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Pat Ritter. Books

Postby Nevis » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:40 pm


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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:41 pm

My ambitions to be a writer probably started in my teens. You may remember we wrote 'compositions' at school consisting of a beginning, a middle and a end. Not much different today.

In 1964 I was a student at Sandgate High School, a beachside suburb north of Brisbane. Our English teacher Mr Imoff. I remember we wrote a story about a topic he gave us. I never understood English. I understood the meaning of a 'noun' and 'verb' but the other learnings were almost non-existant. I wanted to write my way.

After he gave us a topic, I wrote what I thought I should write, in my own words, about the topic. After we handed the pieces of writing to him, he came to me and said, 'you have a gift for writing. You write the way you speak which is unique.'

I didn't know if he was praising my writing or telling me I needed have to learn English. Anyway, this was my initial introduction to becoming a writer. Looking back at the time I wish he would've explained more his reason for sharing this 'gift' with me.

Jump ahead twenty years. I joined the Queensland Police Service (Force as it was known then) and introduced to report writing. This was a leap into the unknown. Over the years I gained confidence in my writing by practicing various styles of report writing and reading as many as possible reports furnished by more experienced officers.

Tomorrow I'll share with you how I came to write my first book.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby Nevis » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:23 pm

Hello Pat.
Good to hear from you. I can't wait for your next post :thunbsup Welcome aboard buddy :scarf :-D

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:14 pm

Nevis wrote:Hello Pat.
Good to hear from you. I can't wait for your next post :thunbsup Welcome aboard buddy :scarf :-D


Thank you Nevis - it's my pleasure.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:20 pm

After nine years working as a detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch I was promoted to the rank of Detective Sergeant Second Class and took up a position of Officer-in-charge at Juvenile Aid Bureau Petrie, a Brisbane northern surburb. The Juvenile Aid Bureau was a section of the police which deal only with juvenile offenders (children aged up to 17 years old).

One of the constant reports coming to the Juvenile Aid Bureau was 'teenage children running away from home'. Having a personality as a 'rescuer' I wanted to find out 'why' these teenage children ran away from home. I didn't have any answers. It concerned me greatly because of the danger to the teenager when they were absent from home.

After receiving negative results from my superiors, I decided to find a solution. Isn't life strange. I had no idea on how I was to find a solution to this important issue. It was important to me.

At the time because of the level of management with my role I decided to enrol at the local TAFE and study a management course. This was a step of fate into the unknown.

The day I went to the college to enrol I met a lecturer, Bob O'Sullivan who taught management subjects. How was that for fate. And people say things happen for a reason. I agree.

Anyway I enrolled in Bob's class of 'Behaviour'. It's a subject dealing with communication, conflict, problem solving, and resolutions. Part of the course was to attend a weekend workshop.

After the first day of the weekend workshop I returned to work to do the afternoon shift. I received a telephone call from a concerned mother about her daughter stealing money from home. The caller didn't know what to do.

We spoke for an hour and I shared the learnings of communication I'd learnt earlier that day at the workshop. I suggested she sit at the kitchen table and 'put her cards on the table and speak to her daughter about the stolen money'. She claimed it was hard because her mother never spoke to her and she didn't know how to.

Wait until tomorrow and I'll share with you the outcome of how this mother and daughter resolved their differences.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:51 pm

Yesterday I spoke about sharing information with a concerned mother to help her communicate with her teenage child. I asked her to 'put her cards' on the table.

Next day I attended the second day of the workshop and returned to work that afternoon. I received a telephone call from the same caller. She told me she and her daughter took my advice and spoke honestly and openly about their issue. It turned out the daughter wanted to be part of the group at school and to do this she needed money.

Her mother explained their financial position the family were in and mother and daughter resolved their differences. My heart swelled with pride to know I'd been a small cog in a very large wheel to help this family. I couldn't wait to share my news with Bob at our next class however it would be five weeks before we again attended class.

In the meantime Bob wanted the class to write an assignment (before known as compositions) 'What we learnt from the weekend workshop'. I wrote as I saw it and completed the assignment of 3000 words in no time. The words spilled from my mind like a fountain of knowledge. I let the thoughts run onto the paper telling the story as I wanted to in my own way.

