profile

Simmons Says

Hi, Alex Simmons here. I've taught 100s of aspiring and struggling writers how to overcome their fears and frustrations and create compelling plots, characters, and stories that appeal to a broader audience. Over the years, I've been honored to be a professional author (award-winner), writing coach/teacher, and consultant. I’ve written for many mainstream publishers, Marvel/DC/Archie Comics, and penned plays, interactive games, and video and animation scripts. And I’ve been a global speaker on empowering people through the arts. I have much to share, starting with my Simmons Says Newsletter.

Featured Post

"What Inspires?" Books, Comics, Films, Or Social Injustice?” (Simmons Says #172)

Welcome to my newsletter! WHAT FILLS OUR CHILDHOOD MINDS? And does it influence us still? Greetings, Reader, Did you ever ask yourself that question? Do you still remember the things you discovered when you were young? Do you recall the dreams you had? What filled your childhood days of play? By the time I was ten, I’d become I'd filled countless hours with cartoons and comic books, TV shows, and a few movies. And my fevered imagination was on fire almost 24/7. It kept me from being bored or...

Welcome to my newsletter! How Much Power Do Our Stories Have Over Our Audience? Greetings, Reader, This will be more editorial than my usual instructive or writing tips scenario. It's more of an observation about the relationships of stories and characters with their audience. Again, as writers and creatives, that's what we do. We observe life and participate in it. But I have noticed that we're becoming quite visceral in terms of the human experience. As the years have passed, we have become...

Welcome to my newsletter! The game's afoot! CSI is on the scene, and you're a lead detective. Or ... You're standing in the shadows, watching the police fumble about clues. Somehow, the safe's been cracked. Was the combination used? But no one knew the combination. And who was the dead man found in the vault? Greetings, Reader, No matter how you look at this as the sleuth charged with unraveling the mystery, where do you start? As a writer, in order to know what the detective must seek and...

Welcome to my newsletter! Hey, Reader, I've got a lot to say today. First. You can write a taunt mystery thriller with cold-blooded culprits, brain-busting clues, and a climax no one saw coming … If you get out of your own way. What the heck! Okay, before you start (or finish) saying things about my ancestry or calling me names under your breath, let me explain. You are among the ranks of thousands of other writers on this planet who have, without knowing it, struggled to write the stories...

Welcome to my newsletter! Hey, Reader, Writing a good mystery is definitely about the crime, the victim, the sleuth, and the clues. But it's about one more thing. It's about something almost as tangible as the other elements I mentioned, yet it sneaks up on you often slowly, often unseen. It’s sensed more than touched. It’s something that by the time you realize it's fully with you, it's too late to do anything about it. I'm talking about suspense. That element that has you gripping the edge...

Welcome to my newsletter! Hey, Reader, A good story is more than words and action. It’s also what the story is trying to say about the subject. That’s known as THEME. It's also about the GENRE you choose as the House for your story. Or sometimes, as your story chooses for itself. Let’s take this in two parts. Many consider the THEME to be a story's basic moral or message. It’s often the writer’s point of view or the subject they choose to explore. Either way, you use the characters and...

Welcome to my newsletter! Here's a question for you, Reader... "What or who determines our writer's voice?" In the early 50s, books and films reflected society in the aftermath of WW 2. From the late 50s into the 60s, with Russia’s Sputnik and the US Space program in the air, aliens and radiation became popular topics. It was the Atomic Age. After all, we had dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And thus, radiation became a much more familiar word in common Society.That time...

Welcome to my newsletter! The Other Secret Identity Hey, Reader: The whole purpose of a mask is to hide your true face; actually or metaphysically. In acting, it's to convey a convincing portrait of a personality, not your own. Sometimes, the actor adds elements of their life experience to add authenticity to the role. Maybe the actor has lived out some part of the fictional character’s trauma and thus knows it all too well. And that knowledge is what makes the whole film more believable....

Welcome to my newsletter! The Blind Alley Kids. Hey, Reader I know it's a weak title. I can't even say that this was an homage to the Dead End Kids or the Bowery Boy movies I watched as a young person. It was more of a straight rip-off. But it wasn't me trying to write some stories and using this title to sell and get paid. Instead, I came up with this when I was still a teenager, running around the streets of New York City with my friends Michael and Angel. We were into making home movies in...

Welcome to my newsletter! How To Craft Intriguing Mystery, Suspense, & Crime Thrillers Greetings, fellow mystery lovers, Reader, Assuming you are one. I’ve been teaching my latest "... Write The Crime" master class in writing mysteries, and I've been having a blast. The event is where we delve into the art of creating compelling narratives intended to keep readers on the edge of their seats. During the first two days, we explored different ways of building the structure for your crime...