Absolute Write - Back to home

Subscribe to the Absolute Write Newsletter and get

 the Agents! Agents! Agents! report free! Click here.


 Win a 1-year subscription to Writer's Digest by subscribing to Absolute Markets-- all paying markets for your writing. Click here.


Interview With Rosanne Welch
Interviewed by Keith Justice

Rosanne Welch is a television writer with credits from Touched By An Angel and Beverly Hills, 90210.  She is also the writer of the Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space.

How did you get started as a writer in Hollywood?

I was a high school English and Drama teacher from Cleveland, Ohio who had always wanted to be a television writer. So the day after my husband and I got married, we drove to L.A. with no connections at all. I had found a teaching job in L.A. for the first year and took classes at AFI (American Film Institute) at night. The advice I was given was that if you wanted to "be in the business" you had to "be in the business" which meant quitting teaching after that first year and taking a job as a receptionist for Stephen J. Cannell Productions. 

I did that for a little over a year, got promoted to writer's secretary and then executive producer's secretary and then did that job for a variety of different producers, asking each new executive to read my work until one or two of them did! It took ten years from the time we moved out to my first, full time staff writing job on a television show. Within those ten years I'd had pitches and meetings, but for all the right factors to fall into place, it took ten years. You have to be prepared for that kind of commitment when you start. I had friends who were secretaries with me in the early years and they all wanted to be writers -- ten years down the line only two of us have writing jobs. The others all eventually dropped by the wayside because it wasn't
happening "overnight."

Is writing a learned craft or is it something that comes naturally? Or maybe a combination of the two?

I believe it's a combination. It is natural but continues to need to be worked on for it to be good enough to make a living doing.

You've written for both 'Touched by an Angel' and '90210'-- two decidedly different audiences. What similarities and differences did you find in the writing of these two programs?

"Touched" is an anthology so we start with a clean slate of new characters and settings and issues each week and we begin and end the stories in one episode. "90210" was a night time soap so the storylines continued week to week and you always tried to end with a cliffhanger forcing the audience to come back. That's the most basic, formulaic difference. Each show does try to tackle social issues which is what I like about them individually. Though they of course attack those issues from and for completely different
POVs as far as audience is concerned.

Any secrets for writing in collaboration? Certainly, it's easy for two or more people to brainstorm ideas. But when it actually comes down to putting dialogue on the computer, how does that work?

Collaboration works differently for each team I know. My former partner and I used to write the outlines together, then split the scripts up. I would work on the first two acts and she on the last two. Then we'd give each other notes on our sections and do the rewrites and the rereading and the potential rewrites until we were both satisfied. I've known teams to write over each other and some teams actually sit at the computer together and talk out each line before anything gets typed in.

Okay, Rosanne, let's say I'm a writer from Louisville, Kentucky. I know I'm good. Everyone tells me that. And I want to break into television. Can I do that from Louisville, or do I need to move to California?

See the answer to question #1!

Assuming I do move to the Los Angeles area, what's my first step? Any ideas for a new writer to try to get his or her name known?

Do any kind of writing you can. Some people do columns in freebie neighborhood mags, some write poetry and perform it at local coffee houses, some do comedy. As for television writing, all you can do is get some kind of job in the business and write speculative material and ask anyone you meet to read it and give you notes.

How do you work when you write? Are you regimented - for instance, wake up every morning, throw on a pot of coffee, and write for two hours?

I am the epitome of the morning person. I can roll out of bed at 7AM and write solidly to lunch time, then break and write again until about 3:30/4PM when I'm on a project. That's when I start reaching for phrases and forgetting words and realize that I'm tapped out for the day. Then I shut down the computer and reach for a book -- or watch movies I've been meaning to see.

I'm very goal oriented, and when I'm writing one project I usually have another I'm also mulling that I want to get to, so I tend to "race" myself from one project to the next.

As for atmosphere, music is nice, but it has to be instrumental. If I hear lyrics, those words and stories tie me up and take away my focus. Mostly I work in silence.

What do you still hope to accomplish as a writer?

I'd like to run my own television show, create my own world and populate it with interesting, eccentric characters that America would grow and love and learn from. And I'd like to do another book. My first, "The Encyclopedia of Women in Aviation and Space" is a reference book and was fun but now I'd like to try my hand at fiction. There are so many stories to tell and so many wonderful words to play with every day I want to keep writing so people can learn the things I've learned. It's like being a teacher on steroids.

Any words of encouragement or (as much as we hate to hear them, but we need to), words of warning for the countless writers waiting for their breaks?

Keep writing. It helps to form a writer's group with like minded people in your area and critique each other's work and support each other. It also helps to read as much as you can so that you keep learning new things yourself and don't get stale.

Visit Rosanne's website at http://www.welchwrite.com/


Absolute Classes
Absolute Write

Sponsored links

Ring binders




Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer!

How to find a book publisher



Text on this site Copyright 1998-2007 Absolute Write, all rights reserved.
Please contact the authors if you'd like to reprint articles on this site.  All copyrights are retained by original authors.  And plagiarizers will be rounded up, handcuffed, and stuck into a very small and humid room wherein they must listen to Barney sing the "I Love You, You Love Me" song over and over again.

writers writing software