Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Friday, November 1, 2013


Why do I write? I don't have a single answer. I write stories I want to read. I write to blast my anger out. I write to surround myself with people I want to know, even if I don't necessarily like them. I write to fulfill some outer desire. And inner need. And have fun. And see what I can do. And touch my own emotions. All of that and more.

But the main impetus behind my writing is the characters who trust me with their stories. They come to me and ask me to work with them, and I want to honor that trust. Sometimes I've let them down, and that actually hurts me as well as them. Sometimes we squabble or even have knock-down-drag-out fights. Sometimes I'm scared of where they want to take me...and fascinated. But no matter what happens, I want to do right by them.

That may be why my screenplays don't sell. I know actors love my scripts; I had several of them done in cold readings, in a writer's group I belonged to, and sometimes they'd jockey to be cast by me when it was my turn to be heard. A couple even said it was because they have people to play in them, and they wanted to know what happened to their characters. Which helps keep the monster of depression at bay when my work gets ripped.

Because it seems no one else gets them, especially coverage people. What they find when they read my work is a script that doesn't follow the format very well. That sometimes dwells on things that would be cast aside by a hard-assed editor, so why bother putting it in? So I get harsh coverage and cast aside.

I've harped on this before, but the epitome of how out of sync I am with Hollywood's style of moviemaking is Seven Samurai. I watched Robert Osborne, the host, and Rose McGowan complain about how long it was, at times, when it played on TCM, once. They actually said, "Okay, I got it, let's cut to the chase." And felt it could have been trimmed by an hour. But I think it's perfectly timed.

I feel the same way about Grand Illusion. One of my film professors, in college, actually told me the film could have dropped the last act and been just as good, and I argued with him. To me, the last act is what took the film into poetry. He couldn't see it.

Looking at the movies I'll watch over and over and over and the books I love, none of them tell their stories at a breakneck pace or with extremely tight structures. They aren't static, but they allow moments and entire scenes that serve no more purpose than to expand character. Human beings are their focus, not plot or pacing.

I guess that's why I was doomed to failure as a screenwriter, and why some people hate my books -- I can't (not won't, can't) fit my stories into a cookie-cutter style. I've tried, and I turn out crap which doesn't go anywhere, either. So why do it?

What this all means, I guess, is...well...Carli Kills is going to be a interesting journey. Because I'm not going to hold anything back. Nor am I aiming for any particular genre. I can see horror and thriller and erotica and romance and suspense and action and revenge and spirituality all mingling in.

Guess I'm doomed not to sell many of this one, either...but who gives a fuck?


MAC said...

There are very few that can say they do what they love.

JamTheCat said...

But you're one, it looks like.