by Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Sam BarryMarch 2012
Practical advice on writing and publishing for aspiring authors
IT TAKES TWO
Dear Author Enablers,
I have written a screenplay. I am looking for a writer who could write a novel based on the screenplay.
The story is very good (obviously). The screenplay format worked for me (and with the help of my former ESL teacher even my English doesn’t look bad), but writing a novel would be too big a task. Can you give me an idea how to find a partner?
Let’s assume you are planning on paying for a writer’s services. If so, you need to come up with a ballpark figure and advertise in publications that help freelance writers and editors find work, such as Writer’s Digest or Poets and Writers. You can also place an ad on Craigslist, but this tactic seems far less focused, and might result in you being solicited for hot dates, which you may or may not appreciate.
If you are hoping to do this as a partnership, meaning you’re not going to pay but you’ll share whatever income results from this work, you should start networking. Ask your local librarian or bookseller about writing groups, writers’ conferences and other gatherings where you might meet the right person. You can also take out ads as described above, if your budget allows.
SETTING THE STAGE
Dear Author Enablers,
I recently finished reading your book, Write That Book Already. Thank you for your practical honesty. My question regards another issue. You have such great advice for those who want to publish a book of some kind. Do you have any suggestions for someone who writes for the stage? I’ve written, produced and directed four three-act comedies and I think one or two of them might be worth submitting somewhere. I’ve looked at the websites of a few publishers and they will take unsolicited manuscripts if they’ve been produced. Should I submit my best stuff, should I contact an agent who specializes in scripts or something else?
Bonney Lake, Washington
Because there’s not a huge market for people buying plays just to read them, traditional publishers shy away. Leaving aside classics such as Shakespeare or Ibsen, the primary reason people buy plays is to produce them. For a traditional publisher to invest in publishing your plays, at least one of them will have to have been widely produced.
Given this fact, it seems most logical for you to keep your focus on producing the plays in as many places as possible. Our friend, playwright Amy Freed (The Bard of Avon and Freedomland), has done very well following this path.
Another option is to self-publish your play, which will provide you with copies for selling online, spreading the word and offering for sale to theater groups who want to stage your play.
CRAFT OF WRITING SPOTLIGHT
Les Standiford, a novelist and nonfiction writer (Last Train to Paradise), is also director of the creative writing program at Florida International University in Miami. He gave us so many great tips that this will be part one of two. Here, he answers the question “How did you develop your writer’s voice?”
“For a long time, when I sat down to write, I really tried hard to WRITE. It took years for me to relax and to try to simply translate to the page the way I tell people’s stories in actual life. When I write a character, I try to become that character, whether evil or good, male or female, etc.”
Email your questions about writing to email@example.com. Please include your name and hometown.