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Johnny Depp teaches EVERYTHING you need to know about writing...

Updated on March 24, 2016

Johnny Depp from "Secret Window," by James R. Griffin

Johnny from Secret Window by James R. Griffin
Johnny from Secret Window by James R. Griffin | Source
What Does This Have to do With Johnny Depp? He Loves to Read!
What Does This Have to do With Johnny Depp? He Loves to Read!

...or the writers who wrote Johnny Depp's best lines

Writers. We get to play Cyrano de Bergerac for the world. If we do it very well, that world may grow beyond just our family and friends. We can woo a million Roxanne's (or Rocky's) from the comfort of our duct-taped office chairs.

Someday people may quote your romantic lines to their sweethearts. You might even earn enough to get a nicer chair. How to start? Where to begin?

1. The Best Writers are the Best Readers.

Saying you are a great writer and never bothering to read, is like saying you are a great chef, but never bothering to eat. Reading the classics gives you a great handle on what makes a classic story.

100 Best Novels

One of Depp's Favorites:  Author/Poet - Allen Ginsberg
One of Depp's Favorites: Author/Poet - Allen Ginsberg

2. Find a Great Mentor, (Johnny Depp if he's available).

I took a great course: Write To Act, given by Screenwriter/Author/Actor Peter DeAnello. His unique approach is enlightening. His secret is to start from The Monologue. If you can write a great monologue, you can build a book, screenplay, or house around it. Every great movie has a great KEY monologue tucked inside of it. Look for them! It's fun!

Taking a class from someone who's been there and done that is KEY to improving your own writing skills. Also great to have many people (with many perspectives) read your stuff and give you honest feedback.

"The Monologue: From Mystery to Mastery" - See Link Below

Spoiler Alert! A Riveting Monologue: If you have not yet seen Secret Window - Rent or Buy immediately - watch - come back to this:

3. Don't Be in a Totally Committed Relationship With Every Word

Just live together for awhile first. Seriously. This is coming from someone who wrote an entire manuscript, and re-wrote, and re-wrote it. Be willing to rip your stuff to shreds (figuratively) in order to rebuild and make it better. As Peter used to quote time and time again, "The art of writing is re-writing."

The whole time I was writing my first book, I kept mentally referring to a scene from the movie "Secret Window" in which Johnny Depp's character (novel writer Mort Rainey) deletes a paragraph freshly written on his dusty laptop. I did love the sound of his fingers on the keyboard. But the writing wasn't good. He wasn't married to it.

"No bad writing" became my mantra. Even if I thought my writing was good, I would often listen to some harsh criticisms. If it hurt my feelings initially, it was worth it to make the writing better. It's good to think like that. Note: It can be helpful to keep old drafts for ideas that might better serve a future piece. That way you don't feel like you've lost anything. It's kind of like those exes I have stuffed in an old cedar chest in the basement. They may come in handy someday.

The final product is more important than my ego - or my emotions. If the piece is to work for large audiences, it has to be something that many people can relate to. Maybe I really care about the character in the story that reminds me of my mean Aunt Anita - but after the 50th page of venting about her back-stabbing ways, my readers (if they're still with me) might be getting bored.

Brando, Walken, Polanski impressions from Depp

4. Good Things Come in Fores: Now Go Play Golf

Some of your best ideas for stories come when you are not staring at a computer screen, pulling your hair out and counting your hangnails. Like good ol' Mort (who claims he doesn't smoke) as a writer, you can get "burnnnnned" out. If those great lines just aren't coming, there's nothing like fresh air and sunshine to regenerate your imagination. Get out of the rut. Take a stroll into town. See what happens...

Although I Really Can't Get Behind Violence:

Johnny makes it sound so necessary, and even possibly a pleasant experience for the bully...

Keep Moving Forward; Be True to Yourself

Update! What ELSE do Johnny Depp and the Genie have in Common?

Seeing Johnny Depp in person at the same theater where Aladdin show is! Click on "Heaven Leigh" for MORE!
Seeing Johnny Depp in person at the same theater where Aladdin show is! Click on "Heaven Leigh" for MORE! | Source

5. Beeeeeee Yourself

As Robin Williams says through the character of the big blue lovable Genie in Aladdin, "Beeeee Yourself!"

My favorite example of this, in writing terms, is found within Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." Jo, the writer of the March family, wanted to make a living at her chosen craft, so she spun wild imaginative tales of horror for the local paper. When she met a kind professor, though he admired her talent for sending shivers down the spine, he also saw deeper into her soul. He encouraged her to write from her heart, to write about the things that touched her most deeply. Her book, "My Beth," a loving tribute to her sister, was later born.

In the movies, stories of success can go all-too-smoothly and leave us thinking, "yeah, right! That could never happen to me."

