Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I dood it.

"Inherent Flaws" is now in official first draft and sent off to the guy whose story I'm using for it, for comment. 301 typed pages; 68,000+ words. And I still think I skated over some bits that need to be fleshed out more to make it work. But we'll see what sort of feedback I get from him. He may send somebody up from NYC with a pair of cement boots.

I don't like ghost writing much. Or working under restrictions of any kind. When I did the screenplay adaptation for Beryl Markham's story, I bounced back and forth between two different books and the only complaint the women I did it for had was that it was too long. So I trimmed it by 35 pages (mainly by streamlining my format and removing some redundancies) and it won best adapted screenplay at Worldfest Houston. I have the certificate on my wall. I think it would've made a great film if they hadn't lost the rights to Sydney Pollack, and he'd refused to even read my script. (Yes, I'm capable of bitter.)

I collaborated on another script with a writer who then became an agent...and who refused to represent me because her partner didn't like my writing style. We reworked a script about how a town bully is killed in front of a crowd of people and "nobody saw anything." It wasn't the greatest experience (or even my best script, not by a long shot) because the producers HATED what we did -- making the female reporter who was the lead someone capable of leading instead of a woman in need of being saved by a man. (Guess which gender the producers were.)

Turned out all they wanted was for us to polish the script up. Problem was, an MOW had come out a  year earlier that told the exact same story in almost the exact same fashion, so we'd done our best to differentiate between the two. Didn't go over well, at all.

Oh, and there was another time I adapted a play into a screenplay for a friend of mine, about 3 women in a rehab facility for criminals. The play was okay but the playwright had missed so many opportunities to make the women's characters more meaningful and relative to each other while not bothering to make them seem like real individuals, it surprised me.

For example -- one upper-crust lady had this perfume she was slavish about using after her nearly obsessive showers. She winds up hanging herself in the shower, which seemed totally out of character for her, to me. So I emphasized the perfume by putting it in a Lalique bottle, and when she kills herself, I had her smash the beautiful cap and use the jagged glass to slice up her arm as she stands in the steaming water. Granted, it's easier to show that on film than on-stage, but you could still get a much better emotional impact than just having someone open the bathroom door and go, "Uh-oh."

At least, that's how I saw it. And the only comment I got back was, "He made it more meaningful." But on that one, the playwright decided he wanted a lot of money for the rights. Seems my friend and his partner hadn't bothered to secure those before he asked me to rework the script.

There've been other occasions where I've had my writing criticized when I reworked someone else's script. Maybe that's why I'm better off writing novels from my own stories. I can do whatever I damn well want to and if no publisher will go for it, I can self-publish. And I've become arrogant enough to think my way is the best way to tell the story.

Guess we'll see.

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