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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How I let my life write my novels…

My first published novel ‘Get Clean’ has had a few a sales now, a few good reviews and so far, as a new writer, things are going ok. I’m not breaking any records, but importantly, my books are getting read.

This means so much more to me than perhaps some other writers, as the story is heavily based on me and my experiences. Lots of what fills the pages comes directly from my life, whether it is the descriptions of my tattoos, or the break-up with my long-term girlfriend, or the loss of a child.

Of course, this is a fiction novel, and I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that my life is worthy of a book or a film to be made celebrating it, but I firmly believe that everybody has a little something in their life that’s worth writing down.

We are very interesting, us humans. We are smart and we are dumb, we are brave and scared and weak and strong, all at the same time.

Great stories are often given praise for their believable characters, which is a clear indication that although we love fiction, we want to be able to recognize at least a part of what we read, and this would tend to be the human side of things.

I feel in tune to this as I’m quite an emotional person, not that I’m going to break down in tears when writing this, but I am conscious of my feelings and like to think that I am compassionate to others around me. Again, these give me direct life experiences that I am able to translate into my stories, and because they are ideas or feelings that come from real life, they hold that air of believability.

For me, the emotional journey of a character, his inner motivations and conflicts, is just as important as his outer motivations and conflicts, meaning, ‘how is he coping with it all?’ is just as important to me as the ‘will he get to save the girl?’

My point is that for me, the plot aside, a story is really built up from the characters within it, and we all know enough people, or watch them on television, or read about them in newspapers to have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. The trick is to sift out the boring, and keep those characters that make you laugh, make you cry, keep you entertained or even offend you.

Yes, placing these characters into a plot that works is a skill that is learned and never mastered for most, but it is achievable. Writing a book isn’t easy, writing a good book is even more difficult. Nevertheless, we all have the ingredients to make something pretty special, and the type of life that you lead will clearly dictate as to what genre you write in, in my humble opinion.

After two crime related novels including tales of drug abuse, pain, deceit and murder, maybe things will change for the better in my life. Who knows, if I meet the right person, my next novel may even be a romance!

Buy ‘Get Clean’ here – http://amzn.to/102Y7nv

Buy ‘Son of a Serial Killer’ here – http://amzn.to/102XHxk

Extremely England – First draft complete!

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After finishing the first draft, as always, I’m thinking about how quickly I can get the latest project out there and in front of as many people as possible, so I can get some wonderful reviews and maybe even a super-fan who decides to stalk me, but that’s ok because she’s hot and experimental and that’s all good until she becomes a little too clingy and asks where I’m going every time I leave the house and then one day she locks me in and I have to escape when she’s sleeping one time and then I change country again.

So I’ve decided to let the new manuscript sit and stew for a few days, and to take my mind away from that plot and those characters before going in for the first edit.

However, that gave me a chance to play with the design for the front cover. I enjoy doing this, although I am not highly trained in graphic design. Saying that, the first two novels’ artwork turned out ok, in my opinion.

Above is my first attempt – What do you think? Any good? Terrible? Please let me know either way, and be honest, don’t worry about hurting my feelings (the chances of me hunting you down are slim to none as I am incredibly lazy).

The novella (too short for a novel, I won’t lie) is a satirical comedy, and I want the cover to reflect both the story and the mood of the narrative. I’ve also emailed an old friend of mine (a graphic designer) to see if he is available to produce something for me on my writer’s budget (£0) – If he doesn’t reply within a fortnight I’ll take that as a ‘no.’

So, as I said above, the word count is too low to be branded as a novel, but that’s ok. The book will be priced accordingly and so should be fine. I doubt if I’ll make a paperback version available though, as the cost of producing the shorter book will mean either the reader/buyer doesn’t get enough for his/her money, or I have to take a loss for each sale (never gonna happen).

I do have ideas for the next in the series of this novella and am not against putting the two novellas together (look at me, talking about the sequel as if it’s a done deal) and selling a decent sized book with two novella-sized stories within in.

That’s about for now – Please, don’t forget to give thoughts/advice/praise regarding my first attempt for the artwork. There is an obvious comment that could be made but I won’t give any clues, I’ll wait to see if anyone spots the ‘deliberate mistake’ or not.

Cheers, Jams N. Roses.

EDIT – Good news! Russell Jones, my graphic designer friend, has agreed to help with the front cover! And in case you’re wondering, although he did say he liked my attempt above, he also noticed the ‘deliberate mistake’ I made. He said it had a ‘Have I got news for you?’ feel about it, which is a satirical quiz show in the UK (for those of you who don’t know it), which is exactly the sort of thing I was going for – I’m not that bad at this designing lark, after all.