Adaptations and Novelizations…

I am a film lover.

If I’ve got a couple of hours to chill before picking up the little man from school and I can’t get my head into ‘writing mode’ then the chances are I’ll stick on a movie. I love the anticipation of having a new DVD on hand, one that’s got a favorite actor involved or a recommendation from someone who’s judgment I trust (not everybody has good taste in films, believe me, how else do you explain Battleship, Harold and Kumar, etc.), or even just putting my feet up in front of a good movie that I’ve already seen, maybe just a couple of weeks before.

I am a film lover.

In fact, before I published my novels, I was writing screenplays. Get Clean, my first published novel was indeed a script before I changed the format. Why the novelization? I hear you ask. Well, for any writers out there who have decided against going the self-publishing route, but still haven’t managed to find someone to publish your manuscript, or even an agent to represent you and your work, it is a hundred times harder to get lucky with a film script.

We’ve all had the letters of rejection… ‘It’s a good piece of work but we’re not sure that we’d be able to place it’, ‘it’s interesting but it’s not the right time for such a book’, ‘it’s too long’, ‘it’s too short’, ‘we have to wait until the planets of the solar system are all aligned in alphabetical order before we can consider taking on any more clients’ or some such nonsense. Bottom line, an agent needs to find a publisher with enough cash or big enough balls to run a print and maybe even put some cash in for marketing. It’s not that big a deal, really, if you think about it.

So how about getting a film made? If we are thinking big, which we are (we want to be successful right?), then for a film to be made, a budget of millions will need to be put into place by producers who not only believe in the screenplay, but who want only the best cast and crew committed to working with that script. Getting financed, and bringing together a quality cast (even if we forget the quality), a trained crew with equipment and the locations booked (another cost, also bringing logistical problems into the frame) for filming is a nightmare.  Films can take years to make for these very reasons.

The good news is, as a writer, most of those problems are nothing to do with me. I want to sell my script, someone else can do the rest, and I’ll sit back with a bucket of popcorn and enjoy the fruits of my labour (however much of it remains recognizable after the director has had his way with it). But as we know, selling a script is difficult, like books also, but the levels of difficulty are miles apart.
I’ve started selling my self-published novels with a clear goal – One day, I want to sell the movie rights to my first novel, Get Clean. I want to watch that story play out on the big screen. Now the chances of that happening are very, very slim. I’m not delusional; I understand that the odds are still stacked against me. But now, at the very least, I have people out there reading my work, talking about my stories, leaving reviews and recommending both of my books to friends or relatives (maybe not so much the relatives, due to the high levels of violence, drug abuse and sex involved, that might well be a little awkward).

My books are accessible to anyone with a computer and a passion for reading. So how does that help me? Here is my logic…

Even if my books don’t luckily fall into the hands of some rich executive producer or director looking for his or her next project, I am selling units. No, I am not at the top of the charts, but I am slowly making progress with regards to the number of people who have willingly bought my novels with their hard earned cash.

So what?

Well, the next time I approach an agent, or a producer or director with my work (maybe it’ll be in the form of a screenplay, maybe it’ll be in the form of a paperback which people are also currently buying) I’ll be able to say it is selling. I’ll be able to show that people are into my work with statistics, people are buying it, and people are leaving positive reviews. And also, importantly, I’ll be able to say that I’ve sold however many units (obviously the more the better at this point, clearly I won’t be doing this sales pitch just yet!) and the sales haven’t stopped.  At some point in the future, I’ll be able to prove that my novel or my script has marketability, because it has already been done. And that is a much more enticing prospect to investors of time and money.

If I hadn’t of gone down this road, the script for Get Clean would still be sitting in a drawer and the file version tucked away in a forgotten folder somewhere on an old hard drive. Slowly, I am taking steps in the right direction, that dream is becoming more realistic with every purchase that is made.

I’m not holding my breath for things to take off, but at least I’m moving forward with a plan of action.
Many movies that we watch today are adaptations from novels; I’m hoping that one of those that we see in the future will be an adaptation of my novel, the one that started as a novelization of a movie script.

Peace.

