write about shidduchim ever again. Or just because I’ve written about Overeaters Anonymous in Charades, for example, doesn’t mean I can never talk about eating disorders.

    Then I cast around for something that EXCITES me. Sure, there are lots of good ideas out there, but writing a serial is hard work. You need to be able to sustain yourself over a full year which takes a lot of stamina. I need my idea to make me thrilled, to give me a buzz.

    I also ask lots of people what they’d like to read about. What interests them. What issue they’d like to see addressed. I look inward to see what I’m curious about or what I’d like to learn about that would be helpful to me in wherever I’m holding in my life and my inner world.

    And then…I GO! 🙂 With Hashem’s amazing help, obviously!

    So….what would you like to see me write about in my new serial, my friends? 🙂

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    May 31, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    Oh, wow, what a mazel tov!  This is super-dee-duper news…not to mention getting an inside peek of how serials are made!

    …Aaaaaand the honor of being asked about what we would like to see in the new future serial…how cool is that?  I can just say I would love to see a single first-person POV.  I don’t think you’ve done that before?  It’s my favorite POV.

    Are you specifically looking for story ideas related to mental health?  And are sad endings a big no-no? ?

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 3, 2020 at 9:17 pm

      I don’t do sad endings, FF :-). I’m way too sappy and I can’t stand the thought of throwing a faithful reader, who just spent 52-65 weeks of their life going through a convoluted, often heart-stopping journey, off a cliff at the end. Funny because I just read David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens (going to write a long, analytic post about that soon, be”H!), and one of the things that’s really unique and refreshing about the story is in the way it’s told in the first person. I was toying with that, actually.

      Mental health is one of my pet topics (hubby’s a psychologist so I’m just trying to drum up business–KIDDING! :-)), but no, doesn’t have to be related at all. My last book, Enough, wasn’t the least bit focused on mental health, but what I always need is a strong message that can spark conversation and create change!

  • Esti G

    Member
    May 31, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    HHmmm… How about visiting the nature vs. nurture argument? So often, we find ourselves being pulled in a very different direction than our family trend seems to have set up for us. There’s also a commitment that strings us bound to their ways, like banana boating. Sort of. The ride can be thrilling to confusing.

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 3, 2020 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks, Esti G. Very interesting topic to explore indeed! I’ll keep that in mind!

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Write about the guy who tried to build a time machine but landed on Jupiter instead. Just kidding 😉
    Some ideas:
    – People with none of the above issues. They have gone marriages, good kids, good livelihoods, but they’re still not happy…
    – People trying so hard to fit in, they stick out.
    – Infertility
    – someone with a dream they don’t see a way to fulfill either because they don’t believe in themselves or because it isn’t practical. (Career, open an organization/business etc. The sky’s the limit…)
    – the fact that everyone is so judgmental
    – someone with an idea/ invention/ initiative they want to bring to the public

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 3, 2020 at 9:18 pm

      Great ideas, Happi! Thank you!

  • Word Warrior

    Member
    June 1, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    that is sooo cool 🙂

  • Pickupapen

    Member
    June 3, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    (Thanks, Riva, for redirecting me to the correct topic -still finding my way around here…)

    So here’s an idea.

    I know a little girl who loves to read and read and read. You probably all know one. But this nine year old girl also loves homework, writing and anything mathematical or otherwise challenging. She craves mental stimulation and if she can’t fall asleep at night, her parents challenge her with mathematical problems. She is totally normal socially and has lots of friends.

    So I started wondering – There must be young adults out there who were once this little girl. What if a frum girl grows up and spends her time in her own little intellectual world, studying, researching and studying some more and – shocker – has no interest in getting married? She just wants to pursue her own dreams which include more and more and more intellectual stimulation/pursuit of higher qualifications/scientific research.

    1. How will society react?

    2. How will she cope with their expectations?

    3. Does she ever change her mind/ have second thoughts?

    4. If she does, what happens….?

     

    What do you think, friends?
    ?

