Monday, December 05, 2011

People Ask the Darndest Things...

Soon after I sold my first novel I'd get requests from folk I know--and sometimes from strangers--asking me to help them write a book. No shit. As if I don't have enough to keep me busy as it is. Mainly they were in the category I'd always heard about but never thought I'd meet:

I'll come up with the ideas and you do the writing.


Now, I'm not listing these people within the very small group of other writers with whom I've collaborated. That's another issue entirely and worth a long essay in and of itself. But that's not what I'm talking about now.

After I'd sold my next novel and then a third these people kept popping up. I know why they pop up, but I can't explain why they would suppose I would find that their ideas could be as intriguing to me as the ones that occur to me without their input. I reckon it's their egos at work. Or maybe they're just dense. I can't say, exactly.

When the news broke that I'd optioned THE FLOCK to Don Murphy and John
Wells through Warner Brothers, things got even worse. People I hadn't spoken to in years phoned me up to tell me that they, too, had a great idea that would make a fantastic movie. And sometimes before I could object or turn the conversation they would commence to telling me their great idea in all of its glory (not!). Adults would act like adolescents, spilling out ridiculous tripe as if it were spun literary gold. I would sit and listen or, if I was on the phone, I'd get back to what I was doing, checking from time to time to see if they were still babbling. Sometimes this would go on for a LONG time before I could cut myself loose.

If I was lucky they wouldn't want to tell me too much about their great idea, but instead would ask me to put them in touch with my agent. Or to give them the phone number and email address of the producers who'd optioned my novel.

I'm telling you that I'm not making this stuff up. It happened and it continues to happen.

These guys--most of them are men, but a few are women--would tell me about how they were tired of making their living doing whatever it is they do, and that they want to get into the big money by selling their ideas to Hollywood.

Oh, well. I guess I shouldn't complain. This does mean that I have reached a modest level of near-success that makes me the target of the pained desperation of some poor souls. That's why I'm just generally quiet when they do this embarrassing thing. I try not to let on what fools they're making of themselves and how much of my time they're wasting. It's all rather sad. I try to explain to them that there's nothing I can do to help and that I'm not going to put them in touch with agencies or producers or screenwrights, and that I can't help them write anything myself because I'm far too busy with work that's all mine.

It happens.

How about this? I'll come up with the ideers, and you do the writin'!


The DPS Kid said...

Fuck 'em.

It's like the guy that wins the lottery, suddenly all these friends you didn't know about start calling the house.

Kiss my ass.

Rip their balls off so they cannot contaminate the rest of the world.

HemlockMan said...

I wouldn't go quite that far.

Mostly it's annoying, sometimes painfully amusing. I rarely get steamed about it, but there were a couple of times it pissed me off.