Thursday, March 22, 2012

Genome reborn

Thankfully I had no idea how difficult it would be to take the screenplay and rewrite it as a novel! If I had known what was coming, I might have reconsidered raising pigs for a living.

At the time, I had written several other screenplays and was 'in the groove', albeit an amateur groove. And I like writing screenplays. I thought it would be a slam dunk. I already had the story line and the dialogue. How hard could it be?

You see, writing a screenplay is like painting a hundred different scenes in your head and putting the characters inside to talk to each other. You purposely make the scenes 'broad and open' because your screenplay is more like a sketch than something set in concrete. The director and sometimes the actors actually bring their vision of your project when it's being made into a movie. You're taking a story that's floating in your head and giving the director enough of a peek so that he can get excited and carry it forward. You hope. ;-)

Movies have sound tracks, CGI, camera angles and hundreds of other visual and audio tricks to grab and hold your interest throughout the movie. Dialogue needs to match the movie but again the director and actors will put their own spin on it during shooting. The plot is key.

Writing a novel is quite different. You take the reader by the hand, painstakingly painting images, moods, scenery and most importantly showing who and what your characters are. You have show your reader why the hero is the hero; or is he? You have to set up tensions that rises and falls throughout the book. You give your characters challenges to overcome and dangle rewards for them to claim.

I took some of the advice I had read and set 'Genome' in a town where I grew up; Boulder, Colorado. I used the CU campus and surrounding industrial parks as a setting as well. It really helped give the book a 'real' feeling for me and I hope for the reader. I was part of a start up company in the late 90's located in the Pearl Street Mall area, so I used that knowledge to add to the 'Boulder' feel. And trust me, at that time Boulder had a unique cultural feel.

For the company I created in the book, 'Magnus Somnium', I drew heavily on the feel of a that company; it's people and the feel of the amazing culture we created there. I did in fact wear Hawaiian shirts, cargo shorts and Tevos to work. More importantly, the company culture was very progressive and an absolute blast both personally and professionally.

My point is that I could draw on my experiences and feelings during that time and place to make 'Genome' a little more 'real' for the reader.

We'll get into how I outlined the book next.

Don't wait for me, get started on your book! Writing is good for the soul.