  • Elisheva Halle

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Ha ha, that kind of was me ( although I did get married at 20 regardless) except I’m not mathy, but I want to do so much in life, write novels, graphic design, be a high school teacher…but now I also have three little kids to look after (who I love to pieces by the way, NOT complaining!) But what about a story about a mother who is having trouble balancing being a mother with her life dreams…how does she find the middle road? I would love to see a novel that brings out this discussion

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Riva, I’m a fan of mental health and psychology, and *whoops* I think all my stories have some sort of mental health-related thread in it (ahem, more like a disorder :).  I know there are people who may question or express frustration as to why such stories have gained popularity over the years (specifically those who believe today’s generation is ‘coddled’, ‘self-centered’, and should ‘pull themselves up by the bootstraps’).  Hence, I asked the question.  Have you gotten negative feedback for highlighting mental health in your stories?  How do you deal with it?

    About happy vs. sad endings- totally get you about trying not to betray the faithful reader (boy, how difficult!  You’re a true warrior).  As a writer, how can I pull off a happy yet realistic and un-cheesy ending?  I have been frustrated with stories that have had fairytale happily-ever-after endings when a more bittersweet or even sad finish could’ve had a more realistic edge to it.  Reality can be dark and disturbing at times, but can an author who portrays it in a brutally honest light validate a reader’s suffering?

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      November 10, 2020 at 8:30 am

      @Fiction Fangirl I’m so glad this thread was revived if only for the opportunity to right a wrong; somehow I never replied to your comment–forgive me!

      I have actually NEVER received negative feedback for highlighting mental health in my stories. I know that sounds pretty incredible (because I do get a lot of feedback, b”H!), but if anything, I’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive reactions for putting mental health in the limelight and normalizing therapy. That said, I do try very hard to separate out “mental health issues” from that big thing we call Life. Not everything should be pathologized.

      Actually, in my current serial which just debuted in Ami magazine, See You!, I am portraying a character with a very complex set of life circumstances. I got a letter from a reader expressing her appreciation for “bringing the issue of Borderline Personality Disorder to the forefront”. This reader has (erroneously) assumed that I am leading into a discussion of BPD when actually, my character Esther Samson is struggling with “stuff” that does not really meet the criteria for mental illness.

      Does that kind of answer your question? 🙂

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    FictionFangirl, in my opinion, a story doesn’t have to have a fairy tale happy ending, but it still needs to be satisfying. The reader has to leave feeling that something was resolved in the end.

    I was just reading The Betrayal. That book doesn’t at all end with a glorious happily ever after, but still, it shows Istrak’s internal triumph (which was the point of the story in the first place).

    🙂 the truth is, most people read to escape their own personal challenges. They’re not always looking for the most realistic ending. They want to read about people’s triumphs, about finding the good…

  • Menucha Levin

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    I just finished a 40 chapter serial story for the Jewish Press, based on my own childhood in South Africa and relocation to Canada.

    I want to develop it into a book but also thinking ahead for my next serial.  I submitted a pitch to a magazine

    which they turned down although kindly provided this explanation:

    “We need more of a plot and drama happening for a serialized novel. Also we like more upbeat stories.”

    Maybe my pitch was too brief and didn’t sound upbeat enough.

    Now looking for suggestions of plot, drama and upbeat!

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 4, 2020 at 7:48 pm

      So wonderful to have you here with us, Menucha! Mazel tov on finishing your serial–what an amazing accomplishment! (And I’m a fellow Canadian, btw ;-)) I find that pitches are so limiting–you can’t possibly convey all the complexity and depth of your idea when you roll it into a dry, compacted couple of sentences! I hope you get your idea very soon and that it is something so meaningful and exciting to you that the story WRITES ITSELF! I’m still looking for mine, too, but I know that it will come, b’ezrat Hashem!

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    What do you like to write about? Contemporary challenges, historical fiction, fantasy, sci-fi….?

