For me, it all began with The Wizard of Oz, the Nancy Drew mystery series, and all of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s courage, compassion and determination defined who I wanted to be. Her search for “home” echoed my own emotional journey of feeling like I didn’t fit into my own world. She had her dog, Toto, and I had Edmund, a gray cat with a white collar and cuffs who I’d saved as a kitten. I felt Dorothy and I were kindred spirits. Dorothy triumphed because of her kindness, and that was a message I needed to hear.
Nancy Drew, on the other hand, was accepted and loved. She had adventures, could drive a car, and money was not an issue. She was confident in her own powers. She helped others. Her father respected and supported her, and her mother was dead. I am sure that her independence inspired not just the way I write but also the way I live.
Sherlock Holmes was my first favorite male character, and I am sure that the fact he was a free thinker who used his quirky intelligence is why I write thrillers. I just loved the way he could use his powers of observation and his understanding of human nature to solve any crime. There is a quote in one of the stories I live by to this day:
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable must be the truth.”
Marilyn Ida Horowitz is a producer, writing coach, and award-winning professor of screenwriting at New York University. From her books on her trademarked writing system—now standard reading at NYU—to her appearances at Screenwriters World and The Great American Screenwriting Conference & PitchFest, Marilyn has guided the careers of literally hundreds of writers. She is currently featured in the Now Write! Screenwriting Anthology (Tarcher/Penguin) and in the upcoming The Expert Success Solution (Morgan James). Her production credits include And Then Came Love (2007), starring Vanessa Williams.
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