Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Importance of Daydreaming

When I finished writing What Lies Beneath (Book One of Caliban's End) last year, I uploaded a copy to Scribd. If you're not familiar with Scribd, the easiest way to describe it is YouTube for books. Tonight I uploaded Akin to Pity (Book Three of Caliban's End) and whilst I was on the site, I had a look at the stats for What Lies Beneath - I was shocked (in a good way) to find out that it had been read over 800 times!

Now I'm not so naive to think that it has been read from start to finish that many times but it is delightful to think that there are people out there - people I'll never meet or even hear from - who have taken enough of an interest in the story to have bothered to open it up on this site.

The electronic nature of texts these days is a godsend for amateur writers. It is encouraging to think of the alternatives to old school publishing that exist today. In fact, it is quite overwhelming to consider how many more texts are available to readers. I bought a Kobo eReader the other day and it came with 100 free books on it (all public domain). Today I downloaded a free copy of Cory Doctorow's For the Win and dropped it onto my Kobo. I now have more books available to me than I have time to read!

It's probably worth noting that I am at that nice stage of having a number of people letting me know they have finished reading the Caliban's End trilogy. I have received a lot of affirming comments which I won't document here as that would seem too indulgent. However, one comment I have been getting a lot is the observation that the books have an undeniable cinematic quality to them. My mum even suggested I should get in contact with James Cameron (writer/director of Avatar). Now I know mums are meant to say things like that, but I have taken on board some of what she said and started writing a screenplay.

So do I think I have a snowflake's chance in hell in seeing this series of books at the local cinema? No, not at all. So why go to the trouble of writing a screenplay?

Quite simply, why not?

I've never written a screenplay before, and I am realising, there's a real art to it, one I am far from mastering. It's a fun challenge to rewrite my books in this format. I have to get rid of half my characters (and I don't mean by killing them) and I have to condense the plot considerably. I even have to restructure the narrative so that it fits the movement of a film.

I'm taking my time so don't expect a screenplay to be finished any time soon. But it is something that is worth doing. I get to revisit my story and reshape it in a new form, refining it and improving it, and whilst all this is going on, I get to imagine what it would look like if my mum's wish came true and James Cameron helped me put it on the silver screen.

Daydreams are awesome.