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    HappiWriter, thank you for sharing your perspective.  Swapping ‘satisfying’ with ‘happily ever after’ is just the perfect way to sum up a good ending.  Thank you.  Now to dig a bit deeper, can anyone give some examples or explanations of what you would classify as a satisfying ending to a story?  I leave a lot of my stories off on an unfinished note because it’s contemplative and introspective in nature.  But again, that could be because of the genre of my stories, which in this case, is literary fiction.

    Menucha, I’m sorry to hear that your story wasn’t ‘enough upbeat’ for your publishers.  That’s disheartening.  Also, why would they focus so much on drama and plot?  Was your story geared for a young audience?  What was it about?  I’m a fan of character over plot and drama.  The thrills of adventure fall flat if the characterization isn’t given the attention it deserves.

    Riva, if this post is off-topic from your original thread, is there a place where you would move this so we can focus on your question?

  • HappiWriter

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    Some elements of a satisfying ending:

    – Some sort of light shining through the darkness – such as hope etc.
    – Internal triumph, as I mentioned before (the completion of a positive character arc)
    – the character coming to a certain understanding/realization
    – the character still being satisfied with choices he/she made though it didn’t bring perfectly happy results.
    – sometimes in a negative character arc, the character’s downfall can be satisfying. It shows the effects of negative choices.

    At the end of the day, something has to be resolved either internally or externally for the readers to have a sense of closure. Obviously, in a shorter story, the reader invested less so it needs less of a full ending.
    K.M. Weiland says the ending should still give a sense of continuity.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    Yes, please write about mental health and tear down the stigma!!  It causes so much unnecessary suffering and is sometimes harder to deal than the illnesses themselves.  If you go that path, I’m more than happy to give you inside info.

    Also, you know how everyone is trying so hard to be normal that they can’t be true to themselves, except for those who are trying so hard to be themselves that they come across as not totally normal?  Why can’t we have both?  And what is normal anyway?  Who decides?  Is there even such a thing??

    Even if no one wants to write about this, you can voice an opinion anyway.  The maybe I can write about it or at least get some clarity…;)

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 4, 2020 at 7:55 pm

      So true, Esther. I like what you said about “normal” and the obsession with being or becoming “normal”. In terms of mental health and stigma, I actually wrote the frum world’s first true-to-life therapy scene in my first Mishpacha serial Green Fences. I am a big believer in breaking the stigma. This actually ties in to what you wrote, Fiction Fangirl. It is a huge responsibility to take a reader on an odyssey that mirrors real life, especially when it touches on mental health. We must never discourage the reader or break his or her heart by building the plotline in a way that implies some kind of unrealistic fantasy that is contrary to the actual suffering the reader may be experiencing. So realism is very necessary. That said, baruch Hashem, people heal, challenges are surmountable, and dreams come true in real life also, albeit through hard work and persistence. My aim is to show that journey as the characters develop and EARN themselves a happy ending, instead of just catapulting them into La La Land, which would be irresponsible and unfair. Win-win?

  • Baila

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    I would be interested in reading a story about baalei teshuvah living in Israel.

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 4, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      Sounds interesting, Baila. Tell us more. What are the issues they face? Is it very different than baalei teshuvah living in the States?

    • Baila

      Member
      June 7, 2020 at 9:03 am

      It is for sure different.

      I have been both.  As you know, when you move to Israel you have to navigate all sorts of cultural difference.  How do yo acquire language?  How do you figure out integrating into the differences in school systems.  How do you find a good place to daven.  How do you manage family relationships when you are far away.

      When you become frum – you have to figure out how to integrate frumkeit into your life.  You are often close to your family and see them on a more regular basis.  (with all of those conflicts and challenges and opportunities for closeness and growth) You have your education which is translatable into a job – perhaps.  The hashkafa of the Chutz l’aretz  Jewish community is in general more open and accepting and community oriented.  Communities (I am speaking more about out of town communities) tend to embrace people.

