Mad Max

Ed Gorman posted an appreciation of novelist Max Allan Collins, co-founder of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, on his blog today:

I wouldn’t be blogging today if it weren’t for Max Allan Collins.
Twenty five years ago, I made a cold call to him to tell him how much I
enjoyed his novels…

… Naturally,
we talked about writing and why I, who’d sold a lot of short stories to
magazines of varying repute, hadn’t ever written a novel. I told him l
I’d started about a hundred of the damned things but that I always got
stuck at some point and started backtracking and then just gave up. He
gave me the single most useful piece of writing advice I’ve ever ever
received. Don’t look back. Finish the first draft straight through and
then go back and do whatever needs to be done in the revisions.

Ed also talks about advice he’s gleaned from other writers… all of it worth taking to heart.

A Slan Dunk

Novelist and IAMTW member Kevin J. Anderson has been asked by Lydia Van Vogt, widow of author A.E. Van Vogt, to  complete the manuscript
for SLAN HUNTER, the sequel to SLAN.  A. E. Van Vogt
began the book in 1984, but was unable to complete it due to Alzheimers disease. Anderson received 100 pages of draft manuscript and outline.  Tor will publish the completed
book, with David Hartwell as editor.

Sticking to the Character

I got this email query today:

I have a question about novels based on tv shows.   When you write a
novel based on the tv shows how do you keep the characters lives from developing
beyond what has happened on the tv show?  Or do their lives develop differently
from their lives on tv?   Does that make sense? 

The short answer is that I worked hand-in-hand with the producers of  MONK to make sure my books are running on a parallel course, development-wise. And if I do create some new backstory (as I have done to some degree), that it’s acceptable to the creator of the show and consistent with what that have done or intend to do.

For more detailed informati0n on how tie-ins are written, check out the many articles at the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers website.

King Kong Tie-Ins

Galleycat reports that Pocket Books is going ape for King Kong Tie-ins.

Anybody can put out a novelization for their blockbuster film, but Peter
Jackson had bigger plans for King Kong: He came up with a
backstory that’s been turned into an official prequel, King Kong: The
Island of the Skull
[by Matthew Costello]. As Rod
Lott writes in Bookgasm
, "Kong himself does not appear, not even in a
cameo. His name is whispered, his face is crudely drawn, but the ape never rears
his giant, ugly head." Still, Lott found it entertaining enough, and a cut above
the usual tie-in.

There will also be a novelization, by Christopher Golden, as well as two behind-the-scenes picture books (The Making of King Kong
and The World of King Kong), and sci-fi writer Karen Haber will be edit
Kong Unbound, "in which various writers will discuss "the history and
legacy of the most famous ape in Hollywood and his continuing impact on pop
culture and modern filmmakers."

Mysteries of Tie-in Writing Revealed

Want to know how to become a tie-in writer? Do you need an agent to break into the tie-in field? What kind of deadlines do tie-in writers have to meet? How do the writers approach characters descriptions and backstory? What kind of royalties do tie-in writers get? What is better — fighting for royalties or accepting a flat-fee? These are just a few of the intriguing business and craft questions tackled and answered in the  articles  posted today at the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW) website.

IAMTW Spoofed

When James Lincoln Warren and Paul Guyot learned about the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (IAMTW), they cooked up this wicked spoof, a website for The Professional Hack Authors Recognition Society (PHARTS).

The Professional Hack Authors RecogniTion Society, or

, is an organization for professional hack authors,
i.e., mercenary wordsmiths who don’t care a fig for style, content,
originality, or grammar, but are willing to write anything for money. 
We are of all ages, races, ethnic backgrounds, religious persuasions,
and sexual preferences, comprising even Old PHARTS, New
, Red PHARTS, Blue
PHARTS.  Are you
PHARTS material?

In a back-handed kind of way, this amusing  satire underscores why Max Allan Collins and I decided there was a need for a professional organization for media tie-in writers.  We’re not stupid, we  know that tie-ins and novelizations are widely considered as hack work…even though media tie-ins regularly hit the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller lists and handily out-sell original novels by many big-name authors. But media tie-ins rarely get reviewed and never get any respect. Hence, IAMTW.