Complications Ensue:
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Sunday, January 30, 2005

I sent off my revised book proposal to my book agent. I think she'll like this version. I reworked the outline so it makes more sense.

If she likes it, off it goes to Holt, who published Crafty Screenwriting. The book has done well for Holt, over 10,000 copies sold, so there's good reason to suppose they'll want the sequel. On the other hand the market for "mid-list" books -- anything with no chance as a bestseller though it may sell well -- seems to have taken a dive since Crafty Screenwriting came out.

I was sort of torn about writing Crafty TV Writing. While I probably know enough to fill a book with things my readers don't know -- which ought to be enough to justify a book -- I can't call myself an authority on crafty TV writing. I feel less qualified to write the TV book after 4 years in TV than I was to write the feature screenwriting book after 10 years in features -- though, I suppose, the TV writing builds on the feature screenwriting after all. I take solace from the fact that truly crafty TV writers are way too busy running shows to write books about it -- or they're not willing to sit down and think about what tools they use when they think about shows. Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin's Successful Television Writing contains some useful nuggets of info, but I'm sure they know way more about writing shows than they've put in the book.

I have to confess to ulterior motives for writing Crafty TV Writing. The remedy for my lack of experience is to interview people in the know -- and that's something I'd like to do anyway. But you can't just call up David E. Kelley and ask him a bunch of questions, even if you have co-created your own show. However my theory is that if I have the right credits and I'm writing a book, I might get him on the phone. We'll see. Lisa's found that when she calls up people in the art world and tells them she's writing for Random House, they're always willing to chat.

The thing I'm still stumped on, though, is what questions to ask. I am sure people want to know what specs to write and how to write a great spec and how to get it to an agent. But for the book to have lasting value, I really want it to contain as much of the writer's toolkit as possible. That means figuring out the right questions to ask these showrunners. And that, dear reader, is where you could help. If you have questions, ask them, and I will ask other people, and report back. Is that a deal or what?


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