      I think that when you are a baal teshuvah in Israel you lose a lot more of your “old life” because you have far less of an opportunity to encounter it.  I know that everyone who moves to Israel has that – but here are two simple examples that highlight it – I am in contact with no non family member who I know before I became frum at the age of 21. And among the family members I am in contact with most of them have never been to my home or seen my life.  Not on a day to day basis and not for a family simcha.  Add to that the slow disintegration of the family due to assimilation and intermarriage.  And the belief that if you were there, you could probably be a positive influence on the family but knowing chutz laretz would be a spiritual danger to you.  A friend of mine, also a baalat teshuvah who moved to Israel asked me recently – do you ever have survivors guilt?

      Baruch Hashem, I think at least for me it has put me in touch with what I like to call the existential loneliness of life – or the pain of the shechina and I hope it has turned me into a more compassionate and loving and welcoming person.  And it has forced my husband and I to lean on one another and trust Hashem in very real and important ways that have been transformative for us.

      I think there is interesting material for a book.

       

  • Sherry

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Esther, I absolutely agree with you. And it’s why kids are so endearing. They’re so real!
    Also, you have a beautiful way of expression. Very compelling writing.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks Sherry!  BTW, I’d love to know what I wrote that made you say that.  Specific positive feedback is the best, don’t you think?  BC then we know what to do more of.  Hey, I should use that advise!  Now I need to go find someone to compliment…

     

    • Sherry

      Member
      June 4, 2020 at 8:14 pm

      Esther – I find you writing honest, REAL, refreshing, deep, sensitive, sometimes heart-wrenching but always upbeat, and hopeful. I almost feel as if I know you just from what you’ve put up here – and it’s something I like!

  • Esther

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 8:08 pm

    I know Riva, go you!  And people probably though, what is she doing?!  Now it is so OK to put that in fiction or whatever, I guess it is just not OK in real life, having to do with real people.  So yeah, putting it in your next book wouldn’t help anyway.

  • Fiction Fangirl

    Member
    June 4, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Riva, total win-win and conquer on happy endings!  I’m working on perfecting the satisfying ending technique-thank you everyone for your suggestions (especially HappiWriter’s recommendations).

    As for what I’d like to see in your upcoming serial, what about writing something related to uncovering and accepting unwanted or hidden parts of ourselves?  I’m currently working on a story about a protagonist who unburies their hidden artist so I’m fascinated with this subject right now…

  • Brocha

    Member
    June 5, 2020 at 12:30 am

    I have 2 sons with challenges. I once asked their neuropsychologist if they will one day be normal. He said, “Never aim for normal. Only aim for productive.” Awesome insight that really helps me.

  • QWERTY

    Member
    June 5, 2020 at 1:13 am

    Hey Riva!

    I just wanted to jump in and say that I love the way you address therapy and relationships in your stories. There’s always a fresh angle and it gives a lot of us a peek into what happens in therapy and courage to take the plunge!

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 16, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to tell me this, Qwerty! I invest a LOT of effort into making my therapy sessions real and relevant, often consulting with professionals in a specific field or niche within the wide world of just “psychotherapy”. My purpose is to give my readers real direction for getting help with similar life challenges. My husband’s a therapist so I guess I see it more from the perspective of how much therapy can do for people. To hear the turnarounds and the hope is just amazing! I believe that there is no shame in going for therapy, any more than there would be in getting help for a physical issue.

  • Pickupapen

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 1:10 am

    Riding on the baalei teshuva idea…

    You often hear about difficult dynamics between baalei teshuva and their parents. What you don’t so often hear about is about the issues children of baalei teshuva face.

