I’m Gonna Be In Movies… Not!

As I’ve said in this space before, I have two book projects waiting in the wings that will be shopped to print publishers. One is a science fiction novel that already has a preliminary outline. I suspect there will be two more passes on that before I tackle the first draft later this year. The other is a police thriller I’ve attempted before, then put aside when the story threatened to end at about 45,000 words.  I’ve revisited it a couple of times, was happy with the last 10% of the story or so, but never liked all that middle part.

It’s the current project I’m working on during weekends, and I’ve decided to go back to the story’s origins. I originally decided to write this when a television writer I knew suggested writing a spec script to a show he was working on. Since it was still in the pilot phase, I had to come up with something completely original. I had some of the specifics of the story sketched out and thought it would make a decent TV movie if anything. By the time I’d started my original outline, the pilot had been burned off.

I’ve since fallen out of touch with that guy, but the challenge of writing a screenplay remained. I don’t plan to shop the screenplay. Too many television and film writers have told me too many horror stories about Hollywood for me to be even remotely interested in dealing with that batch of egos. (That said, if JJ Abrams called me tomorrow and said, “Hey, Jim, you used to be into Star Trek. How about giving us five scripts for a new series,” I’d be on Kayak.com booking plane to LA and hotel in Beverly before JJ finished.) But screenwriting is different from novels and short stories. In a screenplay, you’re forced to tell the story through action and dialog. In a way, it makes it the perfect outline for a novel, because you have to tell a complete story, but you don’t give it its complete prose.

I don’t know if this will work or not, but the idea of writing a story for film, then adapting it for a novel sounds too good not to try.


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