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Learning Curves

by Patti Petrone Miller

When I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be something. But that something tugged at me which brought me into the land of Theater. I was always a creator for as long as I could remember and always wrote plays to create in front of my peer audience on the porch of one of my childhood best friends. We charged twenty-five cents to see our plays. I can’t say they were the best, but hey we were ten years old and did our best. The costumes were usually created from old clothing and what the parents were willing to donate. The props were made out of any cardboard we could find and cut out to shape then paint. The curtains were old sheets and the stage was set. The patrons sat on the front lawn on blankets and could bring whatever they wanted to eat as long as they cleaned up afterwards. Our audience consisted of the neighborhood kids which amounted to approximately forty kids. Yes I grew up in a small town where we all knew one another, so sometimes depending on the play, we would have more or less people attending.

The shows never really lasted more then thirty minutes because at age ten there really wasn’t much we could do to keep our audience engaged when they began walking away.

I knew what I wanted to do once I reached middle school and that was to write. I gathered as many straight A’s in writing as I could because I wanted to master the craft. I remember running home after school to grab the book, War of the Worlds, by HG Wells, the unabridged addition of course just to read and re-read it over and over again until the spine was too weak to hold the pages in place. I studied every single book I ever picked up from the classics to horror, suspense and mystery.

I dabbled in science fiction and watched every single black and white monster show I could. I grew up with Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, The Bowery Boys, Little Rascals. I watched cartoons such as Scooby Doo, Johnny Quest, Looney Toons and more to see how the stories were written in order to engage, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do.

My writing landed me a spot of the school newspaper in high school and from there into college where I majored in English and Early Childhood Development. That followed me into my adult life when I penned my very first novel that was traditionally published back in 1989. My career has had it’s ups and downs but all for a good reason. It taught me what I needed to do to become who I am today. I have learned to never give up because you can’t please everyone. All you can do is write from your heart and be the best you can be.

My advise is to study the craft. Learn all you can to make it your best. Never give up. Because of my persistence and study, I was able to reach out to Hollywood at a success rate I never expected and now have a book series going to television. So you see, you can do it if you stay focused.

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