    When a child sees his/her parents slowly changing their behaviours, taking on more mitzvos, the child might take to it – or not. They aren’t necessarily consulted. Sometimes a child has the rug pulled out from under their feet bc the parents take them out of their school- where they are happy- and switch them to another school that is Jewish/frummer. They might move house to a different area with a frum community. The parents are all gung-ho about it but the kids might feel destabilised. And depending on the age, guilty for those feelings. They know that their parents want what’s best for them and have made the changes with them in mind but…
    Once in their new environment, they will always be different from their peers because of their past, because they are not ffb, because they are newcomers and no one knows who their parents or grandparents are. They struggle to catch up with Kodesh subjects in school.

    There may be anger/ guilt/ loss of confidence. And this can be true in whichever country the family lives.

    Novel material? Over to you…

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 7, 2020 at 7:58 pm

      This is such an interesting and true point to consider. Wow! Pickupapen, I was really struck by this observation and putting myself for a moment into the life and experience you describe.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 6:09 am

    There is also the concept of children of BTs who are FFBs, their parents became frum b4 starting a family.  Anyone who is one knows what this means…No frum relatives and all that includes.  Sometimes having more knowledge than their parents.  Being embarrassed of certain nuances that they don’t get.  Sometimes having older parents.

    On the flip side, there are tons of priceless benefits.  Passion and warmth for yiddishkeit, questions being encouraged and answered, acceptance of differences, parents with cool talents and abilities.

    A lot of these kids are at the same time proud of their parents, and struggling to fit in without rejecting them.

    Just some food for thought.

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Re BTs: This could be updating Rachel Pomerantz, for the 21st century.

    And re therapy: I’m going to say something that is NOT  a reflection on therapy, but on what re read (and writing), and that is, is it overdone in contemporary literature these days? (This could be a way for everyone to up her thread count. You’re welcome! ;-D)

  • Esther Kurtz

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    I’m with you, Fayge.

    Therapy is overdone.

    I also think it’s cop- out writing.

    Need to insert backstory- have it come out in therapy.

    Need your character to evolve, send them to therapy

    Need your character to uncover layers of their emotions and thoughts- have it done in therapy.

    Some people have told me that a particular character of mine belongs in therapy. And it’s possible that the character would benefit from it- but that’s not my job as writer to “take care of her.”

     

     

  • Esther

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you Fayge for being so thoughtful…;)

    About therapy, or all of those other topics that seem overdone – could be feels that way BC it’s all coming from the same stereotypical perspective.  Maybe we just need to take a new angle, something more real, makes the reader think, hits home.  Something that scares people on one hand but that they can relate to more deeply on the other – know what I mean?  Subtle things.

  • Esther

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    And BTW, I think the way therapy is used in books is not always so realistic.  Therapy is often murderous work that takes ages and ages and doesn’t have tangible results.  It’s not a neat little solution to fold into a story like egg whites…

    And the stuff that goes on in the “sessions” can be even less realistic.

    • Esther Kurtz

      Member
      June 7, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      Good point, Esther. A fresh take is always welcome.

      Also you basically confirmed my point that therapy is often used as a way writer’s tool- to move plot or to help the writer work around an issue or character

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm

      Leiba, that is, in fact, what therapy is actually used for in real life, so do you find it problematic to mirror that in a story?

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    [quote quote=18305]I’m with you, Fayge. Therapy is overdone. I also think it’s cop- out writing. Need to insert backstory- have it come out in therapy. Need your character to evolve, send them to therapy Need your character to uncover layers of their emotions and thoughts- have it done in therapy. Some people have told me that a particular character of mine belongs in therapy. And it’s possible that the character would benefit from it- but that’s not my job as writer to “take care of her.”[/quote]

    I’m sure there are times it’s cliched and copout. But it is a real and regular part of life now, and there are surely times when it’s appropriate.

  • Brocha

    Member
    June 7, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    Please don’t lynch me for saying this… but I wonder if perhaps the reason for therapy’s prevalence in so many contemporary stories is the fact that in our era, more people realize how helpful and necessary therapy can be. Meaning… it is now a fact of many many many people’s lives. Hence it finds itself in many many many books. And as Riva said… if therapy is how real people change, how can a writer expect her character to change without it?

