A few years ago I told my agents I wanted to write a novel. They nixed the idea. 'You're a script writer, stick to what you know' I listened to them.
A good mate of mine, a dyed in the wool script writer, has just signed with the biggest and best book agent in the country - with his first novel. He finaly got fed up with the worst aspects of the TV world. The numpty execs, the incoherent notes, the plethora of D girls with attitude, the numbing blandness that seems to be the order of the day and the pointless meetings.
He took a break and sat down and wrote a novel. Here's a snippet of the conversaton between Big Time Book Agent and Mate.
This is fantastic writing. The pacing is tremendous. How many novels have you written?
Counting this one? One.
Nope. Never had time. I've been writing TV for the last 8 years.
Ah! That explains it.
And it does. See I think that if you are a good writer, that means you are a natural storyteller. Books, Tv, Films, all the same. Storytelling. I've been on websites where novelists and screenwriters, largely unpublished or unproduced, talk about how different the script is from the novel and how they are completely disparate skills. Bollocks. They are different platforms. A platform is easy to master. That's not a skill. Good writing is a skill and a transferrable one. Pick up just about any thriller and you will see that structurally it's just like a very long treatment for a movie.
If anything I'd say that being a scriptwriter is a major qualification to write thrillers. David Balducci only wrote Absolute Power as a novel because no one wanted to buy the script, saying there was no appetite for political thrillers. Several months at the top of the NY Times best seller list disabused them of that notion.
The novel isn't for everyone, but here's a couple of points. The shit pile in the novel world is many times greater than that in the script world [which is plenty big enough] So if you have any talent at all you will stand out. And secondly, an author is treated with a lot more respect in the TV world than 'just' a scriptwriter!
I'm dusting off a few old movie scripts and digging out a thesaurus.
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4 years ago