Night in the Museum aka Boredom in the Movie Theatre

Because I have an 11-year-old in the house, and I’m a big fan of Dick Van Dyke, I went to see NIGHT IN THE MUSEUM…which proves the point that even the best special effects wizardry is no substitute for compelling stories and interesting characters. This is a tedious mess that apparently bored Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, and Ricky Gervais as much while they were making as it did all of us who had to watch it (The only actor who has the slightest bit of energy is Dick Van Dyke). Not even a fast-forward button could make this movie pass by quickly enough.

The Spot for Crime

Crime novel bloggers across the net are joining together today to give a big thank you to Graham Powell for creating the Crimespot blogreader…which collects the latest postings from a wide assortment of mystery blogs. It’s my first blog stop of the day…and it should be yours, too.

Lee Said Read

My Uncle Burl Barer has just landed a contract with Kensington for two more of his true crime books, the first of which has the great title MOM SAID KILL:

[It] will detail the shocking story of
Barbara and Heather Opel, mother and daughter, who murdered Barbara’s
generous employer in front of his elderly mother, made off with his
furniture and $40K from his bank account. Heather was about fourteen
years old at the time, and Mom promised her a new dirt bike for helping
in the murder. The kid never got the dirt bike.

Kiss Up Television

According to a column today in the New York Times, all the CBS dramas share an unusual similarity:

They showcase an omniscient, workaholic and male boss on the dark
side of 50 who is surrounded by young, eager-to-please acolytes.

The template is so unvarying that Bill Carter of The New York Times and
other television writers subscribe to a man-in-the-Moonves theory of
programming: Leslie Moonves,
the 57-year-old chief executive of CBS, has an Ozymandian hold on his
network that ensures that its top shows pay subliminal homage to his

(Thanks to Paul Levine for the heads-up)

Will Agents Consider Tie-Ins?

This question was buried as a comment on an old post:

How receptive are literary agents to getting media tie-in novel
queries? Is there a reason they aren’t listed in the genres that the
agent will accept, or are tie-ins considered just part of the ‘fiction’

To answer this question, you have to understand what a tie-in is:  it’s a piece of fiction using characters licensed from a rights-holder like a movie studio, a literary estate, a gaming company, etc.

Usually the way a tie-in novel comes about is that the rights-holder will approach publishers with a property or publishers will approach the rights-holder. Several publishers, for instance, sought the rights to do "Monk" novels and Penguin/Putnam eventually won out.  Only after the rights are licensed to a publisher do editors seek out authors to write the books. That’s when an agent might enter the mix.

So it wouldn’t make any sense for you to query a literary agent with an idea for a tie-in novel…or the manuscript itself… unless you are the person who holds the rights to those characters.  Otherwise, what you’re asking an agent to do is sell your fanfic…and no agent will do that. That’s   why tie-ins are not among the genres  that agents are willing to consider for submissions.

If what you’d like to do is write for an existing line of tie-in novels (like, say, the STAR TREK series),  querying an agent isn’t the way to go. Agents simply aren’t looking for new clients to take to the editors of tie-ins…for one thing, there isn’t enough commission money in it to make it worthwhile. If an agent is going to suggest someone for tie-in assignment, it will be one of their current clients.

So, in general, you need to already be on a editor’s radar to get an assignment for a tie-in… it’s the editors you need to reach, not agents.


I haven’t conquered my jet-lag yet, but I’m not letting it bother me. Now that I am back in L.A.,  and it’s a "holiday" week of sorts, I don’t have to go into any office besides the one in my home so it doesn’t really make any difference what time I get up or go to bed. With that new attitude, and nothing to do but write, things are going much better with my script.

It’s amazing to me that, no matter how much experience I have at this, I still have the same insecurities and have to keep re-learning the same lessons… one of which is that writing goes better when you can generate some momentum.

I have been doing nothing but writing the last few days, rather than in  fits-and-starts like last week, so it’s no surprise than I am much happier and doing better work. The importance of momentum isn’t a new discovery for me…but it seems like I have to keep reminding myself  every time I start a writing project.

AMC Taken Prisoner

Variety reports that AMC will air six episodes of the UK’s new TV version of the 60s cult classic THE PRISONER…which is not to be confused with the movie verison being done at Universal by director Christopher Nolan  from a script by Janet & David Peoples. Universal has the film rights to the Patrick McGoohan series while Granada has the TV rights.  The series, which will be written by Bill Gallagher, will begin production in the Spring and will debut here and in the UK in January 2008.

execs were tightlipped regarding details of the updated version but
said it will similarly involve themes of paranoia and deal with
sociopolitical issues. What the new show won’t be is an exact replica of the original.

show isn’t just a re-creation," said Rob Sorcher, AMC exec veep of
programming and production. "What we’re doing is an entirely new
reinterpretation that stays true to the components of the McGoohan
(show)’s vision."

The new series will revolve around a man who awakes in the Village with no
memory of how he arrived. Episodes will follow how he tries to make
sense of his new environment, in which inhabitants are under constant
surveillance, identified by number and sans any recollection of how
they got to the island.

Am I Awake?

On my last two days in Germany, I managed to overcome my jetlag and sleep like a normal person.  Alas, now I’m back in L.A. and my internal clock is completely screwed up. I fought to stay awake until 10 pm last night (though I had could easily have gone to bed at 8) and awoke at 3:30 this morning. I spent in hour in bed trying to get back to sleep before I gave up and decided to catch up on 10 days of mail. Now I’m feeling as if I’m on sinus medication…kind of zoned out. This is going to be a long day.