Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rewriting Wrongs

There are days when I wonder what the hell it is I do to attract the crazies. Maybe it’s my kindly smile and gentle demeanour. Or not.

I reread the Designated Author’s email, railing at the fact that she was being dropped from ‘writing’ the trilogy of books. Obviously I’m not happy about it either. But it was her final sentence that troubled me more.

Unless I’m misinterpreting her, and sometimes that’s an incredibly easy thing to do, the Designated Author is looking to resurrect a project of her own that she waved in front of me earlier this year. Oh dear.

It began as an idea pitched to US producers who were interested right up until the point she delivered the pilot script. Reading it, it was easy to see why. Which is what I didn’t get.

This was from someone who had played a lead in a long-running television series. Well over one hundred scripts had passed through her hands. In all that time hadn’t she paid the slightest attention to the words on the page? Well, the answer to that had to be a blindingly obvious NO!

Instead, the Designated Author had embraced the LA Actor role wholeheartedly and signed up for the full B&B – booze and blow – so everything went in one ear, rattled around for a while, and then went right out the other. (Which is the only viable excuse I can think of).

Her idea now was to pull the festering idea for the television series out of the dumpster, give it a hose down, and turn it into a series of novels. Easier said than done, I thought, based on what I had read. But I said I’d take a look and see what could be done to make it work.

On the journey, I had scribbled notes down the margins of the outline, establishing the non-existent character’s back-stories and motivations.

Of the three central characters, two go off on their ‘adventure’, while one stays behind because of other commitments. I suggested the character that opts out gets taken along for the ride by accident. No way of getting back home until it’s over, suddenly we have some added dramatic tension.

As for the plot itself, that proved a little more difficult because it involves dumb science along with a healthy dollop of hippie-dippie New Age bullshit. Which meant I either had to figure out how to stop it being dumb or disguise it enough that the reader wouldn’t notice.

With that main hurdle still to overcome, I managed to add a couple of smaller obstacles into the narrative that makes the protagonists’ lives more difficult. Her response: The two characters shouldn’t be childhood friends (which they were in the script). Oh, okay. And that was the least stupid one. The rest made me want to introduce her to my own B&B: boltgun and blowtorch! Especially when, after reading the character histories, she decided the book would lose momentum if we began with their childhoods. What?

Luckily, she went off to appear in some indie film. I got on with whatever it was I was getting on with at the time. I’d be happy to forget it ever happened. Except...

Making notes, I wrote down the opening line:

Emma always said it started with the book, but for Kris it began when she saw the leaves turn red.

And I'm still intrigued to see where it could lead.

In the meantime, I'm still undecided about whether to circumvent the Designated Author altogether, and go straight to the source to get the writing gig on the final two books of this proposed trilogy. For now, perhaps, it’s better to bide my time and wait and see what news the publisher passes along.

Just because I wrote the first book, it doesn’t mean I automatically deserve to get a shot at the rest. And my action could queer any other possibilities. You think?


At 10:18 am, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

Nah, death or glory, old son.

Get in there and see what progress you can make building a bridge to you-know-who. Maybe there's someone in the blogosphere who might help?

As for the "sexy as hell neoprene" stories, I'd say take your first line, change the names, and write. See where it takes you without the mumbo-jumbo rubbish, vortexes and such.

You know you're eminently capable of turning it into something readable, and I'd rather read what comes out of your head than hers.

Any day of the week. ;-)

PS. The letter sequence for this post was wwhoa. Neat, huh?


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