  • Esther

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Why am I getting the feeling that we’ve touched on a loaded topic?

  • Esther Kurtz

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Yes, that is what therapy is for and it’s an incredibly valuable and transformative tool for people.

    But I do take issue with it being used in liberally in fiction, as if that’s the only way for people to resolve issues. Yes, some stories call for it, but if it shows up in every story, I begin to doubt its usefulness to the plot/character, and question how does going this route help the writer? My conclusion is that it’s an easy work around.

    I’m not taking away from your groundbreaking work Riva, of introducing therapy to frum fiction and normalizing it. You did a great service for many people. But when we look at plotting and character development in a vacuum, though, without larger societal goals, I think many stories would be better served without therapy being the catalyst of change for the character.

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 8, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    [quote quote=18390]Yes, that is what therapy is for and it’s an incredibly valuable and transformative tool for people. But I do take issue with it being used in liberally in fiction, as if that’s the only way for people to resolve issues. Yes, some stories call for it, but if it shows up in every story, I begin to doubt its usefulness to the plot/character, and question how does going this route help the writer? My conclusion is that it’s an easy work around. I’m not taking away from your groundbreaking work Riva, of introducing therapy to frum fiction and normalizing it. You did a great service for many people. But when we look at plotting and character development in a vacuum, though, without larger societal goals, I think many stories would be better served without therapy being the catalyst of change for the character.[/quote]

     

    (Like you said, Esther, it is loaded.)

    I can sum this up but I don’t think it will be the end of the conversation. Basically:

    1. Therapy is a part of people’s lives. Whether going to a therapist, or having a “feelings teacher” in the preschool who meets with classes and smaller groups, it is.

    2. Writing about it is another story. It has to ring true, it should be with consultation and review (and if you have an in-house therapist that makes things eaiser ;-D). It shouldn’t be a cop out, obviously so or otherwise.

    P.S. If someone’s choosing to write about a delicate topic, and there’ve been some suggestions about those topics, what might most ring true IS having therapy in the story.

     

  • StoryLuver

    Member
    June 9, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Trust issues.

  • StoryLuver

    Member
    June 9, 2020 at 6:51 am

    Trust issues.

    Or, someone with zero self-esteem.

    Though I’d like to see it pulled off without using therapy. Or, how about addressing it from a purely Torah perspective? After all, we as a nation have been focused on self-improvement for centuries without the aid of Freudian psychology.

    For example, Rabbi Shalom Arush’s The Garden of Emuna goes through a long list of mental disorders and how they can all be resolved with proper emuna in Hashem.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Fayge Y.

    Member
    June 9, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    [quote quote=18470]Trust issues.

    Or, someone with zero self-esteem.

    Though I’d like to see it pulled off without using therapy. Or, how about addressing it from a purely Torah perspective? After all, we as a nation have been focused on self-improvement for centuries without the aid of Freudian psychology.

    For example, Rabbi Shalom Arush’s The Garden of Emuna goes through a long list of mental disorders and how they can all be resolved with proper emuna in Hashem.[/quote]

     

    And on top of that, do it while making it a readable novel.

  • Baila

    Member
    June 16, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    Did  you make a decision?

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 16, 2020 at 10:40 pm

      If you’re asking me if I’ve made a decision about what to write, Baila, the answer is not yet. What I’ll do one day is go out to my garden with a good cup of green tea in my Masterpiece mug, and sit and breathe for a while and ask Hashem to guide me. I have a lot of good ideas floating around inside me–and thanks for everyone’s input here! I just have to get to a place in my life and in my workload where I can take on a new serial. B’ezras Hashem and b’sha’ah tova, right? 🙂

  • Menucha Levin

    Member
    June 16, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Baila,
    I’m still learning how this system works so not sure if your question was intended for Riva or me.
    If it was for me about mentioning corona in fiction, I think it might be simpler to set my story in 2015 rather than 2020.

