I may not be able to post as frequently as i would like to, but I will post when I can. In addition to work and family commitments, I’ve decided to do a couple of things. I’m going to go back into “study mode” for the next couple of months to learn more about writing, more specifically screenwriting and storytelling. I’m going to start by re-reading Stephen King’s brilliant memoir On Writing. I read it way back in college and I feel like I can benefit from reading it again since like so many books of yesteryear I barely remember any of it. There are aspects of my writing that I feel can improve by reading more and learning more about the craft so that’s pretty much what I’d like to do. I intend to keep writing during this process, but I don’t really know if I’ll write anything worth posting. I’ll just have to wait and see.
My ultimate goal for this year, however, is to adapt my own story which propelled me to start writing again. About 2 years ago I started reading the Ian Fleming Bond books and thought (like so many others before me) “what would an American Bond be like?” Of course, this isn’t a wholly original idea. Characters like Indiana Jones, Ethan Hunt, and Jason Bourne owe a great deal to Fleming. The creators of many of these characters have all but admited to borrowing a great deal from Bond while “Americanizing” their respective characters. My idea, however, is to not only to introduce a contemporary “noir” element to this new character but also to make it so that the character is already retired. The Bond franchise itself has flirted with the idea of the Bond character getting older, most notably with the unofficial Connery film Never Say Never Again. In Skyfall, you get the sense that Daniel Craig’s Bond has past his prime and it takes a good deal of the film’s running time for the character to regain both his confidence as well as his physical prowess. Towards the end of the Fleming novels, we get a sense that Bond is certainly past his prime as an agent but he’s still very capable and far from retirement even if his body had been repeatedly driven past the breaking point.
My idea stems from the prospect of a Bond-like character already in retirement but still unwilling to resign himself to civillian life and therefore he’d find himself on cases even when he’s not supposed be. I want the tone of it to be a present day noir, and I want it have some of the elements I enjoy from both Fleming and noir writers like Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane. Of course, when I wrote the story 2 years ago, it was more about just getting the story down and I really didn’t think to refine the story all that much other than to work out the basic plot. Even with my own very limited abilities and low writing standards, it took me a few weeks to complete Detective Frank’s Daytime Dilemma . It turned out to be the first of 3 stories I wrote for the character. I subsequently wrote Detective Frank Takes a Swing and Detective Frank Strikes Back. Then, I started writing new stories with new characters and I kind of put the character on a shelf for a long while. I hope to write more stories for the character, but I feel like I have enough material to start with to begin writing a prospective screenplay for either a series pilot or a movie. The prospect of writing a screenplay is a bit daunting to me since I’ve never attempted to write one before and until the emergence of free formatting software designed specifically for this purpose, I didn’t think it would be possible. While I’m not under any delusion that any thing grand will come out of it, I think I would regret it if I didn’t at least try.
Even though the headache of properly formatting a screenplay has been somewhat subdued, there’s still a lot that I need to learn in order to put forth my best effort. Not only do I still need to learn about screenwriting, I also have to learn more about writing and storytelling in general. Also, while I have 3 original stories for the character written and completed as short stories on this blog, the stories themselves are far from perfect. I have to take time to once again dive deep into these stories and figure out what I got right about them and what I got wrong before I can even begin to take the plunge of starting to adapt them into screenplays. I need to get a better grip of what the strengths and weaknesses of these stories are as well as the strengths and weaknesses in my writing overall.
There’s a lot to think about and a lot to do if I want to follow through on this and of course there’s also real life, work, and family to consider as my priorities. So, if this blog goes a bit quiet, this is the reason. As always, I’m very grateful for any feedback, and I’d appreciate any advice anyone has regarding all this whether it’s criticism of my stories, my writing, or just ideas that might point me in the right direction (books, websites, screenplays to read, etc.)
Many thanks for coming over to the blog and checking out my writing.