Larry Platt’s official biography states:
A native of New Orleans, he has studied theater at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Dillard University. His first one-act play ‘MIRRORS’ won first place at the National Association for Drama/Speech Arts (NADSA) in 1996. It was produced the following year at the New Orleans Black Theater Festival. His first children’s ebook, “The Little Boy and the Sea” along with his first short collection of poetry, “lazarusInfinity…selected poems from the stratosphere” are both now available at Amazon.com. He is currently at work on a new screenplay as well as spec scripts for both television and the stage.
Personally, Larry is an amazing person! I’ve known him for gosh, 10 years or so. We worked together in New Orleans and while we treated each other like brother and sister (meaning he made fun of me and I reciprocated), he will always be someone I regard with the utmost respect and admiration.
I asked Larry if he would answer some questions for me (and you, dear reader). He went above and beyond with his answers!
Who are some of your favorite authors?
James Patterson, Dan Brown, Deepak Chopra, J.K. Rowling and Don Miguel Ruiz. Growing up, I was also a fan of authors such as Stephen King and Shel Silverstein (The Lighthouse in the Attic)
Can you talk about some of the projects you’re working on?
As far as screenplays go, right now I’m shopping around two projects that I’ve been hard at work on for the past few years. One is a horror screenplay called KARMA.COM which deals with a serial killer who stalks victims through social networking sites.The other screenplay is called KATRINA, which deals with a man’s struggle between revenge and redemption while being forced to help others survive on the streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
I also have a television script idea I’m slowly developing dealing with the inner workings of an adult retail store. Working for Hustler Hollywood the past six years, the one question I always heard was “So what’s it like working here?” So the series goes into not only what happens in a sex store, but the lives of the people who work/shop there. Ultimately it’s a social commentary on sex, politics and relationships, so a lot of dirty secrets get aired.
What inspires you to write?
Dreams and spirituality. From the time I was a kid growing up in the projects, my dreams have always been my biggest inspiration for the simple fact that I was always surrounded by murders and all other sorts of really dark stuff. Even as a kid, I guess I was just blessed with a sort of insight that while this is where I may come from, I don’t have to end up here. There’s always a way out. Dreams were always a way to retreat from the random violence I saw everyday. and even to this day, some of the best ideas I’ve gotten for stories or scripts come from dreams; I hope I never lose that. Growing up in the church, spirituality wasn’t just empty dogma; you just knew it was something very real. I’ll never pretend to be the most religious or spiritual person out there, but I’ve always known that there was someone greater out there watching over me. There’s also the ‘other side’ of that equation that’s creepy yet interesting at the same time. It’s a complex concept that I think everyone wonders about just as a part of being human. It’s something I hope to explore in future work.
Have you always wanted to write?
From the time I was 8 years old. As a kid I grew up on guys like Alfred Hitchcock, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Sidney Poitier and Redd Foxx. Always wanted to work in Hollywood as both an actor and writer and never stopped dreaming. The best thing about that was that when I was a kid, my 3rd grade teacher Ms. Hayes was always extremely supportive of my writing. Back then I was always writing little fantasy kids stories. Then, being influenced by Alfred Hitchcock and horror movies, the stories turned to ghost stories and murder mysteries. Nowadays if a kid wrote the stuff I was writing back then and showed it to a 3rd grade teacher, you better believe the parents are being called to the school for a meeting. Ms. Hayes was never like that. She clearly saw it as stories coming from a kid with an active imagination and she not only accepted but encouraged me to keep writing. That’s something I will never forget.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to be published?
Write what you love and always be true to your voice. They can teach characterization, structure, premise, etc. in school but writing comes from within; voices can’t be taught. Another lesson is just learning from life as you grow. With publishing, it’s definitely better nowadays to look into self publishing rather than obsess over query letters and approaching agents with your manuscript. The digital marketplace has exploded so much in recent years and is far more lucrative. Best advice is to soak up all the info in this area and learn from the top selling self-published authors, especially on Amazon. You also have to get very familiar with social networking. I’m not much of a fan of it but in order to build a successful brand these days, you need to utilize sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google +, etc. Exposure is key.
What was the book that influenced your life-and why?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley. It was the first book that taught me that as an African-American, I have the same basic human rights as every individual on the Earth. Many people have many different views on Malcolm but for me, his unapologetic message of self reliance and self determination was a huge one for me growing up. At one point in this man’s life he was without question one of the lowest forms of people you could meet. He’d been a drug dealer, pimp and a thief. Then later on through a spiritual transformation, he educated himself to the point where universities all over the world wanted to hear him speak. How can anyone not be inspired by that is a mystery to me.
You are on a deserted island. What 5 books do you have with you?
- The Bible
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X
- The Awakening of Intelligence
- The Four Agreements-a practical guide to personal freedom
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
How did you decide to write a children’s book?
For years, people had been urging me to write a novel, but I never thought I could do it. Stage plays and screenplays were fine, but I just never thought I could commit to writing a book, let alone one that would be any good. About a year ago, a woman I was dating briefly had a four year old son who liked to read books and she asked me to write something for him. So, thinking back to all the kid’s stories I used to write back in 3rd grade, I eventually had a few stories under my belt and it just caught on. Then, getting laid off from worked forced me to learn more about self-publishing and getting my work out there, so it’s been an ongoing process.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel/screenplay?
For me, it’s always started with an idea I got from some dream. Don’t know why; that’s just how it works. Once I had the basic premise, I start thinking about the characters and writing biographies on all them, figuring out the relationships and how they conflict with each other. Once I have that down, it helps me put the overall structure of the story together.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
My writing days can go from organized one day to complete chaos the next. If I’m working on my blog or writing articles for other sites, I usually get up at 5 in the morning and try to knock out at least 4 or 5 articles. Problem with that is if I have a screenplay in mind or am in the middle of a rewrite, my blogging will get pushed aside for days because I get obsessed with it. When working on a screenplay, my peak times to write are usually late at night or during a storm. I know that sounds creepy and cliched but that’s just how it’s always been. I’ve just recently caught on to going to a cafe to write, which is a good thing because it’s good to get away from the same four walls for a change. When you’re sitting at home all the time writing, things can get a bit stale. Another thing I’ve picked up on is drinking absinthe while writing. Can’t speak to the rumors about hallucinations but it definitely inspires creativity.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Just getting out of my head and writing the material. I can be notorious for constantly rewriting a paragraph or 3-5 pages of a script for hours. I have an idea of the story I want to tell, but once I get in front of the computer, ‘edit mode’ kicks in. I constantly have to remind myself to write the first draft from my heart and the second draft from my head. Procrastination is also a problem, as I’m sure it is for a lot of writers. I’m not nearly as bad as I used to be, but back in the day I was terrible. Lately, I just have to remind myself that I can be a good writer and produce quality material because I’ve always had a tendency to second guess myself.
Thank you, Larry, for your insight and advice. We all wish you continued success!!
Larry has published two e-books on amazon.com.
Want to contact Larry? Check out his blog, LazarusInfinity, which is full of interesting articles and great stories. You can also find him on the following sites: