Monday, January 11, 2016
Today I submitted a proposal to adapt one of my unpublished novels into a television series. It wasn't done with the intention of getting anywhere with it, but rather for the experience of writing a proposal, and eventually learning to craft a pitch. There are some similarities between pitching a novel to a literary agent and pitching a TV series, but there are many more differences, and I wanted to get a little experience in both, if I could. I try to take the opportunities to learn as they come, at least when it's something that interests me, and generally, I like to learn.
See, I am a pretty terrible writer. Average at best, and that's being generous. I feel like things have gotten worse in recent years, but it's possible I am just more aware of my inadequacies, which is fine, too, because it means I'm still learning. I learned a LOT during my few forrays into the world of ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award), but since it's been shut down, my growth as a writer has been stagnating somewhat. In addition to not having that outlet (and the instant access to all the new author friends I made over those few years), I've started wondering if I should be trying a different storytelling medium all together. I've been thinking that, if I can't find the words I need to express myself, maybe I should be attempting to tell my stories in a more visual manner.
So I tried writing my first screenplay for what would be a short film, if I ever decided to actually shoot it.
It wasn't the greatest thing ever, but I don't think it was terrible either, so that's something!
The best part is, if I ever shot it, I would let the actors have some leeway with the dialogue and such (and the director – I don't think I'd be a very good director, as I've said, I lack leadership skills), and they could potentially bring more of my idea alive than I am able to with words alone. And that's pretty exciting to me.
I always have tons of idea rattling around in my mind, hence part of the reason I decided to start this blog. To express myself better than I have been. I've said for a long time that my autobiography would be titled, “Great Idea, Poor Execution”, because I have a good thinking brain, but lack the skills required to express my thoughts adequately. Or even, in many cases, in a way which other people can understand. It's frustrating for me, and no doubt unknowingly frustrating for you, because I could have solved so many of the world's problems by now – and be rich and invite you to parties and such to hang out with me and all the animals I'd live with – if I could have just expressed myself better all this time! Haha
I should probably re-phrase the whole statement about me being a terrible writer – I think it's more that I'm just...juvenile? Simple? I can't even think of the word I'm looking for to describe myself. Geez! However, I've toyed with the idea of writing books for adults who read at a lower level, or for whom English is not their first language, etc. Because the story idea can be okay for adults or young adults – albeit uncomplicated - but the language is more for elementary school readers. I remember tutoring Grade 8 students in reading when I was in University – they were mostly all reading at a Grade 3 level or below, and the stuff we had to work with to teach them was pretty boring. I mean, I enjoy the occasional caterpillar story, but to those in their early their teen years, it didn't exactly hold their interest, let alone spark imagination and a love of reading. So maybe my stories would do better with an audience who is interested in something they can relate to, but that is written in an easier to digest language. How cool would it be to help turn a reluctant reader into someone who actually chooses to pick up a book, rather than having to read one for a class?
I also kind of want to try out the graphic novel format someday, but I have zero skills with the visual arts, so that would be more of a collaboration. Again, though, it is a more visual medium, and if I could find someone to help me express what I see inside my head, I think it could be pretty awesome.
Photography is also a visual medium, and I have an idea about a book that tells a story and uses photos I take, but I really don't feel like that's something I'd be very successful at, either. I see lots of things, and can envision how I want a photo to look, but it rarely turns out that way in actuality. I've never taken a class or had a very good camera, and really, I take most of my photos on my phone now, because it's always on me. I used to wish I had a good camera that I could somehow just carry around with me everywhere and be ready to snap something at a moment's notice. I'd imagine what an amazing photographer I'd be if I could blink and take a picture of what I saw, as I saw it. Bionic camera eyes, anyone? Maybe someday.
If there's one thing I have learned, though, it's that nothing comes easy. If it's worth doing, it takes work to do it well. Unless you're one of those annoying child prodigy types. Is 43 too old to be a child prodigy? Why do I keep wanting to type progidy??
And that's another reason for this blog. To practice. It won't necessarily make my writing better, nor will I definitely be able to express myself better as I go along, but it absolutely will not hurt. I need to keep trying, keep writing, keep experimenting, and keep learning. Maybe none of my ideas will come to fruition, or if they do, maybe none of them will turn out as amazing as I'd envisioned. But for sure nothing will happen if I do nothing, and writing it down is probably a good first step.
Especially given that my memory is so bad lately.
Posted by Sue A. Maynard - Author, Carving The Light at 4:32 PM