  • MJ

    Member
    June 16, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    The Martyr woman who just gives and gives to her family… zero self care.. and when she tries self care,, its the self care that society talks about..

    • riva pomerantz

      Administrator
      June 16, 2020 at 10:41 pm

      Wow–great one, MJ! Gotta keep this in mind! I find that most women today are basically Superwomen, whether they’re martyrs or non-martyrs, and the whole “self-care” thing is definitely an interesting point to explore. I believe that Masterpiece is AUTHENTIC self-care for many women.

  • MJ

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 12:01 am

    Yup! It’s definitely self care I always knew I needed but was always too afraid that If I Spend time writing I’ll neglect my husband , kids, or job.  During carona I realized I need an outlet and I’m finding it soo healthy. I’m enjoying reading and writing.. and some things I wrote, I wasn’t comfortable posting but the self care part was still accomplished…

  • Elisheva Halle

    Member
    June 17, 2020 at 1:52 am

    I finally caught up with this thread and I think the discussion about therapy in fiction is fascinating. In fact, I think the same reason why people might be hesitant about going to therapy in real life is the same reason why a person might not want to see it with a story.

    Someone with an emotional issue means someone who doesn’t feel good about themselves or is insecure with  life. When that happens a person wants someone to show up in their life who can save them, someone who is there to stay and not someone who you pay money to and then is out of your life once you’re emotionally in a good place. People want a presence in their life of someone who believes in them, shows them life is safe, life is good. And it’s like, well, if you have to go to therapy and pay someone to do that for you, then maybe life is scary, maybe there really just is no one out there who will believe in you and show you you’re a good person…unless you pay them money. I don’t know if I’m making any sense…but I think in a novel, a person might want to be taken for a ride where the person who teaches the character the lesson comes from their everyday life and not a therapist because a person wants that almost romantic feeling when reading a novel that life is magical and it’s possible to find that person who will show you your true worth without shelling out money.

    I am not knocking down therapists or novels that have therapists in it, like Riva said, oftentimes that’s how people really do end up changing in real life. But all I guess I’m saying is that, both in real life and novels, therapy just seems to take the magic out…

  • Rochel Solomon

    Member
    November 9, 2020 at 3:52 am

    Can I bring this thread back again? I’m so sorry I just have many questions;

    How do you pitch an idea to a magazine (like what are the actual steps), and do you have to give samples of your writing first? How does that work as a new time writer? Do they only accept accomplished writers? What type of content is considered to “taboo” and what is content that magazines generally like? I know that’s very general but anything helps. I’m curious about the process and how you get your foot in the door as a “Just Beginning” writer. Can anyone help answer?

  • Rochel Solomon

    Member
    November 9, 2020 at 3:53 am

    Also, it could be you all answered this above it is just way to late and I am way to lazy to scroll up😂

  • PassionforWriting

    Member
    November 9, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    Okay, I’m late to the party – – again! Lol.

    But in all seriousness… that’s AMAZING, Riva!!!! You keep going and going! 🙂

    I love all these ideas, I really do, and I agree with Esther Kurtz about tearing down the stigma. We NEED to shred and tear away many of the false ideas we have that lead to the stigma of mental illness. Maybe you could write about that? Like exploring where and why the false notions are. Like for example, people with mental illness are dangerous, contagious, you should stay far far away from them.. and don’t even mention shidduchim – wew!

    The same with Bipolar disorder. Yes, it’s 100% normal to feel scared – a healthy fear bc it can be a scary disorder. BUT – – if it’s being taken care of (taking meds and going for therapy), then our fearful attitude is working against us.

    The same thing with people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). They’re often casts in a very bad light and are spoken very very negatively of, and I understand that. But I think some compassion and kindness is very much needed. They are in SO much pain…

    So basically, what I’m getting at is normalizing mental illness, stripping away the false and ignorant perceptions we create, and create healthier, better ones.

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