I like to muse on the fact, that behind that fantastical movie, there was a writer who probably thought that could never happen to her either. But somewhere deep down inside she had hope - or there wouldn't have been a book - to be made into a movie - for us to sit and watch in disbelief!

Be true to yourself. Write from your passion. Take needed breaks; you can sometimes come up with your BEST ideas during down time. Don't be married to each line. It's okay to flirt with other ideas! And hungrily devour GOOD books!

I've just inspired myself to go watch "Secret Window" again tonight.

Nothing beats SEEING Johnny Depp in person!

Click on "Heaven Leigh" for more about seeing Johnny Depp in person!
Click on "Heaven Leigh" for more about seeing Johnny Depp in person! | Source

Believe in Love After Life

Updated Cover
Updated Cover | Source
At book signing with Jasmine (my daughter)
At book signing with Jasmine (my daughter) | Source

MichaeLuna, author Heaven Leigh's second book

Illustrated by Mimi O'Garren - Available NOW on Amazon.com!
Illustrated by Mimi O'Garren - Available NOW on Amazon.com! | Source

© 2012 Heaven L Burkes

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    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Aaaaah Watergeek, dear, I Loooooooooooved the Pasadena rains!!!! Miss them much! Keep me posted on your fiction - and funny that I just met someone else last night that was in the Peace Corps. :) She is my son's English teacher. I LOVE her energy! Thank you for your awesome work there - YES - stories please!!! Guess you can benefit from the goddess magic afterall. ;)

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Aah, but I have fiction coming up in my future - too many experiences in the Peace Corps to not play with that genre at some point. Pasadena had the most wonderful rainstorm yesterday! From 94 degrees at noon to heavy rain around 4:00 pm, it was a magical day.

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Thank you kindly, Watergeek - and a happy HELLO to Pasadena! I lived there from '79 - '86 (with stops in Glendora and Altadena too). My parents moved a lot. LOL

      Starbucks! Ahem....I thanked "coffee" in the acknowledgements section of my first book. LOL!

      Breaks....yes. May the goddesses Yemanja and Abundantia be your muses and smile on your writing, bringing you great success and fulfillment! ;) (I hope that works, even though you don't write fiction).

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      I have to keep remembering to take breaks. I don't write fiction, but I also get flashes of good ideas when I'm walking to or from Starbucks, or lying on my couch resting in the afternoon. Here it is 1:10 AM, though, and I'm still here at the computer. (lol) Well written, heavenleigh707.

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Chris, some things in life just don't make no sense. ;) Thanks for breaking it to me gently.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      heavenleigh, I was browsing through the "100 best novels" list that you have posted here. I just wanted to let you know...I know this will be embarrassing for you to find out, but "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy" is not on the list anyplace. I'm sorry I had to break this news to you, but I thought you should know.

      Chris

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Thank you RedElf! I truly appreciate you stopping by to read - and your great comments. I'll pass that along to Johnny too! ;)

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

      Excellent advice from you and from Mr. Depp. Thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking read.

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Mike! Awesome comment! Pleeeeeeze do BOTH! Read one, then write one - ;)

    • mckbirdbks profile image

      mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello this was an informative and entertaining hub. Armed with all this fresh encouragement and wisdom I will launch immediately into a novel. (Reading one silly, not writing one.)

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Pamela, thank you for reading. Great analogy from your professor! Thanks for voting up. It's wonderful when the teacher we have had is so good that his/her voice stays in our mind throughout our lifetime of writing. :)

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 5 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Great hub. Lots of wisdom here.

      A professor I had at the University of Victoria kept hammering home the message that if we want to write 'this well, this good' and he'd hold his hand to the height of his chin -- then we have to read 'this much' and he'd hold his hand way above his head to show us we have to read twice as much as we write in order to be good writers.

      Voting up and useful.

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Thank you SouthernHoney - and good luck with your book! I hope it's a NYT best seller some day! :)

    • SouthernHoney profile image

      SouthernHoney 5 years ago from Woodinville, WA

      I love this! I'm trying to write a book and you just renewed my enthusiasm. I especially like rule #3, since perfectionism is my weakness. It's great advice to just move on and come back to that paragraph later.

      Voted up and interesting :)

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Snakeslane - thank you so much for reading and commenting! All the best to you, ~h~

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 5 years ago from Canada

      Hello heavenleigh, thank you so much for connecting with Johnny Depp, I am going to go study my writing now, Seriously, thank you! Regards, snakeslane

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was sweet....thank you my friend! You made my day!

    • heavenleigh707 profile image
      Author

      Heaven L Burkes 5 years ago from The Invincible Heart of Neverland

      Thank you for stopping by to read. :) Why is it that the best writers don't know how good they are? ;) Thank you so much for your support here. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was a fun hub with some great advice. Number three is valuable to me today; I need to quit trying to write the perfect sentence each and every time. It's exhausting when you can't meet your own expectations....ever!

      Great read; thank you my friend!