20 Point Plan to writing a Best Seller

A lot of publishers ask me how I see my work developing from where it stands today to becoming a future bestseller. I answer them with what I call my ’20 point plan to writing a Best Seller.’

1.)    Print at local Kinkos!

2.)    Submit Submit Submit!

3.)    Overcome rejections!

4.)    Submit some more!

5.)    Rejections!

6.)    Get a real job and write on the side!

7.)    Become an alcoholic!

8.)    Despise writers who actually stuck it out!

9.)    Try to write again!

10.) Fail!

11.) Tear my hair out and vow to never write again!

12.) Get married!

13.) Get divorced!

14.) Spend my life regretting the fact that I never pursued my dream to the end!

15.) Give younger people advice about hitting the harsh reality of life!

16.) Submit work one final time!

17.) Die!

18.) Work gets picked up!

19.) Work gets rave reviews!

20.) Work becomes a best seller!

On the ‘Prejudice’ of the Writer

I have a difficult time with the current preoccupation with ‘ethnic prejudice’ and the trend to write things as they should be rather than they actually are. For instance, I’m afraid to call my characters ‘the short Italian man’ or ‘the Australian’. These next two topics appear at the surface level to be quite different, but I don’t see them as such.

1.) I in no way as a writer intend to influence people into smoking. However, as a writer, it is my job to understand the truth, and the truth is smoking may just make you look slightly cooler and tougher.

2.) From this, we can derive that the job of the writer is henceforth to write as the mind sees. Therefore, if I write about my character seeing a black man, I must write, ‘A black man approached.’ In the same way, a black man in New York City may see me coming and write, ‘The tourist approached.’

I hope you can clearly see that the issue I am raising does not have anything to do with racism, but properly describing the interpretation of the human mind. There are many today seeking to ‘fix’ this interpretation, but I don’t think the interpretation is really what needs to be changed. For example, the more time my main character spends with ‘the black man’, the more he is known as David, and a friend, and a jackass. Why? Because initially we see things in a very shallow manner, but eventually the truth comes out.

If I wanted to relate this depth to the smoker looking cool, I would show that the cool smoker also has fits of coughs and lives day to day with more stress than one can possibly imagine.

I hope this clarifies my point correctly, and please understand I in no way intend to offend anyone. I just cannot bring myself to write characters who are not true to life.

– Thomas M. Watt

Voice of God

prayer of anguish

When all is painful, all hope lost.

Thoughts of anguish, treasures naught,

Too far away from prizes known, too angry from the endless woes.

When you are caught up in the web, when the demons reach your head,

When you feel angry, tired confused,

When you see darkness and nothing’s new.

When eyes won’t close and mind won’t rest,

Heart in pain from life’s long test,

There comes a voice who speaks for free,

There comes a peace that lets you be.

Sometimes He’s speaking through your prayers,

Sometimes another leads you there.

Nothing brings more love and action,

Nothing beats another’s compassion.

In those times when you are down,

Take a good look all around.

For when trouble starts to ache,

When too much pain is sent your way,

Few will turn and offer love,

Few will care for all your woes.

But there is a time or two,

When those of God come speak to you,

You will hear His voice through them,

Those of God are saving friends.

And in the end when you come to,

Heaven’s Kingdom and take the stool,

The Lord above will speak to thee,

And will say to you “My child please,

Relax now that world is gone,

Problems ended, worries scorned.

I heard your prayers, and you asked why,

I gave you problems all the time.

To let you suffer, so confused, and all the while still reach you,

Well my child now you see,

From your problems you sought me,

Look around if you still don’t know,

Not one who made it didn’t have woes.”

– Thomas M. Watt

Dylan Can’t Sleep


Dylan sat down in a chair and stared straight ahead. He took a breath, then released. His hands were on his knees, his tongue was in his mouth, and his eyes were peeled wide open. It was four o’clock in the morning.

He thought of Jess. He thought of her often. He wanted to go over to her house. He wanted to have sex with her. He wanted to have sex with her, tell her he loved her, then disappear for another two weeks. But he did not want to do it.

He took another breath. Four-Oh-Three.

“Shit,” he said.

He was on a high. Not a drug induced high, not an unhealthy high, but a normal, euphoric high. At least for him. He didn’t think others got it. They couldn’t. It couldn’t be normal.

It was the reason he kept so disciplined, the reason he carried few friends, the reason he stayed out of other’s lives as much as possible. He was bipolar.

The moment excitement struck, he became a new man – ready to go out and paint the town red. But when disappointment struck, he was nowhere to be seen – curiously, alone in his room at the very same place. Only, when depression set in, his demeanor was much different. When depression set in, it wasn’t difficult to avoid people. In fact, it was nearly impossible to even say hello.

He wasn’t melodramatic, he wasn’t selfish, he was simply troubled. Troubled not by something which was purely a burden, but by something which was also beautiful. Something which was extreme, be it high, be it low. Something which allowed him to experience sights others only dreamt of seeing, and nightmares others had never even begun to view.

How did he know this? It was simple – a look in the eyes. The desire to judge. No person with his condition dared to intentionally disturb another, for the feelings he felt were simply too catastrophic – be it his ego, or his id.

Dylan looked at the clock. Four-ten.

“Shit,” he said, staring down at himself. He looked to the cabinet. The cabinet contained alcohol. Alcohol would not help. Alcohol was not a good idea. Sex would help. Unfortunately, sex involved another human being. Involving another human being meant bringing another from their peaceful existence into his unsettled reality. He didn’t want to do that. He really didn’t.

Four – thirteen.

“Fuck it,” he said. He picked up the phone, found Jess in his contacts, then hit send.

“Hello?” came the sleepy voice.

“Hey,” he said.

“Dylan?” There was a pause. “What do you want? Do you see what time it is?”

Dylan scratched his head. “Yeah… I was just awake. Wondering what you were up to.”

Jess laughed. “Umm, I was sleeping. What are you doing? Why are you calling me?”

Dylan smeared a hand across his face, then raised his eyebrows, then let out a breath. “Do you mind if I come over?”

She chuckled again. “Is something bothering you? It’s not normal to be calling people at four in the morning, you know.”

“Yeah, yeah. I know.” Dylan stood up, and began pacing around his room. “I just felt like talking to you, is all. I feel like seeing you.”

“Now?! Are you serious?”

“Yeah, why not? Can I come over?”

Jess scoffed. “Fine, I’ll make some coffee. This better be about seeing me and not about anything else.”

Dylan laughed loudly. “C’mon Jess, you serious?”

“Yeah, I am actually.”

He scoffed. “I just want to see you. That alright?”

Jess sighed. “Yeah, might as well. I’m up now, so I’ll get a pot brewing. Come over.”

“Sweet, be over in ten,” he said, excitedly.

“Okay, okay. Just don’t be expecting anything else, okay?”

“Of course,” he said, then hung up the phone.

He walked in circles in his room as he gathered his clothes, with a pip in his step. He reached for the door handle, then, just before he turned it to open, he dropped his head.

“Fuck,” he whispered. He shook his head, then left.

– Thomas M. Watt

Reader’s Block


Night’s distress quiet unrest confused about what writing’s best,

Days are lonely filled with cleaning polishing up words still not breeding.

Yet to know what it’s about, yet to find a worthy clout,

Lost on much uncertain of how,

Dull on why and what’s gone down.

See no pathway yet to publish, know so little and undiscovered.

Many hope all just the same, many players in this game.

Many roads which have been taken, too many wrong turns makes a statement.

Sick of being so of offensive, but it’s my nature to offend some.

Get it all out on that paper, get those words done or you’re breaking.

Let me see what future holds, paint the pathway bright with gold.

Turning left, turning right, still not seeing much to find.

No connections, no handshakes, no other knowledge past what words make.

Singing little smiling not, trying to get but not much got.

Show me something tell me please, bring me to a fulfilled sleep.

Not one reader, not one review, will someone read my writing too?

Overwhelming much distraught, confused about this reader’s block.

Find me friends who want to read, bring me some with this disease.

Manuscript printed edits made, still my mind is all who raves.

What’s the reason for not quitting, what’s the call for all my bidding.

Message sent, end transmission, just gotta push forth what I’ve written.

– Thomas M. Watt