Writing Fundamentals With Andrew Neiderman, aka V.C. Andrews

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© Andrew Neiderman

Carrie De Simas

Editor in Chief @ GoneWithTheWord

He has been called “The Most Successful Ghost Writer in American Literary History.”

Andrew Neiderman is the author of more than 40 books in his own name, arguably the most famous of which is The Devil’s Advocate, which was made into a film starring Al Pacino, Keanu Reaves and Charlize Theron.

It is almost unbelievable that amidst all the international success of books published in his own name, he has also been the ghostwriter for the V.C. Andrews franchise for more than 25 years.

How has he managed to create such successful novels? Neiderman offers three main writing tips for authors:

Tip #1: The Premise

AN: “I always begin with a what if question…what if this happened; what if that, but the question isn’t enough even though it might be intriguing.”

For example, what if someone’s blood held the cure for cancer? And what if a mobster with cancer found out about it? (Neiderman’s The Magic Bullet)

Tip #2: Characters 

AN: “Characters make your story. You need a strong, complex character to drive your plot. First establish him or her and then the action should follow in character and the story has a life of its own.”

For example, a New York City architect who develops amnesia and returns to what he believes is his wife and child makes a shocking discovery: he might be someone else. (Neiderman’s Amnesia)

Most writers understand and embrace the importance of plot and characters. So what sets Neiderman apart?

Tip #3: Credibility

AN: “Always consider credibility, but don’t back away from events that on the surface seem impossible to be true. Case in point is Flowers In The Attic…at one point, believing four children could be locked away for over three years seemed incredible, but then we have reality as evidenced recently with the three women held for over ten years in a small home. Provide the motivation and the credibility will follow.”

In V.C. Andrews’ The Kindred Series, the vampire protagonists follow some recognizably human motivations. In these books, young women are raised to manipulate and seduce men for their own gainful purposes. (Tabloids call a version of this archetype a gold-digger!) Or the series’ other theme is that of the young vampire heroine who falls in love and must defy her family to follow her heart. Vampire or human, this is a classic theme.

How about V.C. Andrews’ The Delia Series? Most of us are not orphaned Mexican girls whose family is considered highfalutin, nor do we hobnob with murder suspects and politicians. However, most people can relate—either directly or indirectly—to feeling like an outsider, being bullied and being ostracized. 

Premise. Character. Credibility. Keep it simple and make it your own. 

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