Category Archives: About Sam

Methods of Writing

Shadow of Love


The craft is not just about writing. It is principally about re-writing. Some writers do a chapter by chapter outline, others write the first and last chapters to start off. Still others do a rough section-by-section, leaving room for change as one moves along. The last was my approach.

I started both Shadow of Guilt and the sequel, Shadow of Love, with a rough section-by-section outline, a rough one built in parts with just an idea as to where they were going. Did anything change along the way? Yes. I was going to have Chip stay in business to overcome his guilt, but I changed that for a more dramatic route. Ups, downs, you guess the conclusion.

But one thing is for sure in methods: always remember the seven year-old boy who told his father he was going to write a novel. Dad says fine, but do an outline first. Two days later, son hands this to his father: Chapter One: Robin Hood went riding. Chapter Two: The bad guys came. Chapter Three: They fought. Chapter Four: Robin Hood won. See, he sets the scene, then presents the conflict, then the battle, and then the conclusion. That’s how it should go!

Advice for New Authors from Samuel Jay


The biggest piece of advice I have for new authors is to do your homework, that is, learn the craft by studying it first. Find books on the profession; there are many to choose from. Also, go to classes held by the pros. For example, I went to one held by David Hagberg, a bestselling author, who scrawled this note on a first chapter I handed in: “Your scene-setting sucks.” After this, I decided to take a Writer’s Digest 6-month correspondence course, which included a mentor review of my draft outline and chapters into Shadow of Guilt with suggested revisions. Two years later Hagberg sent me this note about Shadow of Guilt: “Wow, have you come a long way.” And a review: “An intriguing premise, tight plotting, and well-defined characters who the reader cares about.” Not bad. Read, read, study, study, and go to writers’ conferences to listen to successful authors and meet editors and agents, learning what their interests are.

Why I Became an Author

5703602800_cd014cc64f_n Writing is not only demanding but time-consuming. I was in the public relations business, and my days were always full, my nights a time to recover. What changed that came about because of my father’s unexpected passing. He owned a public water utility, and I had to take over its management as president. It was quickly evident that I had two choices: (1) staying in the PR business, or (2) selling it and taking over the family-owned water utility I chose the latter, and after a year of settling into the utility business I found that it was less time demanding and left me room for writing a novel.