Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Nibble on the Novel

After years of trying, on and off, to sell my novel to someone,       I suddenly have a sign of interest  -- and not from a publisher or agent. It’s from a movie-making company.

It happened more or less accidentally, the only way it could happen. The description of one of the writing assignment I bid for had the throwaway line at the end, ”We’re always looking for movie scripts.” I told them I had a novel, but if they’d like to make it into a movie I wouldn’t object.

As the novel had languished over the years, I had considered trying to convert it to other formats. I'd thought about a comic strip, but the problem there was that comic strips go on -- sometimes for years -- but my story had an ending.

After that I thought about a photonovella and tried the idea out on some graphics-type friends. That ran into a different kind of problem: these guys are so visually oriented I couldn't get them to read enough of it to see the potential. "Too many words." 

So, no luck with novel, comic strip, or photonovella; what was left? MOVIES!

To my surprise, my half-joking offer drew a response. I fired a synopsis off to the fellow who contacted me, a man named Victor (a good sign) with a rhyming last name (even better). 

Still better, I had long ago written a “cast of characters” for the novel describing the players and how I envisioned them. I’d never had occasion to use it before, but it seemed just right for a pitch to a movie-maker. All in all it wasn’t a professional package, and it’s not even a script, but I had to take the shot.

To my even greater surprise, I next received an email saying the material I sent would be read within a day or two and I would hear back almost immediately. Wow. That kind of speed and businesslike approach is unheard of in the freelance game. It’s enough to start you wondering if you're onto something really great or being drawn into some kind of scam.   

Abandoning myself to optimism -- I'm assuming it will take some doing to turn the novel into something you can make a movie with; it’s written first person and there’s a lot of what I guess you’d call ”internal dialog,” where the narrator is thinking things to himself. Not the best material for the silver screen. 

So I suppose much of my job, when they buy, will be to translate the internal stuff into dialog you can hear, or into action. I haven’t done that kind of work before, but I’ve been really close to the novel’s characters for a long time; I think they'll say and do the right things if I ask them