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#40 Paul Scheuring

Paul Scheuring | Secret Library Podcast | Screenwriter to novelist

Paul Scheuring | Secret Library Podcast | Screenwriter to novelist

First-Time Novelist Paul Scheuring was already a professional screenwriter when he started his book.

Not only was he a professional screenwriter, Paul Scheuring had big successes under his belt, like being the creator of the TV show, Prison Break. It shocks me that I live in Los Angeles and have reached episode 40 without having a single screenwriter on the show (although sticklers will note that V.E. Schwab has done a bit of screenwriting). Paul was the perfect person to talk to about writing for television vs. writing long-form fiction. We talk about studio politics, what it takes to write a show or a movie and how different it is from novel creation.

This is a deep episode, all about returning to the original impulse that drove Paul to write back as a student at UCLA and how this book has brought him full circle. We also discuss the impact of buddhism on his writing along with the details of how he structures his writing day, where the idea came from for his novel The Far Shore, and his process of outlining and research. Yet another favorite.

Listen up on iTunes | Paul's website | The Far Shore | Twitter

Show notes for Episode 40 with Paul Scheuring:

  • The beginning of Paul's writing life (1:20)

  • Beginning to write screenplays (2:15)

  • Mortality reminding you of what you really want to do (2:40)

  • The secret of writing (3:30)

  • Coming up with the idea for the Far Shore (4:00)

  • Buddhism's influence on the book (4:40)

  • The influence of the style of writing on the era of the characters (6:00)

  • The best form of drama (6:40)

  • On putting characters through hell in novels vs. TV (7:45)

  • The importance of an outline in TV (8:10)

  • The joy of discovery in novel writing (8:45)

  • Joan Didion on why she writes (9:05)

  • Outlining for TV vs. novels - the nitty gritty (9:20)

  • Earning the ending (10:00)

  • The novel as a writing vacation (11:20)

  • The importance of criticism and insight (11:50)

  • The question to ask when receiving criticism (12:05)

  • The first notes Paul ever received as a beginning writer (13:10) Mentioned: Bullets over Broadway

  • How a writer is like a tree (16:00)

  • Who are you writing for? (16:20)

  • Fitting a novel into the screenwriting schedule (19:40) Mentioned: V.E. Schwab on writing schedules

  • The research process for The Far Shore (21:30)

  • Holding the characters in mind while researching (23:40)

  • The practical process of research (25:00)

  • The active elements of reading (25:45)

  • The day-to-day writing schedule (26:30)

  • The timeline of creating the novel (28:10)

  • The revision process (29:30)

  • Three draft guy (30:45)

  • Great work and normalcy in life as dual goals (31:10)

  • Good enough vs. the curse of perfect (32:30)

  • The rarity of repeating success (34:15)

  • Letting go of attachment to success and being "somebody" (35:00)

  • The impact of the loss of his mom (36:20)

  • Humility & impermanence as a way to feel freedom to create (37:40)

  • The creative process as its own reward (38:10) Mentioned: Bone of Song by Josh Ritter, Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog

  • On not wanting this book to be optioned (41:20)

  • The reality of Hollywood (42:30)

This episode sponsored by Scrivener