My YouTube channel – http://hyperurl.co/JamesRossYouTube
My fiction writing is available here – http://amzn.to/2nw1G4t

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Q&A session – Questions: Natasha Johnstone – Answers: James Ross

The gorgeous Natasha Johnstone (married, boo! hiss!), who you can find at this website, recently put me under the spotlight and refused to let me go until I answered her questions. That’s why I’ve been away for a couple of weeks, I’m stubborn. Anyway, she gave me a copy of the transcript when she booted me out and told me not to tell anyone, clearly I just can’t be trusted… But you knew that.

1) Why did you decide on a pen name like Jams N Roses?

A while ago, when toying with the idea of setting up a website to showcase some screenplays that I’d done, I typed in JamesRoss.com (my real name) and discovered the domain name was already taken… by an author! Further investigation led me to find another two James Ross’ who put pen to paper, so an anagram of my name (and a borrowed N) had to do.

2) What do you do when you have writer’s block?

Scream. Shout. Throw things. Sleep (have nightmares). Lift weights (light ones). Promise myself that I’ll never try to write again. No, seriously, there is no one answer for that one. I would say, that leaving your work at the point you are blocked, and then coming back to it after a sleep, or anything else that takes your mind of it, can be the best thing to do. After wasting an hour or so writing next to nothing, I’ve gone back to the computer after a good sleep and carried on as if there was never a problem – struggling to even remember what the problem was, the night before.

3) If you could meet any person in the world, who would that be?

It would have been Christopher Hitchens, if he hadn’t passed away, of course. The guy was a legend in my eyes; super intelligent, quick-witted and not too timid to point out the wrong-doers in the world. There are many people alive who know much more than I do, so I’d be happy to meet anyone who could broaden my mind and open my eyes, that sort of thing. They wouldn’t have to be famous, just knowledgeable, honest and kind.

4) If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

The USA. Why? I’ve always had something in me that wanted to know more about America. It’s a major player on the world stage, and compared to other parts of the world, can be classed as peaceful. The variety over there also shouldn’t be ignored. It isn’t just the easy option either, because it is English-speaking, if that’s what you think! I’ve lived in Spain, I live in France now; I’m not scared of language barriers! I can just honestly say that America appeals to me.

5) Tell the readers something they don’t know about you?

I’m writing this whilst wearing only my boxer shorts. Seriously, it is uncomfortably hot in the south of France at the moment. The wind isn’t blowing at all and technical difficulties mean there isn’t a functioning fan in the Jams N. Roses household.

6) Who would play your characters in the movie version of your book?

I couldn’t tell you. I’ve thought about this question many times, probably over thought it, and still got no closer to who would play who. I’d leave that to the professionals. I had a guy talk to Ben Drew (Plan B) at one point, before he really blew up, to play the lead in Get Clean. Ben Drew is a star, but I thought he was too chubby to play a cocaine addict! Turns out he had bigger and better things to be doing anyway…

7) Who inspires you?

My son. Full stop. The little man, just being in my life, is the proverbial kick up the backside that I needed to get up and start doing things in my life. I owe him a lot, and have every intention in repaying him fully.

8) What was your journey to publishing like?

Long winded. I started out writing screenplays, and anyone in that game can tell you how hard it is to get noticed. I had good feedback, someone was interested in producing Get Clean, but funding fell through and that was the end of it. Amazon gave my writing a lifeline; it gave me the control I wanted in my writing, without having to satisfy the tastes of an agent or publishing house, not many of whom are keen to take a punt of a new name who writes in a brutally blunt fashion.

9) If you could give any advice to aspiring writers what would that be?

Sit down and write. Don’t stop writing until you’ve typed the last full stop and don’t think about going back over your work for at least a week. Then, you’ll see the obvious mistakes you’ve made, as well as general improvements you could make to every page.

10) Who is James Ross as a person?

I’m one of the good guys, a single dad, trying to make my way in a foreign country; doing battle with French bureaucracy and a crazy ex most days of my life. I’m an honest man, looking around and seeing the not-so-honest being rewarded for their shenanigans, wondering if lady luck will ever step in to relieve me of the struggle of the daily grind. I’m the one with his fingers crossed, which doesn’t always help, when I’m tapping the keys of my laptop, late into the night, hoping that my next book will be the one that takes off and changes the game.

Laters…