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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Rude, crude and childish – Extremely England

So, I’m nearing the end of draft zero of the manuscript for Extremely England, and I must say, my sense of humour is questionable!

I originally wrote the screenplay version of this story whilst spending too much time watching older Woody Allen films and reading the Daily Mail – The idea being a satirical look at life in modern England, which is all well and good.

However, although some of the situations, one-liners and jokes are very funny to me, I wonder how well they will be taken by others.

But will I change my humour? No, how can I?

I guess I’ll just have to hope that upon completion, I can find the right readers for my latest project, like people who don’t mind laughing at themselves, or those that don’t take offence on the behalf of others (a real pet hate of mine).

In summary, how it stands at the moment, Extremely England (working title?) is rude, crude and extremely childish. When I look at the UK tabloids, it really is a case of ‘if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry’ – so I’m going to stick to laughing, even if it isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Changing genre…

So, with two books published and selling on Amazon, and the occasional guest post to help promote them, I was left with a choice about what my next project should be.

Statistically speaking, a good option would be to write a sequel to one of my previous novels, as this seems to go down with readers. Both books have had positive reviews so far, so this would be the next logical step.

However, I am an artist (apparently I am, being a writer, however outside of this blog I’d be too shy to announce it to the world), and although logical in some respects of life, when it comes to my art, my passion, I am as sensible and organised as Van Gogh on acid.

This doesn’t mean I will not revisit the characters from Get Clean or Son of a Serial Killer, those that survived that is (spoiler? maybe, you’ll have to read them and find out), but for now I have decided to concentrate on an old screenplay that I wrote, and to novelize that.

So we’ve established that from a marketing and business point of view, this may not be the wisest step, but it gets worse…

Extremely England (working title) is not the crime/thriller/mystery that either of the previous book were, and if I said that I was 100% sure that the audience who have appreciated those books would definitely be into the new project, I’d either be stretching the truth or straight-up lying!

Somebody who loves to read about the dark side of crime, death, depressive situations and hate is not necessarily going to love Extremely England, a light-hearted view of the problems faced (in reality or just through the eyes of the media) in my beloved country of birth.

Draft Zero of the screenplay was heavily influenced by the early Woody Allen hysterical comedies; Take the Money and Run, Bananas, etc., and I also realise these are not to everyone’s taste.

Changing the format from visually comical script into a laugh-out-loud novel won’t prove to be easy, but I’m willing to give it a go. Of course, the fact that I have a printed manuscript to work from means the new novel should make progress a little easier than working from random notes, half-memories and random nuggets of inspiration – I really do hope this is the case!

So there it is, for the time being, I’m changing genre.

Wish me luck.