The thought of helping this mother and daughter kept running through my mind. I made a decision. In a group meeting I expressed my plan to the three other detectives. My plan being from that moment onward I would deal personally with all children who 'ran away from home'. Each agreed and were pleased to have me do the job myself.

To carry out my plan I secured an office with no telephone only having a desk and four chairs. The first parent and teenager who presented to me was a mother and her teenage daughter. The mother worked as a nurse and the daughter had 'run away from home' because she didn't want to live with her mother any longer.

I placed the teenager beside me and her mother across the desk to use the desk as a barrier. First the mother gave her version of events and after she told her story, it was the daughter's turn to speak. By having the teenage child sit next to me gave the child a feeling of security to speak her mind.

Again the communication skills Bob had taught us at the weekend workshop came into play. After both parties expressed their frustrations I explained strategies on what I'd learned at the workshop. Both agreed to listen to the other and to be honest in their approach.

Nothing would make me more proud than when I saw both mother and daughter hug and kiss each other almost crying with relief. My throat thickened and I felt a tear in my eye to see the mother and daughter came to a resolution.

Wait until tomorrow when I'll share with you Bob's response.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby Nevis » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:51 pm

:thunbsup
You have me hooked now :wink :clap

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby aussiewoo » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:23 pm

I'm hooked too now, especially as Bob is writing about my home town :clap

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:06 pm

Thank you both - there's more to come.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:36 pm

Before I attended college to share with Bob what I'd been doing, work increased to an average of two to three sessions per day. With each session I appreciated the difficult role parents had with their teenage child. It wasn't easy.

After the first week it was obvious parents wanted me to wave a magic wand to stop their child from misbehaving. Alas, I didn't have a magic wand. Instead I understood parents needed to become aware and educated in the skill of communicating with their teenage child. A bit like King Arthur and his Knights communicating at the round table. I often used this analogy as an example for parents to use.

Did you know parents only speak with their teenage child - mate to mate - only ten minutes per week. Yes, only ten minutes per week. There was much work to do.

One story folded into another and after listening to the first dozen parent-teenager sessions I discovered the lack of communication skills by parents. They didn't have the skills to sit down with their teenager and actually share their thoughts and knowledge and feelings with their teenage child. They'd forgotten they were teenagers themselves at one time.

At the session when this point of view was raised I always asked the parent, 'what did you do when you were your child's age?'' They always told me they also couldn't talk with their parent because they didn't know how to speak with them. The child didn't realise their parent was once a teenager and thought their parent had become an instant parent without growing through the stage of being a teenager like what they were doing.

These sessions highlighted the issue of 'running away from home' more important than I'd first discovered. It became a passion to me to learn more about this subject Bob was teaching us. I might add here Bob was one of the best Instructors I'd ever met and his manner of teaching was beyond reproach to provide the tools to his students so they would search for their own answers. I am pleased I met Bob that day when I enrolled at the college.

Unfortuntely until the 27th of this month I will be on holidays. May I wish everyone who reads this a Very Merry Christmas and I'll be back. Thank you for all the continued support.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:41 am

At long last I never thought attending college would be so gratifying. I wanted to learn more about the subject 'Behaviour'. The first night we handed our assignments to Bob. Before we did I asked a fellow student if I could read what they'd written.

I was surprised to see the assignment was set out in headings. Each heading gave a definition of the heading and went on to describe what they learned at the workshop. I didn't write my assignment in that format and thought insistantly to withhold mine. In the end I handed it to Bob. I'd written it similar to telling a story and as a conclusion included the story of helping the mother and daughter with their issue of the child taking money from home.

A week later Bob handed back the assignments after scoring them. I didn't receive mine. Hello, I thought, just as I'd imagined - it wasn't good enough. During a break in the class Bob came to talk to me. Í couldn't put your assignment down. I read it over and over.'

'Was it that bad.' I replied.

'No - what I wanted to ask you is, can we keep it as an example of what to expect from this subject. It's a dry subject and together with your metophors we want to use it as a example to other students.'

Óf course - what score did I get.'

Ánother thing - you have a gift, you write the way you speak, which is unique.'
When I heard these words expressed from Bob's mouth, an insist reminder travelled back to when Mr Imoff told me exactly the same words. Mr Imoff and Bob never knew one another.

