So, what is more challenging, directing a feature film, a television program or writing a novel? I’ve done all three and I have asked myself that question on many occasions since I began writing novels.
With films or television you have a vast group of talented people standing mere inches behind you ready to make your every whim come true—producers, writers, actors, grip, gaffers, sound technicians, etc., all at your beckon call as if you, the director, where truly a god.
On the other hand, when I write a novel I am alone in my 10’ by 12’ office staring at a blank computer monitor hoping that some flash of genius will strike and I will be able to put down words that might actually strike readers as semi-intelligent. It is times like that I regularly miss my film back-up team.
When I began writing my novel “In the Realm of Eden” I thought it would be a piece of cake because it was based on a screenplay I had written some years back that Hollywood failed to pour millions of dollars into (their loss). Well, nothing could have been further from the truth. There is absolutely no correlation between a screenplay and a novel. Forget about it! Of course I had to do ten thousands drafts before my novel no longer resembled my screenplay. Lessons learned.
So, now I’m working on a sequel to “In the realm of Eden” titled “Eden Destroyed.” Again, I thought it would be a piece of cake since it is based on the same characters and all I was attempting to do was take the original story forward to its logical conclusion. NOT!
The first obstacle I encountered was how to work in the back story from the first novel so the readers of the second novel, who might not have read the first novel (shame on those people), would know what the heck was going on. Naturally, I wanted to put everything from the first novel into the second because hey, there was some pretty nifty stuff in that first novel if I say so myself. So I proceeded to begin the second novel with the beginning of the first. Didn’t work! Far too much information and I was already at 100 pages. That version quickly found its way into the “deleted” file never again to be seen by human eyes.
Finally, it came to me in a flash of enlightenment (which are far and few between). How about we begin the second novel where the first left off. What a novel idea. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? Because I am often brain dead, that’s why. If writing a novel was easy everyone would be doing it, and sometimes I think they are by the sheer number of bad novels that find their way into the hands of publishing houses and into bookstores or at the very least, amazon.com. Ever heard of self-publishing?
Anyway, I’m a 120 pages into the new novel, my head exploding with clever ideas, most of which I will forget if I don’t keep notes, which I’m very bad at. If I have an idea in the evening and fail to write it down its history by the sun peeks up over the east coast the next morning.
Sometimes I think I should have stuck to writing and directing films and television programs. And then I write something brilliant and I’m reminded why I gave all that up in favor of writing novels.