Tomorrow I'll tell you how Bob and I started working together to write a book - what a story.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:16 pm

After hearing these words from Bob about my writing and knowing this is the second person who had told me a similar statement, I continued to not understand how I had this 'gift', you write the way you speak and this is unique, they each told me.

Time went on and work with parents and their teenage children grew at a rapid rate, in that, I had to have an appointment book. Parents came from far away as Kilcoy and Burpengary to see me. Word spread like wildfire.

I felt great discovering how to help parents and their teenager with issues of communication, motivation, self-esteem and goal setting. I loved the work and 90% of my time was spent on mediating instead of my usual role of investigating juvenile crime. The other three detectives were doing just fine.

After a class at college one evening Bob asked if I could stay behind, he wanted to speak with me. To my surprise he wanted to write a book about what I was doing.

To say I was gobsmacked would be an understatement. After a lot of persuasion by Bob, I agreed. Our agreement was after I finished speaking with a parent and their teenager, I wrote a story about what I'd done coupled with the outcome. Names were never included. This was the practical side and Bob wrote the theory so both practical and theory dovetailed together to make a book. It'll only take six weeks, he told me.

Wait until tomorrow and I'll share with you our story of how we co-authored our first book.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:10 pm

Before Bob and I could set into place a book on the work I was doing, first I needed to apply to the Commissioner of Police for permission to write the book. After a lengthy delay I was finally given approval on the condition that before the book was published it needed to be approved by the Inspector-in-charge of Juvenile Aid Bureau and the legal section of the department.

Talk about synergy between Bob and I. Each night I attended college I'd hand him a story I'd written and he in-turn handed me a theory, he'd written. You wouldn't believe how our minds worked as one. The first night I handed him a story of a young girl who lacked motivation and 'ran away from home'. Her self-esteem was lower than the floor in the office. In turn Bob handed me the theory on 'motivation'. Neither of us knew what we were going to write about but each night each shared a similar story. It was incredible.

Instead of taking six weeks to write the book; it went into the first year before we had the first draft completed. In those days we didn't have computers and typed the story on foolcap size paper. The first draft was one inch thick and the length of foolcap paper. I had forty copies printed. Twenty for Bob and the same for me.

To measure what our peers thought of the idea we each handed out copies to them for their comments. Out of the twenty copies I handed to my peers there was one person who returned it with comments. When I approached the others their comments were, 'Tex, this is your thing, I'm not interested.'

At the time I built a tortoise shell around my ego for had I not at that stage my writing career would have stopped there and then. My belief and passion to be able to help parents improve communication with their teenage child drove me onwards to succeed. I was never going to give up my dream.

Bob gave a name to the book at that time 'The Missing Link'. The name didn't resonate with me and it would be another twelve months when I joined my two hands together with the name shot into my head - 'Closing The Gap'.

Wait until tomorrow and I'll share with you how we published 'Closing The Gap'

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby patritter » Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:05 pm

One year went into the next and eventually we completed the second draft of the book. I again had forty copies printed, twenty for Bob and twenty for myself to hand out to people to receive their feedback. We decided not to hand the book to our peers like we did previously, only to the one person who went to the trouble of actually reading the manuscript and writing comments would receive one.

One night by accident I handed a second draft to a parent of a teenage child I finished mediating with. She had defied her parents after being grounded and snuck out of her bedroom. Unfortunately she wrote her night's entainment in her diary which her mother subsequently found.

To solve the solution to the young girl's issue of wanting to go to the city on a Saturday night, I suggested to the parents they might take her and have an icecream at McDonald's. Anyway, after I completed the session I handed a second draft of the manuscript to the child's mother and asked if she would like to read it and give me feedback.

Early the next morning she was waiting for me when I arrived at work. She wanted to keep the second draft and told me this was a book needed for parents. My heart swelled with glee to hear these words. At last we found the direction we were travelling. The book was needed for parents and not our peers.

Wait until tomorrow to read about how 'Closing The Gap' was published.

This is my last entry for 2011. I'll be back on 3/1/2012. I sincerely wish all of the readers a Happy New Year and I look forward to continuing my story next year.

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Re: Pat Ritter. Books

Postby Nevis » Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:55 pm

Pat. You have a way with words. You remind me of Dickens. My favourite author. No holds barred and no avenue unexplored. :thanks

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